A few weeks ago, my friend and bridesmaid Julie drove down to go dress shopping with me. As a precursor, she showed me a few episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress,” a reality show in which women, whose wedding budgets aren’t as small as mine, buy dresses while family and friends ooh and ahh over their choices (or complain and criticize, depending on the episode).
At first the show was a nice break from the marathon of “Dr. Who” episodes I’d been watching. But then, as I continued watching on my own, I started comparing my own wedding dress experience with the girls from the show.
Last week, I bought a wedding dress off Nordstrom’s website that I think might be my wedding dress. Since I bought it online and since almost all of my bridesmaids are a plane ride away, the only people who saw me in it are the best man and my fiance.
I didn’t have an entourage with me, I didn’t cry and no asked if I was ready to say yes to this dress. Throughout this process, I’ve tried to be a rational bride. I don’t need people to cry over me and tell me how beautiful I look. But the more I watched the show, the more I started feeling jealous that I had missed out on an important moment.
Yesterday I went with my friend Jess, who is also engaged, to a bridal store. We didn’t plan on it, but it happened to be next door to the Trader Joe’s we were visiting and I suggested we go in.
Once I started walking around the store and looking at all the dresses (many in the $1,000-$2,000) range, I started feeling better. Watching “Say Yes to the Dress” made me feel jealous of the girls who buy lacy and rhinestone encrusted Panina dresses that cost more than I make in a month.
But once I was inside the store, touching and looking at the dresses I’ve seen in countless magazines and wedding blogs, I realized why I bought mine at a department store, for about the same cost as my monthly rent.
I don’t want a princess ballgown dress, I don’t want a heavy dress with a long train and I definitely don’t want to blow my budget on one dress. Sometimes when we see what we thought we wanted up close, it reminds us why we made the choices we did.
It’s easy to look at other people and wish you had what they did. Social media always seems to remind us what we really want - an active social life, a fuller bank account, the desire to wear high heels even when it’s 10 degrees outside. A Cinderella dress.
I can’t keep comparing myself to other people, especially throughout this wedding process. There’s always going to be someone with a bigger budget, a nicer venue and a fancier dress.
All I can do is remind myself of what I do have. A loving family, seven supportive bridesmaids and one fiance that I can’t wait to marry.