Wedding 101: Finding “The Dress”

They tell me I can’t dress like this at our wedding.

why yes, we did play in a rock band competition.

Which makes me sad, because DENIM ON DENIM FOR EVERYONE!!! would be pretty sweet. I haven’t written anything about “the dress” yet because I haven’t started looking. All that’s about to change, my friends, because mom and I are heading to Philadelphia on Wednesday to start the search. I’ve made some appointments at stores in King of Prussia and boutiques in Philly proper, and oh god here goes. I realize this makes me an out of the ordinary bride-to-be, but I am not looking forward to this, not one bit. No sir. Not once. Not ever. Nope. Who’s chair is that?

There’s a lot of pressure and stress that comes with finding “the dress.” After I inevitably disappoint people with a resounding “no” when they ask, “Do you have your dress yet?” the next question is always, “Well what kind of dress do you want?” At this point I’m generally feeling pressured and panicked. The pretty kind?

What “kind” of dress do I want? What does that even mean? Turns out, there’s lots of kinds. “The dress” comes in “sheath.” It comes in “column.” It could be a “mermaid,”* “a-line,” “trumpet,” “ball gown,” or “short.” It could be made from “tulle,” “organza,” “silk,” “satin,” and “lace.” It might look “white,” “pure white,” “eggshell,” “ivory,” CONFUSED YET? Because I am.

So what kind of dress do I want? Barring my ability to procure the white Rodarte dress that Natalie Portman wears in the gala scene in Black Swan [the sketch is pictured in this blog post, a photo is quite hard to find], one like this:

  • It needs some breathing room, because I want to get gnarly on that catering.
  • I don’t want any poof, anywhere.
  • I don’t want to look like I stepped out of a Disney Princesses fairytale.
  • I’d prefer an off-white or ivory to bright white.
  • It should probably not have anything I can trip over. This rules out “trains.” I’m not planning on wearing heels, either, so this rules out (1) that weird picture photographers always do of your bridal shoes and (2) super long dresses.
  • It needs dancing potential.
  • It’s got to be within my price range.

I have a feeling if I take that list to J. Crew or Bloomingdales on Wednesday, they’ll either think I’m lying about getting married, or insane, or that the person who is marrying me is insane.** I guess it might seem like my priorities are off, but honestly, the dress just isn’t that important to me. I’m actually more interested in the second-hand and consignment dress shops, because as long as its clean, comfortable, photogenic, and meets the above criteria, I’m sure I’ll be happy.

That said, I’m looking forward to the trip with my mom. Hopefully I can help her pick out something nice to wear, too, and hopefully I won’t embarrass her too much with my indecision and inability to commit [see also my love for tapas]. We’ll keep you in the loop this week, because everyone loves talking about fitting into a white dress over Thanksgiving.

* Not as exciting as it should be.

** Jury’s out on that.


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Categories: Wedding


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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2 Comments on “Wedding 101: Finding “The Dress””

  1. B Licon
    November 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    After your blog about your choice of photographer and part of your decicion for her was her unique style and vintage look in her pictures, I half expected you to go for a Bohemian look. Have fun and get wrapped up in the excitement of choosing “the dress” —happy memories to look back on long after the shopping day.

    • November 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      That’s actually something I’m looking into – I plan on taking a look at a few vintage shops if I get the time. I just really want something simple in the end. Gotta be comfortable!

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