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Why I Just Bought a Pink Wedding Dress

wedding dress excitement

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and cry every time I listen to Katy Perry’s song “Roar”: I use to be even more bold, even more outrageous, even more flamboyant. I used to delight in always wearing  ridiculous dresses completely unsuited for the occasion – camping in space princess dresses and hiking in ballgowns made from parachutes. I loved being the center of attention, the belle of the ball. I was always silly and flirty and fun. And I don’t feel that that’s me any more, and that has been making me sad.

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As I prepare for so many big life milestones this coming year – finishing grad school, moving to a different state, getting married, and turning 30 – I’m realizing that I don’t like all of what I’ve grown into. I’ve grown shy, learned to constantly doubt myself, and worry about what others think of me. This is not who I want to be. I think some of it has come from growing up, and toning down a bit isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think a lot of it has come from spending 6 years in graduate school being told (subtly and not-so-subtly, in many different ways) that I’m not good enough. “I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath. Scared to rock the boat and make a mess. So I sat quietly, agreed politely.” And I let my doubts and struggles in school turn into doubts and struggles in all aspects of my life. And I don’t want that.

wedding dress excitement

I went wedding dress shopping this weekend with a group of girlfriends, thinking that I would try on a bunch of different dresses so that I knew exactly what I wanted to sew for myself. I pulled a selection of demure, vintage inspired, elegant dresses to try on. And my girlfriends grabbed the one puffy pink dress in the shop and tossed it on the pile. After putting on several pretty dresses with different design elements that I liked, I put on the puffy pink dress to humor my friends. I walked out, looked in the mirror, and almost started crying. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. The dress is completely and utterly ridiculous. It has so much tulle that it barely fits into its dress bag. It’s (blush) pink. And it is ME! “You hear my voice, you hear that sound? Like thunder, gonna shake the ground.”

That was it. The decision was made. I’m no longer sewing my own dress. I bought the ridiculous dress that same day and I get giddy thinking about wearing it. Yes, it will be completely absurd to wear a gigantic tulle dress to get married in a barn on a hay farm. But I’ll tone it down with a pair of pink tennis shoes or cowgirl boots, and it’ll be completely, 100% me. The me that I know I am inside. Flamboyant, silly, excitable, and self-confident. “I got up. Get ready cause I’ve had enough…Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me ROAR!”

Comments 45

  1. Mary Danielson

    Love it! I just got married a few weeks back and my dress was ridiculously old-fashioned and the opposite of what all the bridal magazines said I should wear…and it made me smile from ear-to-ear. So glad that you found the one that makes you do the same! That’s a rock awesome feeling.

  2. dave glasser

    it’s been a while since i’ve seen you, and wow do both of those first two photos bring immediate smiles to my face! congratulations on all the exciting things going on in your life, and damn you’re gonna rock that puffy dress. that smile sure is you :)

  3. Jenni

    Made me smile. After having my daughter I felt a little lost in motherhood and am starting to feel like me again, so glad you’ve found yourself again too :-) sounds like it’ll be an awesome wedding outfit and party x

  4. Melanie

    Good for you Erin…it’s hard to find yourself once you’ve gotten a bit lost but the wedding dress sounds like the perfect dress for you!

  5. Laura

    I totally understand. I feel like I used to be fun, but somewhere along the way I’ve lost that. I’m so glad that you got the dress that is totally you! No need to tone it down. You’ll rock it whatever you do!

  6. Jodi

    I used to be totally obsessed wih leopard print. (I was really good girl, so it felt so good to break out and rebel I. Safe ways. Dying my hair red was one, leopard print another…)

    The leopard print kinda died down as I got into motherhood…. Until 2 days ago… I bought myself some leopard print ballet flats. It does feel good to go back to that place.

  7. Mon

    Hi dear Erin,
    I feel I’ve livingyour struggle with you from the other side of Canda. Fortunately for me I had very lovely people around me that helped me to be strong. I live in Montreal, I just got married to the love of my life in January 4th and I’ll start writing my theisis soon. Surely enough, I also realized I was becoming a person I didn’t want to be, so I’m also slowly going back to myself.
    Courage!!

  8. Fleur

    YEAY! I can totally relate. I tried for years to repress my personal tastes and be a watered down version of myself that would be acceptable to anyone. It sucked. Then I slowly started adding ‘me’ back in and it felt great. You’re going to look amazing and best (and most importantly) you’ll feel amazing on a very fun day. Also… if you happen to decide on getting another fun dress later on that’s also okay ;)

    Also – have you checked out rocknrollbride website? There’s so much colourful inspiration!

  9. Amy

    Well, I’d say you made a great decision! And, I totally get the whole grad school thing – only mine was my postdoc. Moving on to bigger and better things, right?! And, back into the person we’re supposed to be!

  10. carlalissa

    Congratulations Erin… and YESSSS be yourself 100%…. its your day and you put the tune to it!!! and do not forget to enjoy your day to the minute….cause the day flies.

  11. Liz

    Yay – it’s got to be you – you have to be able to look back on the photos in the years to come and still go “yep, that’s me” rather than regretting your choice or being uncomfortable on the day. I hope you share photos on your site after the big day!

  12. kt

    Good for you! While I was working towards my PhD, I also lost my voice. At one point, I could not remember the last time I laughed. Cheers to living the lives we imagine for ourselves and being true to ourselves! Roar, girlie, roar!

  13. Gaye Proctor

    I know exactly what you mean. I too strayed away from me (years in corporate wear) and was headed for becoming a grey, invisible 48 year old. Not anymore I’m not because I can sew and make anything I damn well please.

