As we come upon the one-year anniversary of our wedding, I realize I never shared the story of “The Dress”.
I made my wedding dress from scratch. Deep in my bones, I knew I had to. I had to explore whether I was courageous enough to disregard my internal and external critics, and strong enough to live up to the emotional weight of the task.
Ultimately, I wanted to take my creativity to the next level. They say your wedding dress is the ‘most important dress you will ever wear’. What a grand challenge!
I love the meaning of confidence- to confide in oneself.
Many brides stress about the dress because they want it to be an outer expression of their inner radiance. I knew I would never find a dress in a store that I felt “matched” me. Therefore I knew I had to make it. Yet I wasn’t confident I could design one that matched me either. At least I had to try. If it meant I was walking down the isle with a bed sheet wrapped around me because I failed, so be it! The PROCESS was more important than the outcome.
I’m not a master seamstress by any means. I mostly taught myself to sew with advice from here and there. A formal gown is the top of the top in regards to technique and skill. I felt I was fairly competent and could learn what I didn’t know as I went along.
Throughout the entire process I had this voice in the back of my head: This creative experiment will be the one that lives on in framed photographs throughout my family history, so it better be good! Which made decision-making all the more difficult. The pressure was on, but great stakes can evoke great art!
I can become pretty deflated by criticism, and I have a lot of critics around me (both internal and external). I took this opportunity to learn to power through those voices of disapproval. My mom was supportive, but anxious about my decision. She saw what could snowball and speaks from experience (in which she’s usually right). My mother encouraged me to get a back-up dress. At first I was disappointed and thought, “Why doesn’t she have confidence in my abilities?”
“If you have a Plan B, you’ll go with Plan B.” – Zach Galifianakis
But I realized my mom is usually there to bail me out of crazy challenges. I decided to charge forward with no safety back-up dress. Meanwhile, my mom designed and sewed my husband Jefe’s vest.
I came to understand she was just trying to look out for me and our relationship transformed positively thru the process. I proved to her how competent I was as I morphed from a little girl into an accomplished, confident woman.
There were other challenges along the way, like learning how to make a trumpet figure and train. The fabric I used for the train would flip up and stick to itself like Velcro. Days before the wedding I tried to sew little weights every five inches along the hem. It still didn’t work and I just accepted it as is. Overall, it didn’t actually matter. The important thing about a wedding is in fact, not the dress, but the people coming together to celebrate a union.
The dress making process was an awakening of my creative identity coupled with my metamorphosis into becoming a married woman. In spite of the emotional weight of making the gown, the difficulty learning advanced sewing skills, powering through my own fears and that of my critics, I found the process liberating. The whole experience was rewarding and fulfilled all my expectations. It was exactly what I intended….PERFECT!
The Final Dress