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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Wedding Dress Blues

"Marriage requires a person to prepare 4 types of "Rings": Engagement Ring Wedding Ring, Suffering, Enduring" - Unknown

I am getting married in September. When I first got engaged, I was thrilled!

I had a wonderful Christian husband that I was going to spend the rest of my life with, a beautiful ring on my finger and months of planning ahead of me which had already begun when I was oh...about 5 years old.

We had a long engagement since, when we got engaged, we had only been dating about 5months. I still had college to finish, a career to start, etc., so, the real details and the "had-to-be-done's" really didn't come into play as something I needed to do right away. Now, three years later and 6 months away from the big day, I'm finally getting around to really "wanting" to do the wedding "stuff" that every girl who is having any kind of celebration for that day has to do.

Now mind you, my hubby-to-be and I initially wanted a backyard picnic, some good BBQ and an old fashioned hoe-down style day. But, the logistics of rain, elderly and disabled people, location (being our families live 2 hours apart) got the better of us. We are now having a rather large wedding at a glamorous location with 150-200 of our "closest friends" and more food than any given person could probably eat in a week. (Thankfully my parents are paying for most of this :)). vision of what "my day" should be had to change to accommodate everyone else. That's fine. Really. (*grumble, mumble, grimace.*) I grumble not because I'm not thrilled with everything that we are going to have, I'm just less than thrilled with all the "little details" that had to be thrown into the pot to be taken care of. But there was one "minor detail" that could be saved until the last minute (In my mind) that I was really dreading....the wedding dress.

Now you're probably thinking, "Allison, that's the most important part of the day!

That's the image everyone is going to remember! Looking like a princess is fun!"...and I agree with you except for one thing...if you aren't a size're pretty much destined to try on so many gowns that make you look like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghost Busters, or the Michelin Tire guy, or a white Macy's Day Parade balloon, that the thought of eloping and wearing you're comfy clothes while doing so starts to seem pretty reasonable!

I mean, who really wants to stand on a podium surrounded by 360 degrees of mirrors showing every lump and bump and roll that you have...ugh! Now my bridesmaids, that was a different story. I knew the dresses for them the minute I saw them - flowing, figure flattering (high wasted, flowing, breathable fabric) and something they could all wear again. So while visiting David's Bridal yesterday, I walked right over to the dresses I wanted for the girls, in the color I knew I wanted, had them try them on, and...sure enough they were perfect and they were bought and done in no time (under an hour!). So I was done and could move on with my day...or so I thought.

On my way out the door, my mother spotted a dress she and I had been looking at online, but didn't know what it would look like in person. A cream colored (I can't wear white...I'm just too...well...white :)) A-line gown that was very modest and had a sheer organza coat over it, covered in what looks like antique lace detailing that trailed into a train and also had long sleeves - which is good to cover up my bye-bye arms (I call them that because they wave "goodbye" after I do :)). It looked like a formal 1940's style gown - or like something maybe my grandma would have worn. But, for those that know me, I love vintage things - especially ones that are "different", in a classy, retro yet romantic kind of way.

I really didn't want to try it on.

"I don't want to pull my size and see myself so big!" I thought to myself. But, with some coaxing from my girls (and mom), I had the assistant pull what I thought was my size. And after the slip layer, the long-line-boned bra layer, another layer of lining, 3 layers of tulle - and then the dress part and then the coat part...I came out. And...I kid you not, over the sound system, the song that was playing in the operating room where I was born (via-C-section) was playing ("The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack) started playing. It was as if the heavens themselves started singing. My mom was crying...of course...and I just kept my head down...not wanting to look in the mirror. I slowly raised my eyes, then my head, then my posture, and then my smile :)

I didn't look like a marshmallow bride! In fact, the dress was really big on me! (apparently the diet thing is working - yay!). So, with the correct size finally on me, the lady put me on the podium, tossed a veil in my hands, fluffed me all up - and I knew that I knew that I knew, that this was the dress for me! This was it. was on sale! (bonus!)

Gown ordered. Check. Bridesmaid dresses ordered. Check. Favors, ceremony decor, reception situated, honeymoon planned and invitation design picked out (that my fiance is making himself being he's a graphic artist). Check. Reality Check...Check?

After my very productive weekend, I came home and stressed and stressed about weather my hubby to be would like my dress. I mean...this is the dress that he will remember for the rest of his life! What if he hates it!?!?

