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adventures of a half-chinese yalie in hollywood

There She is … Miss Havisham! Why It’s OK to Buy Your Wedding Dress Early

There She is … Miss Havisham! Why It’s OK to Buy Your Wedding Dress Early

In my previous post, I discussed my belief that one needn’t wait till engagement to go wedding dress shopping. I’d like to take this opportunity — however undercut by current betrothal status — to speak out against Big Taffeta and others who would like you to be swept up in the unnecessary restriction, superstition and costs of delayed dress shopping.

It seems a bridge too far to throw the hasty dressing room iPhone photos of the dress I chose up here, so I'll include some of my favorite celebrity wedding dresses. First up: the Givenchy dress Lara Stone wore to her reception. Daring!
It seems a bridge too far to throw the hasty dressing room iPhone photos of the dress I chose up here, so I’ll include some of my favorite celebrity wedding dresses. First up: the Givenchy dress Lara Stone wore to her reception. Daring!
Also: the hilariously diaphanous dress of Kate Moss.
Also: the hilariously diaphanous dress of Kate Moss. (Do we detect a theme in these two bride/bridal wear selections?)

Let’s dismantle some of the key arguments in the anti-early dress shopping campaign.

1. They say:

“If you buy a wedding dress before becoming engaged, you’ll jinx yourself out of ever getting to wear it.”

I say: We must stop treating weddings and engagements like Precious Prizes that women (or men) can only hope to earn after enduring a damn Odyssey-like series of proving their worth while studiously avoiding tipping their hand.

If you see a wedding in your future, then why is it a bad thing to make reasonable preparations for your it? I won’t countenance nuptial exceptionalism. People don’t frown when an overweight person resolves to get into shape and then signs up for a marathon several months hence. Friends applaud when a woman who’s stagnating in her career announces that this will be the year she’ll obtain her dream job. And despite the fact that college admission gets exponentially more difficult with each passing generation, I’ve never seen a parent react with anything but giggles and joy to the bestowing of a infant onesie emblazoned with an elite school’s logo and the words “Future Class of 2036!”

Is the "??" because we think this future Bulldog will skip grades or fail them?
Is the “??” because we think this future Bulldog will skip grades or fail them?
"Yalie's" add erroneous apostrophes too! Tragic.
“Yalie’s” add erroneous apostrophes too! Tragic brand dilution.

Human beings admire self-actualization. Making the binary shift from “not married” to “married” can be a goal like any other. We absolutely need to stop shaming people — again, mostly women — for possessing the wherewithal to know what they desire and envisioning the fulfillment of their positive objectives. Which leads me into my next point.

2. They say:

“Dress shopping is an important rite of passage that necessarily involves extensive fitting, fussing and financial outlay. The volume of celebratory champagne drunk will be surpassed only by the number of happy tears shed.”

I say: Well, that sounds nice. I’m glad some people have a lovely time. Perhaps these people view the high cost of purchasing a dress this way as the admission fee to a soaring and unforgettable emotional experience. Personally, I fear the white wedding dress is a white elephant. Realistically, what are you going to do with this high-cost garment outside of the 8-12 hours you get to wear it on its designated day?

This is my lovely friend Shawna, at her touching wedding in 2008. Shawna -- a true kindred spirit -- not only let her now-husband see her dress before their wedding, she had him pick it out! "I mean, I wanted him to think I looked good," she told me pragmatically.
This is my lovely friend Shawna, at her touching wedding in 2008. Shawna not only let her now-husband see her dress before their wedding, she had him pick it out! “I wanted him to think I looked good,” she told me pragmatically. Girl after my own heart.
Clearer view of Shawna's dress. No to be too Pollyanna, but I'm a firm believer that the only requisite accessory for a bride is a happy, adoring smile (© Little Orphan Annie).
Clearer view of Shawna’s dress. No to be too Pollyanna, but I’m a firm believer that the only requisite accessory for a bride is a happy, adoring smile (© Little Orphan Annie).

As far as re-wear prospects, I know some brides do “Trash the Dress” photoshoots. But those — along with smashing cake in your newly minted spouse’s face and engaging in the whole public garter retrieval — are way beyond the pale for my moderately pearl-clutching self.

More from the Annals of Admirably Low-Key Weddings: My friends Christian and Angela, who had a riotous Las Vegas wedding in the Tropicana wedding chapel. The flowers -- along with the cake topper, whose head I painted with nail polish so that it would match hers -- were plastic. I was one of 5 guests, and it was very memorable and touching.
More from the Annals of Admirably Low-Key Weddings: My friends Christian and Angela, who had a riotous Las Vegas wedding in the Tropicana wedding chapel. The flowers — along with the cake topper, whose head I painted with nail polish so that it would match Angela’s hair — were plastic. I was one of 5 guests, and it was very memorable and touching.
And, for completeness, I can't leave out the sweet wedding of my dear college friend Amy, in September 2012.
And, for completeness, I can’t leave out the sweet wedding of my dear college friend Amy, in September 2012.

This leaves only the secondary dress usage of going as Miss Havisham for Halloween. I fully support that, but how many times could you get away with it before people call you out as a one-trick pony and/or pityingly begin to regard you as the jilted Dickensian bride herself after you sink your teeth into the role just a bit too deeply? Answer: surely not enough times to bring your cost-per-hour-of-wearing figure down to a livable figure.

Buy now! Mate later.

Sneak peek ... There it is, in the garment bag!
Exclusive Violet on Orange neak peek … There’s my wedding dress, in the garment bag!
And to counteract the giggly girlishness of this post, here's a photo of Deepak hand-installing our spice rack.
And to counteract the giggly girlishness of this post, here’s a photo of Deepak hand-installing our spice rack.
Preview of coming attractions
Preview of coming attractions


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