Dear ESB: I’m torn about the dress

Categories   Wedding Fashion

ESB is back again, ladies. Yay. We missed her last week.

Dearest esb,

I’m torn about the dress. I was ALL over the place with what I wanted, and thought I’d land with something more offbeat than the usual long white gown, probably short-ish (my ‘maids are planning on buying me a killer pair of heels, so of course shorter would be great to show them off), possibly vintage. I never thought I’d be buying a gown from a bridal boutique. BUT I thought I’d found the one when I tried on a Marchesa sample- not what I was expecting necessarily, but STUNNING, and I fell in love. Without considering all the wedding day factors, like lots of other brides fault on too, I bought it.

This dress weighs approximately 20 pounds, and is layer upon layer of material, AKA thick as hell. It’s a total ball gown, basically, and I’m starting to freak- I’m getting married in southern California, in July, in a backyard (mind you this isn’t going to be a small picnic-y backyard wedding. It’ll be a big, not too casual party, but a backyard no less). Am I fully crazy for wearing a dress of that, er, caliber in July? I feel like it’s totally impractical. I might be sweating my ass off, and I wouldn’t call it the most mobile dress either for dancing or walking for that matter, especially on grass and around a pool. I don’t doubt I could sell it and find something amazing that’s more apt, and that I could love just as much,* if not more- but a few of my girls seem to disagree. They think “it’s MARCHESA, it’ll be worth it to make it work.” I know I have to go with what works for me because it’s my wedding, my dress, but now I feel blinded as to if selling it’s the right decision or not. My friends are making me question my judgement. HALP!


-Fellow east side bride.

*for ME, the whole dress thing being “oh it’s the ONE” is bullsh*t. I’m sure there are several dresses in this world I would love to wear on my wedding day. Perhaps I just answered my own question, but I would love your advice, and the advice of your readers. Don’t rip me apart, please. Thx.


Go try on some more dresses. Either you’ll find a new one, or you’ll realize you love the ONE you’ve got. Win-win.

(Image via Laurel Thompson via yay!everyday)

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100layercake on Dec 1, 2010

We'll start the comments out with this one. IT'S MARCHESA!!! Pls post photo so we can see and properly evaluate the situation. We would probably suffer through most anything to wear an M to even just a fancy party. Just saying.

Sarah on Dec 1, 2010

I'm with ESB on this one. Go try on more dresses! At least grab something short to change into when you've had three glasses of champagne, it's a hundred degrees out and you want to dance/jump in the pool.

Melissa at Fresh In Love Photography on Dec 1, 2010

I ditto the second dress idea! I know a bunch of brides that do that. Wear the dress of your dreams for photos and ceremony...then change before the 'grand entrance' or sometime like you can spend the meal and dancing nice and cool and comfortable. Thats a Win-Win situation in my eyes :)

celia on Dec 1, 2010

yes, try on more dresses. you might find that your feelings are spot on, or you might realize that it really is the right dress for you. it's really an impossible choice to make unless you actually see the other options on you. but seriously, DON'T feel pressured into wearing the dress just because it's designer. a bride that is uncomfortable and unhappy with the dress she chose is not going to look amazing just because it's MARCHESA.

jamie on Dec 1, 2010

oh the dress doubts, boy do i know them well. yeah try a few more on. and in this case, i am not against having a little number to change into. not like "scene" it's reception time, CHANGE, but if you ARE having a hard time dancing, if you are sweating balls, well then.... and, my dress was not what i had in mind but it was PERFECT, but that didn't mean i didn't doubt it till the cows came home. trying on others helped, cause i never found one i liked more, so.

Jessica on Dec 1, 2010

i am not a fan of the second dress idea, because to me, if you really lovelovelove your dress, why would you want to take it off? i'm with esb, try more on. i had second thoughts about my dress (due to a friends not so nice comment about one teeny detail of it-seriously, the ONLY acceptable response to a friend showing you her wedding dress is that you love it. period.), went and tried on a few more and re-fell in love with the one i already had (and told that friend to eff off). oh and ps that thing had to be literally ripped from my bod that night because i was so sad to take it off.

kathleen on Dec 1, 2010

ESB is right -- at least go looking and see if indeed there is another dress out there that you think fits the occasion and the day better, since you're not of the dress-soulmate school of thought. If you can't get the gorgeous-but-impractical Marchesa out of your head after some more searching, stick with it. good luck!

Lizzie [Ten Thou Bride] on Dec 1, 2010

Excellent! Couldn't agree more...try on more'll answer your own question!

