Wedding Gown Magic … or Not

I love watching the show “Say Yes to the Dress.”

I’m intrigued by the different styles. The extreme range of prices for the gowns–anywhere from a thousand dollars to upwards of ten thousand dollars (or more.)

And the interaction between the bride-to-be and whoever she brings to help her choose her gown? Sometimes I’m stunned by the interaction between the future Mrs. Whoever and her mother. Or her best friend. Or her bridesmaids. Or her future mother-in-law. Even her future husband. I’ve watched brides fend off the opinions of all these people at one time!

Who knew wedding gowns were such emotion-laden objects?

Some women dream of their wedding gown for years, cutting out pictures from Brides magazine and updating their must-have wish list as the styles change. Strapless. Form-fitting. Princess gown. Lots of bling. Classic.

The hope? To feel one-of-a-kind beautiful on your wedding day.

That’s a lot of expectation wrapped up in lace, satin, bows and beads.

In my debut novel, Wish You Were Here (Howard Books, May 2012), my heroine’s wedding gown has … shall we say a supporting role in the story line. And in Rachel Hauck’s upcoming release, The Wedding Dress, a one-hundred-year-old wedding gown influences four generations of women.

I’ve known women who ignore their budget and any bit of common sense for a dress they’ll wear for one day–for just a few hours of that one day. Some celebrities opt for two gowns–one for the ceremony, one for the reception. Talk about splurging.

But when you get past the price tags and the material, you discover the same purpose: It’s all about the bride feeling b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l in a way she’s never felt before.

Wedding gown magic.

In Your Words: What’s your take on wedding gowns? Were you all about saying yes to the perfect dress when you got married? Or are you still dreaming of your wedding day and discovering your wedding gown magic as you stand in front of a row of mirrors in a bridal salon? Any special wedding gown memories?

PS: The bride in the first photo? She’s my lovely daughter, Katie Beth, on her wedding day this past July. Photo by John Skiba Photography.
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  1. October 3, 2011, 10:42 pm   /  Reply

    Can’t wait to read your book, Beth. And your Katie Beth is a stunning bride. I love that she wore a veil. So, so beautiful.
    Weddings were very traditional and very much alike when I married in the 70’s. The choices in wedding dress styles were nothing like they are today. My mother was the only person to go with me and I’m sure she told the woman in the bridal department not to show me any dresses over a certain amount. I fell in love with the first dress she showed me and it remains safely stored in my cedar chest. I can’t imagine “trashing it” like many girls do today for photos. I don’t know that my daughter or granddaughters would wear it, but maybe they would use some of the material in a creative way and I would be very happy to let them do that.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 3, 2011, 11:01 pm   /  Reply

      I hear so often that women fall in love with the first dress they try on.
      I’ve kept my wedding dress too, but like you, I don’t expect any of my daughters to want to wear it. The idea of using the material for something else … that’s a good one.
      My best friend went with me to help me choose my gown.

  2. October 4, 2011, 5:29 am   /  Reply

    When I dated Hubby, I spent time going through bridal magazines because I knew he was the one for me. I came across this one dress that left me breathless. I found a store that carried and nearly wept when I tried it on. I loved it. But, I never wore it.

    Hubby and I eloped, so my traditional church wedding lingers as a memory. I love Say Yes to the Dress too. Those poor brides try to please everyone else but themselves. It’s THEIR day, yet they want everyone else’s approval.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 4, 2011, 6:25 am   /  Reply

      Expectations, the bride’s and so many other’s, are often wrapped up in a wedding gown, Lisa. And while you may not have the memory of your dress because you eloped, you probably have other precious memories …
      I read some of your story over at your blog, so I know how your first book, Lakeside Reunion, is dedicated to your husband!

  3. October 4, 2011, 5:52 am   /  Reply

    Mine was borrowed from a college roommate and it fit perfectly–worked for me and made it more fun. Besides, she had good taste.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 4, 2011, 6:26 am   /  Reply

      Something borrowed, eh?
      How fun was that? And economical too. And it sounds like you felt beautiful in the gown–so it was a “perfect fit” in a lot of ways.

      • Beth Vogt
        October 4, 2011, 7:05 am   /  Reply

        (Thanks for pointing out that now-fixed typo.) 🙂

  4. October 4, 2011, 7:15 am   /  Reply

    Not married yet, but this I know…I will carry a tide stick with me on my wedding day. Maybe tucked into the bodice of my gown…hehehe…either that, or I will pray my wedding day is the one day of my life when I make it through an entire day of wearing white without spilling. Hey, miracles can happen!

