The Dress Is Just One Yes

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Anyone who knows their salt about weddings or wedding planning has probably heard of the show Say Yes to the Dress, where brides try and choose their bridal gown(s) in a rather staged elaboration of the shopping experience with a host of naysayers to, let’s be real, up the drama. It wouldn’t be a tv show without it. This show has recently spawned its UK version.

Yet another show in a line of wedding shows where people stress over the most unrealistic of things. But that’s only my opinion.

Just sometimes, despite the ‘fun’ of drama (I’ll admit that it’s nice to have a low-attention programme to watch after a hard day’s work), it would be nice to see a wedding tv programme that follows the real life ups and downs of trying to get married. Like finding out a cutesy venue is booked all Saturdays of the following year, and even into the next and next. Where you might have to change plans to a Friday or start the whole process over. Or that the bright white of tablecloths that everybody includes in their packages are just not the right ‘feel’ you’re going for, but you don’t know how to remedy.

It’s the starting with a blank slate and commercialism’s grubby hands that are what getting married entails.

I think most brides or pre-brides aren’t aware that finding the dress is almost the simplest part of planning a wedding. Sure, each of us is in our own way fussy, but even the fussiest of brides can find her perfect dress. It’s between her and her tailor(s) and very few people else.

Everything else, on the other hand… That’s the thing with weddings: they happen almost every day of the year, and venues cannot be everywhere at once, particularly those who have to be on site on the day of the wedding, like dressers or photographers. With more and more couples choosing to prolong their engagement, they’re looking at – and, more importantly, booking – their venue on dates memorable to them or seasons suitable for jobs and family more than 18 months in advance. And this leaves those who choose to keep their engagement to a more traditional length of a year or so out high and dry, so to speak.

That is, of course, only one element of the process. When one factors in the mere nature of a wedding – family-oriented, social, an ‘event’ – a whole host of other issues arise that involve other people: food, transport, entertainment, not to even mention the jewellery, outfits, paperwork. All the paperwork. In comparison, saying yes to the dress is but a miniscule element of a wedding.

Sure, the stereotypical images of young girls is that they fantasise about their wedding day (not me – I fantasised about filming music videos and photoshoots) and it’s the type of fantasy that involves a white dress (despite most gowns sold actually being ivory in hue) and a veil. But, as we ‘grow up’, we understand, or should do, that this is not the case. I’m sure that most engaged couples wedding fantasies are not of their lawful union but of getting the venue contract signed ASAP so that they can speak to vendors without being patronised that they’ve not booked anything yet.

Like the wedding itself, the dress is just the beginning.

Call me a cynic, but there’s so much more to a wedding than a dress – and it’s the things that really tie the day together and bring families into each other’s lives that we should be concentrating on when we think wedding. And when we film wedding.

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