The Bride Wore Black: Whack Wedding Gowns

29 Apr
Bridesmaids--or slutty looking idiots? You decide.

Bridesmaids–or slutty looking idiots? You decide.

I was a child bride, married so long ago I don’t even retain memories of the event.  After a few decades my peers caught up and started pairing off and I’ve been very lucky. I’ve never had to endure spending a bajillion dollars on some funky bridesmaid’s dress with shoes dyed to match.  Which is not to say I haven’t been tormented by being in weddings, because, oh I have.  For all three weddings I’ve been a bridesmaid-ish-sort-of-thing in I’ll admit it, I totally choked under pressure when it came down to what to wear.

In one wedding (to a friend-who-was-as-close-as-a-sister) the entire enormous wedding party was told to wear whatever they wanted as long as it was black.  Yes, black.  Hmmmm.

Wedding? Or extra fancy funeral--you decide.

Wedding? Or extra fancy funeral–you decide.

(I started wondering if I could somehow back out, but given that I’d missed her first wedding…).  So I had a seamstress copy a mauve sheath dress that I loved in black.  Only she convinced me to use this totally cool fabric that was made of some special fancy silk, but somehow managed to look a) horrible on me and b) like cheap polyester when the dress was done.  There was that funny look I got from the bride when she first saw me, but the day was about her, not me, so we pushed past it, and I ducked the cameras as much as I could.

No I did not dip my arms in a pool of black paint.

No I did not dip my arms in a pool of black paint.

With my sister’s wedding I was told to wear something champagne.  So I found a champagne pant suit.  Now, I’ve never worn a pant suit in my life, but I wore it with nylons and no undies to make sure all was smooth, if you know what I mean. The only problem was the photos.  Standing there under blazing lights I started remembering a friend’s telling me about her experience on stage where pictures taken of her in costume under super bright lights had made her cat suit costume transparent in the photos–revealing her nipples and pubic hair.  Quelle horror! What if the combo of light weight, light colored pantsuit, bright lights and no undies…ruined my sister’s wedding photos.

I could marry him, or I could bite his head off  and slurp his brains out.

I could marry him, or I could bite his head off and slurp his brains out.

I started standing like Miss U.S.A. with one leg forward, hips turned to the side, torso straight on.  Oh, and with my champagne clutch poised in my hand over my crotch.  The photographer bustled up to straighten everyone out.  He took away my clutch, turned my body, tapped my leg to get it even with the other…but by the time he got back to the camera and looked through the viewfinder I had turned again, my foot was out, and my arm was gracefully hanging like it was broken or something so it happened to dangle right over my crotch…You get the idea. I was relentless. That poor man.

The third wedding was my sister-in-law’s — we got to wear whatever we wanted.  I found a super cute tangerine pink plaid dress made of raw silk on sale for $20.00. (Silk again–will I ever learn!) Of course, during the outdoor summer wedding I got massive sweat stains under the arms while reading a poem for the ceremony.   I learned another lesson.  Blurring sweaty dark stains in photoshop fools no one but yourself.

This one is my fav.

This one is my fav.

Given how hard it is for most women to wear white on her special day, don’t you think that Vera Wang is kinda onto something coming up with black wedding dresses? I mean, it’s sorta crazy, yes, but on the other hand, it probably allows that special bride to feel very bad ass.  Because face it people, some brides just are bad ass.

And Vera doesn’t stop at black.  She’s got a wonderful color of f*** me red too.  Or–ahem–champagne.  Do you think that she was facing another season of wedding dresses and had some kind of nervous fit?  “Agh! My God–all that white! I can’t take it anymore!!!!”



Her collection still won’t save you from a funky bridesmaid dress experience, but it’ll add an edge to the proceedings for sure.

For some people–with their snark-o-friends, their exes, and complicated lives full of schadenfreude–a black dress makes the perfect statement of bouquet chewing bridezilla-esque angst and fury.  But black minimizes all those bulges and bumps, so it doesn’t matter if the bride looks like Theresa Russell in Black Widow, Vera’s bride who wore black is sure to become the Next Big Thing.