So I told him and asked him if he would just placate my and tell me if he liked my dress when he saw it, or if he would be honest. He said, "Babe...I don't care if you wear a burlap long as you love me, are faithful to me, and stay focused on what matters...that's what Ill remember. Ill remember our vows...and the food...but most of all...Ill remember your eyes on that day - promising to be mine, and what we'll say to each other. A wedding dress - or a wedding for that matter (meaning the reception and all the bells and whistles) does not a marriage make. That part is up to God and us...not a wedding planner or a dress."

I was thrilled :). I know my hubby to be, and I know he meant those words. And they really made me step back and say, "Why am I so stressed about the whole wedding thing?" Here I was worrying about all the "bells and whistles" of the day - from our registry and what happens if we get duplicate gifts and where we will put our new linens that I know someone will get us, to how my posture should be while walking down the aisle. None of it really matters in the long run.

What matters is:

"Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
(Mark 10:9 - NKJV)

This is a great teaching of what not only marriage - but what marriage is about as well. God has joined men and women together in marriage. It is by His grace and love that He chose to bring that couple together - not the wedding planner, florist, caterer or was God.

Therefore, if we remain focused on the One who brought us together in marriage in the first place, and not let "the world" creep in and pull us apart - we'll be alright! So weddings - marriages - are made beautiful by the Lord and His destiny for that couple - not by the "bells and whistles" of a wedding day - or the paintings on your wall, or the car in your driveway, or the clothes the kids have on or weather or not your nails are done to keep up appearances with the other ladies. It is made beautiful by love - His love in our loves for us, and for our lives together with our husbands - focused squarely on Him and His will for our lives.

So in these tough and sometimes even depressing (and even terrifying) circumstances we are facing in the world today - let us not focus on the bells and whistles of life, but on the God given promise that, if we focus on love on Him, he will sustain us - our marriages, our families, our lives... "What God has joined together (be it marriage, families, etc) let no man separate." - that is what we must focus on...and while doing so, remembering that, while we may not be the magazine bride with the Martha Stewart wedding we dreamed of...we are His bride and we need to be preparing for the return of Him - our heavenly Groom - who loves us and can't wait to welcome us as His bride! (even if we do look like a Macy's Day Parade float...). Behold...The Groom is coming quickly...what a ceremony and reception that will be!!! - with every lavish thing we could dream of...and food to dazzle our minds and taste buds - calorie free! - with our brothers and sisters in Christ...and our dashing, handsome, perfect Groom...I can't wait! Can you? Go get yourself ready for The Bridegroom!!! The time is near for the festivities!

Let us pray...

Lord, so often we get wrapped up in the details of life and become so stressed by the bells and whistles of what we think should be going on in our lives - from big events to daily duties - that we forget to truly surrender all to You and let You sustain us. You are our Bridegroom - and You are already prepared for us, and You are preparing the festivities for us, even now. Help us to be ready brides - ready for Your arrival. Help us not to focus on what we will wear on our bodies as your bride, but what we will be wearing in our hearts on the day You hold us accountable. Help us to walk not by sight, but by faith alone - focused on what matters most - You. Help us to not let man separate what You have joined together. It's in Your Son's name, Jesus Christ, that we pray. Amen.

In Faith,

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am getting married in July and my Fiance and I did not end on a good note last night. Too much wedding planning... me stressing out, him not sympathizing, etc. This morning I woke up and come to the computer, still really bummed about our little fight and read your blog. I couldn't believe what I was reading!! You have no idea how much this has touched me! Thank you!

March 10, 2009 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Amen, I am so very happy for the two of you. I love you.

March 10, 2009 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

I know your day will be perfect! Thanks for sharing. I loved hearing about the planning. It takes me back twelve years to my days and planning and dreaming.

March 10, 2009 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Alison...What a special man you have found. And vice-versa! Many blessings to you both. The two of you already know what are the important things...and what is just 'fluff'.

March 10, 2009 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

This is beautiful and I so enjoyed it. I felt as though I was living my wedding planning~~dress day all over again. Beautiful, May the two of you have a Wonderful, Joyfilled & Blessed time. Congrats!!!! :)

March 11, 2009 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

I love weddings and now that I am a Christian, I really love them because they show Jesus' love for us!! I want to see your dress!!! After 46+ years of marriage to my honey, I can't even think about fitting into my dress, but it was my most "beautiful" day for sure!!! May you have a wonderful wedding and "ever after"!!
Hugs from Michigan - Carol

March 12, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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