Blythe's Wedding Diary, Part IV

Our own Blythe Copeland is getting married and she is keeping a diary of her experiences, right up until she walks down the aisle.

You already know that I’d been putting together exhaustively-detailed wedding scenarios for years, from deciding on gold or silver party poppers at a New Year’s Eve fest to choosing the precise shade of blue on our personalized shell place cards at a beach bash. But through all that, the only thing that was never clear to me was the piece most women build their whole day around: the dress. All I knew was that in nearly all of the froufy confections hanging in the many bridal salons I visited, I didn’t feel like a bride. I felt like a cupcake. And I would have preferred to wear my pajamas.


But everyone says you can’t judge a dress by its hanger, so I dutifully climbed into every beaded, embroidered, satin, or tulle ballgown within a 35-mile radius. I felt ridiculous, even in the dressing rooms, and was glad every time I was given the okay to slip back into my jeans. No matter how many times I said, “I do not want to feel like a princess, please. I want to feel like myself,” some middle-aged woman would zip or button me into a dress I could barely walk in, then send me out to a mirror and ooh and ahh while the rest of the customers told me I looked just like a princess (and my mom rolled her eyes). The worst was in Dress Number 18, a heavily-beaded tulle extravaganza that was going to cost double my budget just to shorten the straps, when they tacked on a veil and handed me a fake bouquet of flowers. I nearly started crying, and not from happiness.

There was just one dress, of the 50+ that I auditioned, that became a contender: Dress Number 27, a white, strapless design with a ruched top and a pick-up skirt. It was simple and chic enough that I didn’t feel like that morning’s bakery delivery, but it was formal and fun and comfortable, like every great party dress should be (many thanks to the awesome saleswomen at Yolanda’s who found it for me). Still, it wasn’t quite right.

There was one dress that caught my eye online before I even headed out to the stores—an off-white strapless, slim a-line with a lace overlay, a gathered waist, and a corset back—that I couldn’t find anywhere (this would be Dress Number 1). I asked a store near my parents’ house to order a sample for me to try on; the company sent a sample size two, which is roughly a street-size zero. (I am not a size zero.) A petite, 17-year-old employee tried it on, while my mom, my maid of honor, and the rest of the staff looked from me to her, imagining what it would look like while I walked down the aisle. I had some concerns about the slim skirt and the gathered waist, neither of which would be flattering if I became a bride who gains 10 pounds the week before. But it just looked like the dress for me, and it seemed to go with the vibe we were planning, so I bought it—without ever even trying it on. It was an impractical, and fairly unemotional, decision.

I spent the next four months on self- (and work-) imposed bridal bootcamp (which you can read about here), then went for my first fitting, closed my eyes, and crossed my fingers: It fit (actually, it was huge), the gathered waist made me look taller, and the slim skirt fluffed just enough. I breathed out, but I still didn’t cry. Three fittings later, I think I must be missing the bridal gown gene, the one that makes you tear up when you see yourself all done up. I like the dress, and it’s comfortable, and my fiancé, when he finally saw it, said it was everything he’d always imagined. Good enough for me—especially because, when you stop to think about it, does anyone tell the bride they don’t like her dress? By the time you’re actually getting married, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. I wish someone had told me that way back when I was putting on dress number 23—my pajamas would have been so much more comfortable.