I'm a participant in the Blogher Book Club's discussion of The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow. I have been compensated for this review, but all thoughts and opinions expressed are all mine.
Despite telling myself it doesn't matter, over the course of time, I still find myself feeling like I missed out when I got married.
We had a very short engagement time - 16 days. Don't ask me why, because I really have no earthly idea. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. We were definitely in love and couldn't imagine not being together, so why wait for a long, drawn out engagement? (He wanted me to say that he was a good catch, but that makes me sound as if I was out hunting for a groom and grabbed whatever I thought was the best choice. Which is not what happened. I wasn't looking to get married. Wasn't searching for someone to "rescue" me. But I fell in love with a good guy.)
In the back of my mind, I thought I had always wanted a long, white fluffy wedding dress, the ubiquitous "bride" dress, but getting married in the living room of the Justice of the Peace with two weeks notice meant that that type of dress was much too fancy and wasn't going to happen.
And so I looked through the JCPenney's catalog for bride dresses, found the one that fit my budget - less than $100 - and ordered it. Three days later, I went and picked it up. Tried it on in the fitting room, under the worst lighting possible, and was done with the dress decision.There was no "Magic Room". No one went with me. My mom and sisters had no input, and I really didn't have time - or money - to find a more elaborate dress. This one would have to do.
It wasn't white. It was ivory, with a satiny sheath and a lacy dress overlay. High neck, long sleeves - perfectly pretty, perfectly acceptable - and perfectly bridely - but so not the dress I'd love to pass down to my daughters.
It sits in my closet. Why? I don't know. Maybe from a misguided thought that if you get rid of the dress, the marriage will follow. Which is, in retrospect, probably one of the silliest thoughts I've ever expressed. I'm not a superstitious or sentimental person, but I can't bring myself to donate it.
Maybe one day I'll find a use for it. It's a perfectly pretty dress. Just not a standard, typical, fluffy white marshamallow of a dress. The wearing of the standard wedding dress doesn't "make" the marriage - as if, by wearing that typical bride dress, one can assure herself of marital success. I have a love of the vintage, and while looking through anniversary announcements for couples married 50, 60 or even 70 years, I'm struck, over and over, by the simple wedding attire that they sported. Few were married in fluffy dresses. Most wore simple, practical and yet pretty outfits that they could wear again.
I enjoyed reading the varied stories of brides to be, searching for "the" dress, the one that they were convinced could make their wedding dreams come true. I look forward to sharing these memories with my own daughters - I just hope, when the time comes, I can convince them that the super fancy dress doesn't make the marriage. It might make the wedding, but the husband and wife make the marriage.