Robin on Dec 1, 2010

SELL THE DRESS. I was in an incredibly similar situation - I got a great deal on a stunning Lela Rose dress that weighed at least 20 lbs (lots and lots of twice embroidered lace and a train). I had hated dress shopping with such a passion and wanted to be done. So I bought it (even though it wasn't what I had imagined I would wear) hung it in my closet and began to have SERIOUS doubts about whether it was really practical for an August wedding in a 3 level space with a lot of stairs. I'll admit that I was a little attached to the brand name and it colored my thinking. But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to wear it. Despite protests from my bridesmaids and parents, I ended up selling it (for about what I paid for it, natch) and it was one of the best decisions I made. You want to be comfortable on your wedding day. It's a long day, you'll be outdoors, you will sweat and you'll be having your picture taken all day. Don't stack the deck against yourself for the sake of wearing a brand.

ting on Dec 1, 2010

my vote is to definitely try on more dresses! plus, you (most likely) wont' have the opportunity to try on wedding dresses after you're married, so take advantage now! i had a similar situation where i found 2 dresses i really love and instead of wearing 2 dresses at the wedding, i'm taking pictures in the one i feel is less appropriate for the wedding & wearing the other! that way i have photos in both and get to use both :) i'm planning on pre-selling them both so that way its not ridiculous cost-wise. at the end of the day, its your wedding. you're the bride! even if the dress is a little over the top, no one is going to fault you because you love your dress. there will never be another time when you have the opportunity to wear and over the top dress and get away with it :) might as well take advantage! best of luck!

cevd on Dec 1, 2010

might as well try other dresses on ... and it might be fun, without all of the stress, you know, because you might already have a dress for the wedding.

irisira on Dec 1, 2010

My hubby and my mom wanted me in something more "traditional", so I went with that, and it looked great and was very lovely, etc. However I really wish I had gone with cocktail length. Mom was buying, and in the end it is just an effing dress. One thing I did (or rather, didn't want was a dress with no train, and I got talked into a sweep train with a French bustle. Well, the lady borked the bustle and the train dragged all night. Thank God I didn't go with the semi-cathedral train! Anyway, get the dress you'll be comfortable in, and sell this one. Go with your gut.

annawithlove on Dec 1, 2010

paper bag princess! love it! xo

CC on Dec 1, 2010

Can you customize the dress at all to make it less layery? Just because it's Marchessa doesn't mean it's beyond improvement! Wouldn't it be super if you could make some of those layers removable for the reception? Same dress, but lighter, shorter, etc?

Asiya on Dec 1, 2010

The thing matter how pretty it looks on you, you probably won't FEEL pretty when your sweating all over the joint, especially if you are looking forward to a lot a of dancing. You probably will find something you like as much if you try on more stuff, especially because you are already having doubts, And because it's Marchesa, resale shouldn't be that tough.

Heather on Dec 1, 2010

With a degree in communications and a background in news writing, I love the concept, but not a big fan of the execution.

Tonia on Dec 1, 2010

Marchesa who? Don't be blinded by a name brand. Your wedding dress should be an extension of your inner beauty. It should tell a story about your personality, complimenting the features you like best about yourself. When a dress does this, you get the "glow" that brides talk about because the dress is enhancing you, not distracting from you. The name brand has NOTHING to do with whethor or not a dress is right for you. If this Marchesa dress is making you hot and uncomfortable all day, your wedding glow will be snuffed out. Get out there and find yourself a dress that won't drag you down!!

Kat on Dec 1, 2010

Shop more. Can't lose. I wasn't floored by my dress, to be perfectly honest. It was the first one that fit well and I hated shopping. But at the end if the day, we were married, which is all that matters!

Olivia on Dec 1, 2010

I got married in the southern California desert in late May. I had a pretty substantial dress and did worry that I would be too hot. It turned out to be a freak cold day in a week of heat, with hail no less, so I was fine (cold, actually!). Anyway, since that's not exactly likely to happen to you, I'd consider your own tolerance for being too hot. If you're going to be miserable, I'd look for another dress. If you think you can bear it and you love the dress, keep it!

Erlinda Denise on Dec 1, 2010

Oh my the dress issue! I agree with all those who say keep on trying.... I bought my first dress off Esty... I thought ugh to traditional I want vintage and different! The lovely piece of work doesn't even fit ... after going to an Alfred A. sample sale and falling in love with a *gasp* traditional dress I REALLY didn't know what to do .. so I bought it and now I am try to sale my lovely etsy find. People wondered why I kept trying on after I bought my first dress... it was this same very issue.... doubt is a brides enemy! Good luck my love!!!!