    Fun post, Beth, and I can’t wait to read your book…and Rachel’s too!!

    • Beth Vogt
      October 4, 2011, 7:38 am   /  Reply

      Oh, Melissa, I soo understand about the Tide stick! It seems like whenever I wear white, the fates demand I spill something on myself!! My reception was outdoors … very casual, in my parents’ backyard. I do remember the hem of my gown being filthy by the end of the day!

  5. Jeanne
    October 4, 2011, 7:33 am   /  Reply

    Fun post, Beth. 🙂 I think you’re right. When it comes right down to it, a bride wants to feel beautiful. I found my wedding gown in a magazine, but finding a store that carried it, well that was a different story. When I finally discovered the store that had “my” gown, I snatched it up. A friend went with me to try mine on because my family lived too far away. I confess that I felt beautiful in it, and watching my DH’s eyes pop when I walked down the aisle brought great satisfaction. 🙂

    I know trashing the dress is a popular “sport” today, but I want to cherish the memories my wedding gown rekindles, and I can’t imagine doing that. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      October 4, 2011, 7:39 am   /  Reply

      You’re the second person to mention “trashing” the wedding dress, Jeanne. Hhmmm … it’s an interesting new tradition, isn’t it? I may have to do a blog post on that.

  6. October 4, 2011, 7:34 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I have three generations of wedding dresses at my house now. My mother let us dress up in hers, so it’s not in good condition. Mother lent mine at some point (with my permission) and then had it cleaned and sealed. It’s very 60s, but my daughter did try it on before buying hers, which is very different, of course. The best part of that for me is that my slender daughter couldn’t get it fastened! She was impressed at how thin I used to be.
    I love the idea of using parts of previous dresses. Perhaps my granddaughter can do that.
    Love this post!

    • Beth Vogt
      October 4, 2011, 7:42 am   /  Reply

      I remember playing dress-up in my mother’s wedding gown too! Not sure why she let my sisters and I do that … it was a beautiful tea-length lace gown. So there was no wearing it when any of us got married.
      I’m thinking I may have to look into the other options of what to do with a wedding gown besides re-wearing it …

  7. Rachel Hauck
    October 4, 2011, 8:05 am   /  Reply

    Love this post. Wedding dresses are sort of magical, aren’t they? But it seems lately it’s become a status symbol, part of a fairytale. I love when women find gowns that reflect “who” they are.

    Thanks for posting about The Wedding Dress, Beth! Can’t WAIT for Wish You Were Here!


    • Beth Vogt
      October 4, 2011, 8:37 am   /  Reply

      I do think wedding gowns are magical … a bit tangible bit of hopes and dreams.
      Can’t wait to read your novel!

  8. October 4, 2011, 8:20 am   /  Reply

    Your daughter’s dress is beautiful, Beth, as is she. I think a bridal gown makes any woman feel like she’s a princess, which is how it should be. Her wedding day is special, and the dress is an important part of the experience.

    I look forward to seeing your cover and wonder if there will be a wedding dress on it. =)

    • Beth Vogt
      October 4, 2011, 8:38 am   /  Reply

      One of my most special memories is going with my daughter–and her sisters and sister-in-love and a close friend–to shop for her dress. When she found it, she called her dad and brother to come see her in it. The look on her father’s face was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
      I’m looking forward to seeing my cover too …

  9. Fran Shaw
    October 4, 2011, 9:29 am   /  Reply

    I had a beautiful wedding on a shoestring budget, which included a borrowed dress. When I look at the pictures today (41 years later), I still love that dress! It was exactly what I wanted. It was an example of God’s blessing to give me the desires of my heart, which He has demonstrated many times in the years since. One such blessing was going with my daughter to choose her dress. I am still overwhelmed with that wonderful memory! I am looking at her picture right now and reliving that special day in her beautiful dress. And you were there, my friend! Thank you for sharing life with me! I can’t wait to read about your heroine’s dress!

    • Beth Vogt
      October 4, 2011, 12:27 pm   /  Reply

      How fun to “hear” you weigh on on Wedding Gown Magic! I remember how beautiful Christie was on her wedding day … she looked like the Estee Lauder bride in those “Beautiful” commercials. Stunning.
      It’s amazing to me how our wedding photos hang on our walls for years. Other photographs come and go, but wedding photos … they last.

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