The Green Wedding Chronicles: The Final Countdown

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What a strange power there is in clothing.”
~Isaac Bashevis Singer

So it’s been an interesting month, hence the delay in my weekly wedding post.  With our wedding in just two days, I had previously been pretty chill – going the simple route, everything’s been taken care of and I’ve just been focusing on finishing up my last coaching gigs, talking to prospective clients, working in the garden and heading down under to celebrate our engagement and bring him back for good with a week to just blob before getting hitched. Good to go, right?

Well, notsomuch.

Mild Blip in the Radar

With 28 days left, I was left without a dress. While the prototype fitting went very well last month, before leaving the country on holiday, my dressmaker brought over the actual dress and it was completely different from the prototype’s silhouette, going totally A-line instead of following my curves as was my request. I hate to admit that I started to cry when I saw myself in the mirror and felt anything but beautiful. I was devastated at this unexpected results and with her holiday lasting until just a week before our wedding, finding a new dress became a mega priority as it became clear to me that a re-do was not going to be realistic expectation.

My fiance had the (not) enviable task of soothing me during a rather ugly anxiety attack, as I felt myself fall into a confusing place of insecurity, societal pressure, and tremendous body image issues. Suddenly I felt as though this dress – or lack thereof – owned me, owned the day – that it was more important than anything else. I contemplated suggesting we just go to city hall. And while intellectually I knew that my self-talk was total crap, emotionally all I could think was, “I just want to be pretty, and I won’t be unless it’s perfect.”

Good grief! Why am I getting this way, I asked myself!

But I immediately stopped everything and the next day got a Zipcar to take me all around the city, visiting 20-25 boutiques with no luck. You see, the styles this year are all about either above-the-knee, poufy-skirted numbers (“fit and flare” is the current descriptor) or shapeless, gnarly-printed Lawrence Welk-inspired maxi-dresses, with the color schemes predominantly in sherbet tones, or – which surprised me for springtime – still a ton of black, brown, and gray. And the kicker? Very little in my size.  Over the past months, I’ve also ordered at least fifteen dresses that have managed to make me feel matronly, tubby, or just plain wonder what the hell was on the designer’s mind. It’s funny how you can be comfortable with yourself in the mirror until the heat is on

“My entire identity had been built around feminism, so why was it that I was contradicting my own beliefs?”
~ from Liz’s post, Is it Possible to Have a Feminist Wedding?

On the first night, my fiance said, honey, give it a day, sleep on it, you will know what to do, and it will all work itself out. I’d marry you in your birthday suit, in a paper bag, whatever, he told me. So I shut up and went to sleep. I woke up and sure enough, I felt better. I felt confident I’d find something if I just relaxed. Then of course I went into the stores, thinking “I just want to find a cute dress” and leaving at the end of the day in tears, feeling like there was nothing for me. I then ordered a bunch of dresses online in hopes that something would not just fit but also that I could envision walking through the forest with my husband-to-be, telling him of my deep love and commitment to our future, and looking into each others’ eyes blah blah blah…

So I slept on it some more.

I ordered more ill-fitting online dresses this week and remained disappointed at the results. And mind you I’m not just looking at white dresses.  Being a fairly non-traditional gal, I’ve remained open to something gorgeous in shades of plum, olive, blue, and maroon – all colors that complement my skin.  But I refuse to spend thousands on a dress to be worn for a day.  And honestly? I’d rather not have something that was made in a sweatshop (take a look at those Nordstrom labels, they’ll surprise you at the predominance of Made in China, no matter how much they cost). The interesting discovery however was that the local designers for the most part are just not creating products suitable for the curvier gals. And the most offensive? I went to a shop on on NW 23rd where as I was leaving because they had no size run above a 6, the gal there actually said “oh you have to ask for the larger sizes, we don’t keep those out on the floor” and proceeded to dig through a box to pull up something in a Large.  Rather than show they care about all sizes, they thought it wasn’t important enough to attract all women, just the slender types.

A Colorful History…

Here are a few things I learned from the blog MarryJim about wedding dress colors and associated traditions around the world…

  • A Hopi bride traditionally would have her garments woven by the groom and any men in the village who wished to participate.
  • White is used because in Japan it symbolizes death – in this case, the bride becomes dead to her family. The bride will eventually remove her white kimono to reveal another colored one – usually red – to symbolize her rebirth into her husband’s family.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots, wore a white wedding gown in 1559 when she married her first husband, Francis Dauphin of France because it was her favorite color, although white was then the color of mourning for French Queens.
  • Prior to the Victorian era, a bride was married in any color, black being especially popular in Scandinavia.

So with that, I found an inspiring few pieces online in a shop I discovered literally the day before heading to Oz, had them overnighted, and ended up putting together two ensembles that I will be deciding between for the ceremony. They’re made in America, incorporate some vintage touches, embrace my curves, and make me feel pretty again. My friend is coming over to help me (and no, my fiancee doesn’t know what I’m wearing – a throwback to one tradition I decided to keep).

Now that that’s (kinda) figured out

Well, we never did write those vows while we were in Oz as we were so distracted by other to-do’s.  But we had the “vow date” as planned over an amazing Chinese dinner in St Kilda, but it’s only tonight that I put the words together, while Dan’s going to be hiding out at the cafe across the street to work on finishing his up. Then, yep, Wednesday we head west to go play, enjoy dinner with friends, and get up Thursday morning to tie the knot at our favorite spot along the Oregon Coast.  After being a bundle of nerves this week, I’m feeling that quiet, peaceful sense of stillness that reminds me of what every engaged couple needs to be reminded of – it’s about us, and it’s going to be great.

Here’s to happily ever after…

“When our wedding takes place, I will be fully present, and I will do so on my terms — not yours.”
~ from Aurora’s guest post on Offbeat Bride, addressing the bridal industry.

5 thoughts on “The Green Wedding Chronicles: The Final Countdown

  1. Thank you for keeping some traditions, keeping your head and remembering what this is all about – the two of you! This from a bride of 43years who got married at the Justice of the Peace in Vancouver, Wa with only my mother and the photographer as witnesses. It really does work out without all the trappings of the expected pomp & circumstance. I have never regretted our decisions as we bought a house the next month – unheard of for an 18 & 19 year old! My thoughts & prayers are with you both… Ruth

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  2. Interesting history on wedding dresses and the colors. I know your wedding will be beautiful and all the frustrations of the perfect dress will be forgotten. I hope you will share plenty of pictures, I’d really like to see the dress you chose.

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  3. You know how I feel about this. You have this gorgeous, hourglass, curvy body, and a beautiful energy to accompany it, lovely eyes, full lips any woman would envy… and you have an inside that radiates outward.

    This whole wedding industry is a money pit. Though I happen to be a size that would fit in a traditional dress, the industry is not marketing to the average sized woman. I could go on and on. It is beyond sad that at a time one wants to feel as beautiful outside as love makes them feel inside, that dresses are such a barrier.

    There is also the whole virginal white, representing purity and sexual spotlessness, that American dresses represent. I happen to hold great respect for women who figure out what makes them feel pretty in a culture that does everything it can to make us feel we are in constant need of adjusting to ever changing culturally constructed standards.

    Here’s to women who model to one another it’s okay to be in your own body and love where you are, and accept the love that flows into your life :). Here’s to you!

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