Here are a few more photos. I can’t help myself, I am as always —

Jaclyn--is she in mourning for her life?

Is she in mourning for her life? Because that’s a LOT of kids!

obsessed with all things wedding & unnatural.  My first romance manuscript is about a bridezilla who experiences humiliating wedding fail then runs off to Paris with a hot wedding guest and winds up finding true love.  At her wedding she can’t stop thinking about her family–killed in a sick tragedy, she mourns them.  I don’t think she’d ever wear a black wedding dress–but given where her heart’s at, it would be an expressive statement of her true feelings on her Big Day.

Meanwhile, below are the red and champagne wedding dresses.  Delish!RedChampagne

13 Responses to “The Bride Wore Black: Whack Wedding Gowns”

  1. Jessi Gage April 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    The red one reminds me of Delia’s dress in Beetlejuice. *Shivers* I’m glad I wore white for my wedding, but I wouldn’t forbid my daughter from doing something different as long as she is true to herself.

    Fun post!


    • madelineiva April 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Oh, YES–Beetlejuice–that was a truly excellent Goth dress for sure.


  2. LizEverly April 29, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Wearing white on the wedding day is a relatively new thing. My grandmother wore aqua lace when she was married in the late1930s. Very pretty. She told me that very few of the women she knew then wore white. It wasn’t the thing to do. By the time my mom married in 1962, it was. Fun post, Madeline!


  3. Elizabeth Shore April 29, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    Oh Madeline, you do make me laugh! Very funny and enjoyable post. I haven’t been in a wedding for years, thankfully. The last one was for someone with whom I wasn’t even that close. Odd that she asked me, but her wedding was actually fun, especially the smoking-cigars-after-the-ceremony part. I’m also glad I haven’t had to fork over the cash for a destination wedding and then be stuck wearing a flouncy sea foam green bridesmaid dress!


    • madelineiva April 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      Destination wedding — I’m always so torn by hearing someone’s getting married. I’m really happy for them, but then again it’s like cha-ching! Where are we going to get the money to be a part of all this!


  4. madelineiva April 29, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Wow Kemberlee, I would have LOVED to see your bridesmaid dress cum pirate wench outfit! How creative you are, and I can hear in your tone the way you were stoic and just sucked it up for your friend’s wedding despite her mis-matched fashion flair.

    I agree with you that most brides have lost the plot for a wedding. Yet I’m all sympathy for folks, because let’s face it–for a lot of people their wedding is one of the few times where they’re in a spot light before a crowd, and it can make people darn nervous.

    Most weddings have become therefore, about going as how you want to be seen– and not going as who you really are. I see it as a day that’s about accepting and reflecting the love and support all around you–but sadly, many people come to weddings ready to judge and defensive against being judged.

    As much as I make fun–I don’t really have a problem with leaving white behind, myself. But I think you’re on to something that black wedding dresses are inspired by the goth scene. I’m in sympathy with what you indicate–that it’s okay to celebrate a certain kind of tone and not obsess over being so swank and trendy.

    I love the j.crew bridesmaid dresses that are so simple and affordable (even if they are made for bust-less twenty-somethings.) Simple elegance is not everybody’s cup of tea, but yes, I share that sensibility with you 100%.


    • Kemberlee Shortland April 29, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      I have a wedding picture if you want to see it. I think it was 1982/83. Sadly, not the Halloween costume that came after, though I do still have the corset thing. The dress is long gone. Passed off to another pirate wench 😉

      Funny what time does to your head. Back then, we all thought we looked great in those dresses. LOL

      I agree with you. Wedding day means the bride and her entourage are on show. That can be very daunting. Then you have the mother’s getting involved, sisters and BFFs, then the wedding planner and whoever else. It’s not really the bride’s day at all in that context. And all the stress!