    And I got married in pink too! I’m sure it will be spectacular….

  14. Sophie-Lee

    ” I’ve grown shy, learned to constantly doubt myself, and worry about what others think of me. ”

    I’m the same; I think it’s mainly since starting work as a professional, but I was still changing through med school. In high school I was crazy, had coloured hair (gosh I wish I could have pink hair again but, unfortunately, first impressions count for a lot. I might do it when I go on maternity leave one day), DANCED like nobodies business no matter who was watching (the bit I miss the most). Now I’m more shy and cynical and just don’t have as much fun as I used to.

  15. Kathryn

    Yay to getting married in whatever you want to wear rather than what society tells us we should wear! I also got married in pink so love your choice! Sounds like an exciting stage in your life!

  16. Megan

    Yay! It’s amazing when you find something that is so totally you! From what I can see in the picture, the dress looks really pretty. I actually love the colour! And I think it would be adorable with a pair of cowboy boots! Although where I come from, cowboy boots go with anything and everything. People wear them to weddings all the time.

  17. Mary Kay Reynolds

    Geesh… “not good enough”? Frankly I’m in awe. Going to grad school, sewing, designing amazing patterns and hosting sewalongs. I keep wondering how does she do all this and do it so well?

  18. Giggles in the Sun

    Well done. This post resonated with me. In my late teens / early 20s I wore pink and red constantly. Now in my 30s I am much less assured. My skirt length got progressively longer and there is a little voice that says tells me off when I try to fit something a little tighter. I am trying to work against it, but I guess I haven’t found my ‘pick wedding dress’ yet :-)

  19. sewlittletime

    Yaay. Sounds like you found your perfect dress! Like other commenter I found this after I had my daughter. I’m trying to find my way back to myself at the moment. I used to be much more confident in my clothes and I want to get back there!

  20. Marianne

    Perfect! That’s a great brunch of girlfriends you brought for dress shopping :) Any bows on the dress? If not, I suggest adding some enormous Erin-bows to your Bridal Boots!

  21. T

    It is easy to lose sense of yourself as you get older … with so much of society telling you how you should look and behave … but inside you are just the same as you used to be. I am so happy that you have discovered your inner tiger again! Love the blush dress and think it would look perfect with cowboy boots or converse sneakers. You go girl!

  22. Shams

    Erin, that dress is beautiful (even though we can’t see all of it)! I love it and I love that you are stepping out, expressing your authentic self, and feeling the whimsy! Many congrats, though we will miss you here in SF!!

  23. Carolyn

    Good for you Erin! I’m so happy that you found the dress of your dreams. It sounds like it’s going to be a really big year for you; wow!
    Wishing you the very best of luck and happiness for your big day!! :)

  24. Maeve

    This seems to happen to most of us at some point, but so glad you are taking the bull by the horns and finding your true self again. Rock that pink dress girl!! And wear whatever kind of shoes you want.

  25. Corinne

    You go girl! I think the days of societal pressure to dress and behave a certain, more “mature” way as we age is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Who ever said that as we age we have to start dressing behaving a certain way or not a certain way, anyway? It’s the most ridiculous thing ever! It’s your wedding – wear whatever you want to wear! Dress proud and sing loud! RAWWWWWR!!!

  26. Kelly

    This dress would look AMAZING with cowboy boots! I’m so glad you found the perfect dress so quickly!! As to the other part… I didn’t even have to read more than the first couple lines before thinking that’s what grad school does to a person. I’m so sorry you’ve been affected like this, but it’s not who you really are. The old you is still there and I’m sure you will feel more like yourself when you’re in a more reasonable situation that suits you better.

  27. Maris Olsen

    Glad you’re back, girl! We al doubt ourselves from time to time, but there is nothing silly about wearing a dress that makes you feel amazing, beautiful, and special. It is simply the right thing to do, beautiful!

  28. Jennifer

    I love it ! The smile on your face is indication of your joy and the color is so pretty with your skin tone.

  29. Ari B

    I have felt this very same way. Changes in life and growing up tends to impact so greatly that sometimes you lose yourself. I’m happy for you……that you have come to the point of knowing that being yourself is what keeps you sane and makes you happy. All the best in 2014! ROAR

  30. Stacia

    I wore a dress with 11 layers of tulle for my diy barn wedding. TOTALLY WORTH IT! If you want to see: sarahbeckerphoto.com/michael-stacia-a-diy-barn-wedding/

  31. MaciNic

    Perfect. Congratulations on being you – and Thank You to your girlfriends who threw it into the mix x

  32. Ginger

    LOVE this. And I love the dress (what we can see of it)! I’m so happy for you! I got married young and fast (but not for THAT reason), and I was pretty heavily (s)mothered during the dress-buying/wedding-planning phase, so I didn’t feel like myself at ALL on my wedding day. Wish I had been able to stick up for myself more! I’m so proud of you for going with you gut and buying what you love!

  33. T. Sedai

    “…but I think a lot of it has come from spending 6 years in graduate school being told (subtly and not-so-subtly, in many different ways) that I’m not good enough. […] And I let my doubts and struggles in school turn into doubts and struggles in all aspects of my life. And I don’t want that.”

    That statement EXACTLY how I feel about the time I spent in grad school. EXACTLY. I know this is an old post, but I just had to comment because this resonated with me so much. I love your fluffy pink wedding dress, and I’m happy you found something that can help you feel like you again. It gives me hope that I might be able to find “me” again as well.

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