January 24, 2011

The Colour White

Wedding dress shopping.  Fun, right?  Store after store, dress after dress, styles and shades and appliqués.  It's horrific.  I knew it would be, though, so I wasn't terribly disappointed.  Some girls love to shop, they love playing dress-up.  These girls are probably the same ones who know exactly what kind of dress they want, down to the last detail, and are bubbling over with excitement to hunt it down.  I'm not a shopper, never was.  The very idea of going into a mall gives me the shivers - all those people milling around and dozens of stores who want to get into my pocketbook.

The worst part of shopping is that I am the pickiest person on the planet, as well as the most indecisive.  Either I know exactly what I want (which means I have absolutely no chance of actually finding something satisfactory), or I have only a vague image of what I want (which means I have absolutely no chance of actually finding something satisfactory).  As I have mentioned before, I was not one of those little girls who dreamed about her wedding, which has left me with almost no clue about the kind of dress I want.  I know I want glamour that's not overly busy, but that's not much of a description.  Especially since almost every consultant in every bridal shop everywhere describes pretty much all of their stock that way.  And after I've finally found my dress, I'll have to pick the colour.

Say what?

No joke.  As it turns out, wedding gowns aren't white.  Usually.  They are off-white, oyster, diamond white, ivory, champagne, bright white, natural white, insert-generic-pretty-sounding-word-here white.  Sure, you can get regular white if you want it, but (from what I've seen on various wedding blogs and forums), women rarely do.  Now, I have nothing against the various shades of white, or even the fact that there are names for them (even though they all look pretty much the same).  And I'm certainly not suggesting that plain old white be the only option for dresses; I'll probably wear an off-white or ivory myself.  But I do take issue with other people taking issue with the "colour" of a dress.

I saw an episode of a reality wedding show where the bride set out to buy herself a white dress and fell in love with an ivory dress.  She hemmed and hawed and dragged her feet and wrung her hands about how she felt about not wearing white.  Seriously.  She eventually bought the dress, showed it to her mother, who then also spent quite a bit of time coming to terms with the fact that the dress was not white.  I have also seen a similar debate on some of the above-mentioned online forums.

This is one of those (many) situations where I have to bite my tongue, lest my blunt, no-nonsense inner devil escape.  These are times when I wish I could reach through the screen and violently shake people.  White is white.  Nobody is going to care (if they even notice) that the price tag on your dress said "ivory" instead of "white".  Because ivory is a shade of white.  In photos, they both look white.  Is this really something you need to stress yourself about?  Are you doing something wrong somehow by wearing a dress that isn't the brightest possible white?

Historically, people didn't wear white.  They wore the best dress they could, in luxurious fabrics and colours, such as red and even black.  The colour of purity (and virginity) was blue, not white.  This "tradition" came into being when Queen Victoria wore a white dress and people scrambled to copy her, just the same as any fad accidentally started by a celebrity today.  170 years later, white is the way it's done, and apparently ivory just won't do.  Who made this decision?  And why were they allowed to insist that only one particular hue out of a large spectrum of colours is "appropriate" wedding attire?  It's ludicrous. My fiancé told me today that he'd actually prefer me to wear something more Victorian. We picked a favourite out of a magazine and I've been calling around for a store who carries it. It's black.

If I've learned anything during this process, it's that brides need LESS to stress about, not MORE.  Fewer details, that's the ticket.  Caring what colour your dress is is the absolute pinnacle of typical bridal overkill, micromanagement, and creating issues to fuss over where none exist.  Back away from the craziness.  Get whatever shade suits you and your vision, and call it white. Hell, wear red. Be happy.


  1. This post makes me laugh--I completely agree with you. I almost bought a "gold" dress and people were like OMFG it's not white!?!?! Um, who the hell cares?

  2. Oh lord, this post is one of my favourites. I wrote it forever ago but didn't think it was right to post it until I had actually seen a wedding dress. I don't get how crazy people get about this shit: "My mother/aunt/religious leader is so upset that my dress isn't white. It's diamond white." Are you fucking serious?

  3. awwww. i heart this post. I am DEF one of those brides who loves to shop and LOVED the wedding dress process.I was born knowing the difference between ivory and white. That being said, I love this post. It's hilarious and I can definitely feel for you...