There are millions of directions a couple can go when theming their wedding in today’s world, from fairy tale to modern to retro to country to…well, you name it, you can do it. I’ve always wanted a fairy tale wedding. And I know many others do too. I know I’m not the only woman who struggled or is struggling to find the perfect fairy tale gown to accompany her dream day, and while our tastes and decisions may end up being vastly varied there is a solidarity that all bride-to-be’s can share in. I’ve always appreciated the opinions of others, something to take into consideration and provide a fresh perspective when I feel like I’m drowning in huge decisions. And a wedding gown is a HUGE decision. It’s a journey and hopefully it’s wonderful and fun. My search may have been on the shorter side, but I slipped many a dress over my head before making the final decision.
Alfred Angelo introduced the Disney Bridal Collection project in 2010, introducing a line of gorgeous gowns inspired by classic Disney Princesses. The collection included ball gowns, mermaid styles, trumpet, and A-line, providing something to flatter anyone. It’s a lovely nod to a classic character without being obnoxious. Each dress is clearly loving crafted with the character’s style, personality, and essence carefully included.
I wanted to wear one of these dresses. I had been dreaming about wearing one of these dresses.
Of course we went to try them on. Belle. Snow White. Tiana. Cinderella. And so it went. The dresses were beautiful, and most of them fit like a dream. They were the wedding dresses these beloved Disney princesses might wear. They were straight out a fairy tale.
I felt like a princess.
So how did I end up straying so far from the exquisite Alfred Angelo Disney-sanctioned princess designs?
Here’s what you should know about my dress searching experience: we planned for a long engagement, so I had over a year to settle on anything. Months before it’s generally considered appropriate to start looking for a dress, my mother and I happened to be out shopping and ended up in very close proximity to a David’s Bridal. Mother-Daughter shopping quickly turned into “oh, just a peek!” and we made our way into the wild white unknown. It escalated further when one of the stylists happened to be free and offered to help me try a few things on.
I was definitely that person that almost bought the first dress I tried on. Spoiler: I made it until the second one before I knew which dress I was going to end up walking down the aisle in. That far in advance, I wasn’t quite ready to commit. Instead, we started a favorites list and I went on my merry way, beautiful ballgowns dancing in my mind. It wasn’t long before I rounded up a few of my bridesmaids and dragged them out to look at the Alfred Angelo Disney dresses.
As it happens, the Disney dress I almost chose was the 2013 Cinderella style. It’s a beautiful, full ball gown skirt with intricate lace appliques stitched all over it. With a full petticoat underneath, there was no question that this dress was made for a princess. The top left a little to be desired—the plain white was lovely but dangerously unforgiving, and without the little crystal crusted belt it was…boring. But the skirt made up for it, so the effect was gorgeous.
For my wedding, I wanted to be a princess. Well, alright, I want to be a princess all the time. Few things bring me greater joy than slipping into the persona of Princess Anna and trapesing around a convention center…or park…or you know, wherever. It was nice feeling like I was a Disney princess in these gorgeous wedding gowns, but these dresses were designed with the style of a particular character in mind. I assume my involvement in cosplaying and the cosplay community affected this feeling. I was dressing up as a Disney princess, an existing character beloved of children and adults everywhere. And that’s so much fun, don’t get me wrong. But for me, it was fun and wonderful for a totally different set of reasons. And none of them involved my wedding day.
The realization was sudden, obvious, and deeply personal. It would be magical playing dress up and living like one of these Disney princesses on my wedding day. It would be lovely and I would enjoy every moment and great happiness would be had. But I wanted to be Princess Stacey this time.
That meant leaving behind the racks filled with beautiful princess dresses that captured the spirit of some of the most memorable Disney characters of all time. It was away from the instantly recognizable statement of I’m Going To Be A Princess On My Wedding Day Damn It.
It wasn’t really a hard step for me to take.
I was lucky. I had held the image of my ideal dress in the back of mind throughout the other dress shopping adventures I went on. There were a few more. But I had known the moment I saw myself in the mirror the first time, and ultimately I realized it was silly to keep looking just to look–I knew what I wanted. Dress shopping is fun and exciting and that’s probably why I kept doing it, and there are so many lovely dresses out there that I wanted to try and see them all. For everyone out there looking for a fairy tale gown that makes you feel like a princess–it’s there. It definitely exists.
I wasn’t a big believer in “The One” dress theory, the idea that there’s one dress and you know it almost immediately. I wasn’t before I went dress shopping, before I slid into a ballgown that made me a princess and filled me with an incessant chant of “this is it. this is the one.” It’s a good feeling.
Have you had that moment yet? Are you still searching for The One? Tell me about it!