Episode 1: The Ultimate DIY

In an episode from the most recent season of Chuck, a newly engaged woman was on the phone with her maid of honor, who had just had an epiphany regarding the bride’s ambivalence over minor wedding details like flowers and tulle. The maid of honor said something like, “I just realized that you don’t plan a wedding around the flowers or the centerpieces. What do you plan a wedding around?” The bride and I waited in anticipatory silence for her to answer her rhetorical question. I, at least, was waiting for “The couple’s values and interests!” or “The families coming together to celebrate as one!” or at least “Alcohol!”

But, instead, she crowed in the most matter-of-fact, how did you not already know this tone: “THE DRESS!”

I saw this before Nick and I were officially engaged, when we were stuck in pre-engagement limbo and we were (shh!) already starting to talk about what we wanted our wedding to be like. I thought about being the kind of person who plans a large, expensive party around an article of clothing, and I facepalmed so hard it left a mark on my forehead.

But I also started to think about wedding dresses. I started to scour the internet for dresses with sleeves (my upper arms and I don’t get along) and found this amazing dress from Whirlingturban:

Seriously, someone else needs to buy this dress. (Although why the model appears to be passed out on a museum floor after an ecstasy bender is beyond me.)

It’s cheap for a wedding dress ($625), but not cheap for my usual fancy dress budget ($20) or my salary (hahaha). Plus, I’m really not sure I could pull off the poofy. I started to doubt myself. I started to think about trying to sew a similar dress myself, only my sewing experience is pretty much limited to hemming all of my jeans with a whip stitch (and yes, I do know that that is the wrong stitch to use for that purpose).

And then I made it worse: I started to watch Say Yes to the Dress (goodbye, last scrap of indie cred). I found myself no longer shocked by people stating their budget as $3,000 and then telling the cameras that they just lost their jobs, which is why they couldn’t afford a goddamn respectable dress. Some of those mothers looked like they just dragged themselves out of the coal mines, showered off, and committed to spending their entire life savings to put their daughters in a Pnina Tornai. On some level, I knew how bizarre the whole concept was, but I also found myself making the sour-lemon face along with the salespeople anytime someone’s budget fell under $5,000, and I started believing that $1k was cheap for a single garment.

I don’t know if what happened next counts as a snap back to reality or a leap off of a tall cliff. I had been thinking about knitting the flowers for the wedding (which people could then take home as favors), but after deciding that learning to sew by making my own wedding dress was sheer insanity, I hadn’t considered knitting myself a dress. Until I saw this (or something like this) on SYTTD:

Major Boobage.

I fell madly in love and started to feverishly scour the internet for lace, v-neck dresses under $300. You may be shocked to learn that I found remarkably little.

Something happened next. I’m not sure what it was that planted the idea “Hey, I can make that!” in my delusional little mind, but I woke up the next morning resolved to find myself a pattern and make a wearable heirloom.

To return to the anecdote from the beginning of the post, you don’t build a wedding around a dress. Well, at least I don’t; you do whatever makes you happy, you crazy kids. But you do build a wedding around your personality, and making a really bad decision on the slim chance that it turns out incredibly well is something I do. After all, I’m marrying a guy I met at a frat party freshman year of college.

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