Julie McCabe on Dec 2, 2010

1. Don't rule out the dress just because you're worried about how traditional the look is. You can always pull in the non-traditional with accessories and makeup. 2. Trying on more dresses is a good idea only if it's yours (sounds like it is, but just double check and make sure the doubts aren't coming from an outside source.) 3. I am with CC. If the weight and heat is coming from tons of layers of tulle crinoline, have those layers removed (once you've decided to keep the dress of course, so you don't sully the resale value). If you do that and regret it, you can always have them sewn back in (lace layers are a trickier story, of course). If you're of the opinion that a wedding dress is sacred, I argue that it's only sacred in the state that makes you happiest, so if you want it short, chop the hem. Whatever you decide, labels don't matter. Unless you're wearing the dress inside out.

Kristin on Dec 2, 2010

I don't know who ESB is, but that was the WORST advice ever to a heartfelt and clearly very concerned bride!!!!!!!!!! I can't even believe that was on this blog! I guess the point was for readers' feedback?! Hopefully because all these comments are wonderful and real and show the thought and that this bride deserves!! (I mean, a two sentence response.. Really!?) 'Fellow ESB'- For my wedding this past August, I purchased my dress after getting caught up in the moment with family and my maids. I ended up hating the dress and luckly the store let me 're-select' a new dress. I love LOVED my 2nd dress. It was perfect and I'm sure also that there were plenty of other dresses out there that I could have loved as much/more as well (I too am not a believer in 'the one and only' for a dress!!) but going back to re-select was the best choice I ever made. Looking back, I would have been miserable in the 1st dress. So, my point is if you're feeling this way just because you think it may be too heavy of a dress for Summer outside I'd say don't worry about that!! Just bc it's a ballgown doesn't mean it's not right for *your* wedding if it's truly what you love. But , if you're feeling like it's not the right dress for other reasons, then it probably isn't. If that's the case, it is definitely worth it to sell and re-purchase a new one. You don't want to look back on your day or your pictures and regret your choice not to switch it. Good luck :) Hopefull we'll hear how it turns out for you!!

Katey on Dec 2, 2010

But the 2 sentences were succinct; very good advice indeed. Either you wear it or don't, only you can know if this is the right decision - trying on more dresses makes this decision easier. I dont see the problem with advice that's short, sharp and to the point! Good luck FESB! :D

Eli on Dec 2, 2010

Do you want to wear the dress because it's Marchesa? it sounds like that's not the case, it's that you totally love the dress and your concern is practicality and maybe appropriateness for the setting. Unless you feel that the dress throws off the style of the wedding (and why should it? You can design the wedding to showcase the dress!), your main concern is that it's a BIG dress. So buy something adorable, simple, and off-the-rack for the dancing and you get best of both worlds.

Dominique on Dec 2, 2010

Thank you ESB and everyone for the advice! This was a real toughie that I had mulled over for a while. Eli was right- it wasn't the label name hanging me up. It is Marchesa of course, but Marchesa or not, I think this dress itself is pretty effing spectacular. Just not for me on my wedding day! Just in the last week or so, our wedding budget got cut, and I'm now selling the dress to put the $ back into the wedding pot. It's all for the best, and although I'm a little sad, I truly think this is whats meant to be. Below is the link to my Ebay listing of the dress that ends tomorrow morning. In case it doesn't sell on Ebay, it's going up on the 100 layer Cake marketplace tomorrow afternoon! If you know of anyone in the market for a killer dress, pass the word along. Thanks again everyone :) Ebay link:

Sabina on Dec 3, 2010

I wish I had the courage to wear such a dress

L on Dec 3, 2010

Good for you, Dominique! Yes, it is an unbelievable dress, but way to stick to your guns. I admire your attention to practicality (sometimes lost...or at least the wedding blogosphere). Ultimately, your decision is the right one for you. Cheers to you, your intended :-), and the love that you and yours will celebrate -- regardless of what you're wearing. We're in the last few weeks leading up to our wedding at the end of this month, so I need to remember what most matters, too :-)

thebarmaiden on Dec 6, 2010

Oh, it's a pretty dress, and I'm sure you were sad to see it go, but I just know that you'll find another one that really is the dress and fits in the budget and you'll look amazing in it. Good luck!

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