Photo: W & E Photographie
There once was a bride,
Wouldn't couldn't be satisfied.
Even after trying on 100 dresses.
Sounds an old-timey limerick or haiku, doesn't it?
Sadly, it isn't: it's the very modern-day true story of a bride I worked with who was still disappointed in her wedding gown, even after trying on more than 100 dresses.
Partly, it's the Internet to blame: there's always that gnawing sense that, if you just click around enough, you will find that 100% perfect dress. We're all plagued by a chronic sense of dissatisfaction, a sense we could find "the one" — if we just put in more time and effort.
But the Internet's not solely to blame here. Because, it turns out, this bride didn't actually have a dress problem. It was a trusting-herself issue. A difficulty, ultimately, in knowing what she wanted. It was fear of declaring, "this is what I want." A difficulty in saying "yes" to one dress and "no" to all other possibilities.
It wasn't only dresses that got this intense scrutiny and effort. Her engagement ring received the same treatment. And when she'd finally — and reluctantly — committed to one, her critical attentions turned to her fiancé. Poor guy, he wasn't perfect, either. He's human.
I didn't learn all this information until I'd been working with this bride for more than two months. If I'd known earlier, I would have told her this: STOP. Cancel this weekend's appointment at the bridal salon, and use that time instead to pay quiet attention to your inner self. Make time to address your inner emotional experience — your deepest feelings about becoming a wife, ending your single life, leaving your family, growing up, making all these enormous changes. Take the focus off the beading, the tone of white, the neckline, and focus inward.
Because all that racing from salon to salon was her attempt to not deal with these bigger emotions that are normal and natural (but not easy) to feel right now.
Have you gone to more than five bridal salons? Are you on a fraught mission to discover that elusive, 100% perfect dress? If that sounds like you, you stop, too. Cancel your next appointment and use that time instead to look inward.
Allison Moir-Smith is a bridal counselor and author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life.