      We had two full-on weddings, two weeks apart, two countries. Madness but we did it. My sister was an event planner then and organized the meal for one of the weddings, tables, cake etc. But I did the bulk of the rest on my own.

      The first wedding could have turned out a nightmare. I just barely pulled it together after the mother in law stepped out of the picture. She begged and badgered me for weeks to let her organize everything. At the time, neither of her daughters looked to ever getting married so I was it. I finally relented to get some peace, then never heard a word. Three months before the date we’d chosen I asked my MIL what was going on. She never once asked me questions or got me involved and I was dying with curiosity, and panic. She tells me, “I’m not planning anything. I just wanted to see how long it would take before you gave in and let me do it.” o_O It all turned out well though in the end, but the relationship there was severely branded as untrustworthy.

      The second wedding was awesome, but don’t get me started on the honeymoon. The inlaws followed us to the second wedding and I was tour guide on my honeymoon!

      So, no dress, nothing formal, all rushed, but it was mostly good. That was nearly 14 years ago. I still have part of my outfit though. I wore a butter yellow and gold pantsuit which was pieced together. I wanted the skirt that went with the jacket but they were sold out of my size. I still have the jacket. Really cool garment, kind of gold on gold brocade. Just wish it still fit! 😉


      • madelineiva April 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

        OMG. Yes, the gifts you get out of a wedding are very special – though not always pleasant! We had in-laws that said yes and amen to everything. But that turned out to be because they really just couldn’t look ahead very far and imagine how it would all go. They started hitting the panic button about two weeks before the wedding. Oy. Talk about unneeded stress. But now I know–they’re not big time planners.


  5. Kemberlee Shortland April 29, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    I think there’s a big difference between bridal gowns and bride’s maids outfits. Agreed that bride’s maids often look out of place compared to the bride, with horrid colors and designs. I was a bride’s made in a friend’s wedding once. Lovely color of burgundy, but the dress was faux medieval to the bride’s 1940s inspired bridal gown. I ended up wearing the dress once more for Halloween a couple years later, going as a sort of medieval pirate wench. Just needed a pair of fishnets and a corset of sorts, and bangles and such. But the color and style were perfect for that. Not so much a wedding.

    I also think today’s brides have sort of lost the plot for weddings. Yes, it’s ‘their day’ but it’s gone really over the top. There should be a sense of elegance for the entire wedding party. Those pictures will last forever. While doing a Goth theme might be fun because Goth is ‘in’, think about what your grandkids are going to say when they see grandma in black, looking like the walking dead.

    Everyone has their own thing, but sometimes what’s on the catwalk isn’t necessarily suitable for real life.

    And today’s dresses aren’t meant for that wild night of partying after the ceremony. Neither are bride’s maids outfits.

    Where what you want is very irresponsible, for a formal wedding. Maybe OK for a courthouse wedding, but not really for formal. By giving your bride’s maids carte blanche to wear what they want, you risk all sorts of personalities and dress sense in your wedding day photos . . . miniskirts that leave nothing to the imagination, boob tubes, and all sorts.

    My cousin is dating a designer (Mark Zunino) whose wedding gowns are stunningly elegant. His bride’s maid dresses compliment the bride’s gown perfectly. Nothing loud and explosive, no meringues. Just simple elegance.


    • cmkempe April 29, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      I wore a black lace gown for my Halloween wedding! No regrets and if I had grandkids, they’d say the same thing everybody said that day: “This is the most fun wedding ever!”


      • Kemberlee Shortland April 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

        A Halloween wedding sounds like fun. I just think it’s weird having a black dress any other time. Though . . . if I ever got married again and was going to do a trad wedding, I could totally rock an aubergine outfit 😉


      • madelineiva April 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        That reminds me, my grandmother wore a black dress with a boat neck and an orchid corsage when she got married–but I think she eloped… not as cool as a holloween wedding–that is a FAB idea!


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