David Tutera has done it multiple times on his show My Fair Wedding. Chelsea Clinton did it too! But, earlier this month, when Kate Middleton donned two separate wedding dresses (one for the ceremony and one for the reception) it officially became a wedding trend! And, there’s nothing to stop a Modern Jewish Woman from adopting the trend t00.
Although, when this Modern Jewish bride chose to change dresses following her ceremony, it wasn’t to be trendy. It was for because of her mother! Full disclosure—the bride in question is me!
I love Cinderella! I was raised on her. To this day I am a casualty of the fairy tale! I spent all of my twenties and some of my thirties on a search for Prince Charming to “Get Married and Live Happily Ever After.”
As a part of this search I joined the Dallas Jewish Federation on a singles mission to Israel. My mission (and everyone else’s on the tour) was to find my Beshert; or at least have a meaningful fling. The tour guide on our bus was a beautiful, albeit sexist, Israeli man. He gave the boys on our bus the following advice regarding selecting their respective female companions, “A woman will never be as beautiful as she is on her wedding day. On that day she will be thinner, have no stretch marks, no wrinkles and her hair & make up will be done. After that it is all down hill!” Carrying those comments around with me for the past 15 years and being raised on Cinderella is it any wonder finding the right wedding dress was number one on my list when it was finally my turn to be the blushing bride. Looking back with the 20/20 vision that is hindsight—no dress would ever have been able to withstand the pressure.
Finding a dress, which both my mom and best friend found acceptable, I quit looking, ordered the dress and moved on. It wasn’t until buying the undergarments that my dress ambivalence was born! At the exact moment when my Mom said, “You’ve gained weight since we bought your dress. It isn’t going to fit!” Did I mention this was pre-first fitting?
Hindsight again! I should have let sleeping comments lie. Thinking I would elicit an apology I initiated a debrief of the incident the next day, as it turns out, in front of my unsympathetic father. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but, I remember what my takeaway was, “You look fat in your wedding dress!”
Despite the fact that I still had a full three months prior to my wedding — plenty of time to get alterations, continue with my workouts and do whatever else was necessary to be the stunning bride every woman is meant to be–I didn’t want to have anything to do with the dress. It went from being my dream dress to being my childhood nightmare in a mere 30 seconds!
That was when I enlisted wedding planner extraordinaire Amy (AKA Fairy Godmother) in the multi-pronged approach to “Being the most beautiful I would ever be on my wedding day.” First, get a fill in my lapband. So, what if I would be sick for the next three months, probably not be able to eat at any of my bridal showers or even my tasting, I would be able to quickly lose 10 lbs! Second, maintain agonizing personal training sessions with Ross once a week for upper body sculpting to get rid of underarm fat. Third a series of six Zerona treatments. And, finally finding another dress.
One without the emotional baggage. One I would be happy to look at myself in the wedding pictures 10 years later. One I would not remember how in a moment I was transported back to feeling like the fat girl (a la Cannie from Good in Bad) the only woman on my Israel singles mission who failed in her real mission!
The irony now is that in my bridal portrait (which has a picture of me in each dress) hanging on my parent’s wall I look remarkably like I do in the high school senior portrait displayed right next to it!
Is there a moral to the story? Well, for one, ignore all Israeli misogynistic tour guides. Also, we don’t need fairy godmothers! As Jews we learn we are all created in the image of God with a spark of divine within each of us. Therefore, a wife is always as beautiful to her husband as on their wedding day.
And, the good news, I love my reception dress! I love how I feel about myself when I look at my photo album and all the pictures. Because ultimately it just didn’t matter!