“What I love about a wedding gown is that it’s almost purely emotional and not at all practical.”– Rebecca Schoneveld, wedding dress designer
At the tender age of twenty — back when that wasn’t considered too young to get married — I got engaged. Not surprisingly, I was anxious to begin looking for my wedding outfit.
Using the internet to search for a gown was not an available option then, so I made a trip to the store and bought a few bridal magazines so I could conjure up some ideas.
Many days and dog-eared pages later I found my inspiration, so my mom and I made plans to make our pilgrimage to the local bridal shops.
The hunt was on.
I knew exactly what I wanted, and it had to be perfect.
having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
Fast forward thirty-six years. This time it’s my engaged daughter and I making the rounds of the bridal shops, once again looking for that elusive “perfect” dress.
What exactly is the mystique that revolves around finding the perfect wedding outfit?
Once my daughter found her outfit, I felt like there was something I needed to share about my experiences. I began writing what I thought would be a book, but between my work and graduate studies not much was getting accomplished.
But last week all that changed.
A New Plan
I came up with two strategies:
- Conduct a survey to find out if people believe they can find the “perfect” or “dream” outfit.
- Set up interviews so I could hear their stories directly.
After considering what type of questions I should ask, I created the Wedding Outfit Survey.
If you’ve ever borrowed, bought, made, or purchased an outfit for your own wedding ceremony, I’d love to get feedback on your experience. It only takes five minutes to fill it out and don’t worry, there aren’t any questions about your income or education levels. The answers to the questions will help me learn more about your opinions regarding the “perfect dress” phenomenon.
But wait, there’s more!
A New Podcast
The most exciting part comes next. If you’re game, you could be selected to be a part of my upcoming podcast series called Beautiful You (find out more about it here).
When you fill out the survey, just indicate how you would like to be contacted (phone or email). Depending on the number of responses I receive it may take a while, but I’ll reach out to you to determine if your story gels with our theme.
I’m on the east coast in the U.S., but don’t worry if you’re far away; conducting an interview is very simple using ZOOM. I’ve been using it a lot lately to stay in touch with friends and relatives, especially while everyone is social distancing these days.
Everyone I know — and I mean everyone — has a story about choosing their wedding outfit.
This article in Philadelphia Magazine tells the story of how one women spent just $15 on her wedding gown. It includes pictures, and the outfit looks pretty great to me. Perfect doesn’t necessarily come with a price tag.
The survey is open to everyone: males, females, all ages! The only requirement — the outfit had to be for your wedding. Guest outfits don’t count.
What Can We Learn?
The two experiences I’ve had — choosing my own dress and helping my daughter choose hers — were very different (a story for another day). I wasn’t surprised that I learned a lot about myself the first time; as a matter of fact, I sort of expected it. But what I didn’t expect was that I would learn even more when I went shopping with my daughter.
Bottom line? There’s a lot of psychology behind this ritual of choosing a wedding outfit.
Who is that girl in the mirror? And more importantly, will her wedding outfit reflect who she chooses to be as she moves into the next phase of her life?
Share your story with me and let’s find out together.
More to Come
Over the next six weeks I’ll be reporting on the survey results and how the podcast is coming along, so check back if you’d like to hear about my progress. I’m doing some research on the history of weddings, so I’ll try to include a little bit of that as well.
I’m also interested in the different cultural traditions surrounding wedding attire. For some, tradition is a labor of love, yet others toss tradition aside to create their own definition of “perfect.”
What’s your definition of the perfect wedding outfit? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.
until nxt time …
Foster, H. (2020, May 22). Wedding Outfit Survey. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1GEm8OVZTgPsYNfsSNP0a_KFdsI2nI4mGviHyrSV7bwI/edit
Gilbert, B. (n.d.). All your friends are using Zoom, the video-chat app that is suddenly dominating competition from Google and Microsoft. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/zoom-video-everywhere-google-hangouts-skype-2020-3
Schoneveld, R. (2020, April 16). What My Wedding Dress Means to Me. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/fashion/weddings/what-my-wedding-dress-means-to-me.html
Zlotnick, S. (2019, November 7). I Spent $15 On My Wedding Dress and Have Zero Regrets. Philadelphia Magazine. https://www.phillymag.com/philadelphia-wedding/2019/11/07/15-dollar-wedding-dress/