While trying to get an outfit together for a wedding that I’ll be attending later this spring, my fiancé and I found ourselves in the middle of an interesting debate. One of the contenders was a beautiful knee-length three-quarter sleeve, dark navy blue sequin dress that I had purchased years ago for another friend’s wedding.
“You can’t wear that,” my fiancé said half-jokingly. “You’ll look better than the bride.”
“Impossible,” I said. “It is absolutely impossible to upstage a bride on her big day.”
I intended to brush him off, and the more I thought about it, I had every intention of wearing that dress.
What the hell does he know about fashion and wedding etiquette anyway?
But then, after some reflection, I weighed his words. The irony is that this wouldn’t be the first time I had to battle it out for my beloved dress. Years ago, when I first purchased it, my friend took issue with it as well. After learning that she was pregnant, she planned her wedding in exactly one month’s time. In the last two weeks, she asked me to be her maid of honor and lone bridesmaid. Although I was bogged down with work and coursework from an intense graduate program, I accepted. In between my studies, I did everything that I could to support her during that period and assist with planning. Everything went smoothly until the week of the ceremony when I had to pick out a dress. The best man had already decided that he wanted to wear navy blue, so I simply fell in line.
I had been searching the malls all day when I finally stumbled across the dress in Bloomingdales. And to be clear, it’s not one of those cheap-looking, shimmery dresses that you might see on the stage of a “Love & Hip Hop” reunion. Thanks to dark the color, it’s actually pretty toned down. I excitedly went to try it on, and it fit perfectly, which was a small miracle. Because of my breast size, dress shopping, especially when it’s for a special occasion, is always a massive undertaking. I quickly snapped a couple of photos and sent them to the bride-to-be. I just knew that she would be relieved that I had finally found a dress after hours of searching. Boy, was I wrong.
“You can’t wear that Jazzy,” she texted me back. “You can’t be looking better than me at my own wedding.”
After trying to convince her that it’s impossible for her to be upstaged at her wedding, we eventually decided to meet up and head over to David’s Bridal. After browsing through their limited off-the-rack selection, I headed to the dressing room with a few of frumpy-looking garments draped across my arm. One by one, I tried them on. Either they didn’t fit across my bust properly, or they gave off straight up mother-of-the-bride vibes. I was 20 years old; I was not her mother, and I would not be dressing as such. Sorry. I was a broke college student at the time, and I was buying my own dress, so I was at least hoping to purchase something that I could wear more than once. Up until this point, I had adapted the “her day, her way” mentality, but I had to draw the line at this dress situation.
“Look boo, I love you like cooked food, but I’m not wearing any of those dresses I just tried on because I don’t feel comfortable in any of them,” I told her. “We can keep looking if you want, but right now the sequin dress is probably the best that I can do within this time frame.”
We continued to search but turned up with nothing. A couple of days before the wedding I went back and purchased the sequin dress. Everything went fine; she looked beautiful, and as far as I could tell, my little blue dress did not upstage her by any means.
Anytime I looked back on the situation, I always told myself that my friend was being unreasonable, well, until my fiancé recently referenced me outshining another bride at her wedding. I would say that I have definitely matured since my friend’s wedding, but this concept of upstaging a woman at her wedding still escapes me. Seriously, how Sway? Even as I prepare to head to the altar myself, the thought of someone showing up at my wedding looking better than me never crossed my mind. I’ll be the girl in the big, white, Cinderella-esque ball gown, floor-length veil, her weave snatched and her face beat to the gawds. Who is going to show up more overdressed than me? The answer is no one because it’s my wedding. And I would hope that each and every one of my guests feels comfortable stepping out in their Sunday’s best as well—except for big, white ball gowns, because, well, that would just be weird for obvious reasons.
I would never, ever want anyone in my circle to feel like they need to dim their light at any celebration that I ever host out of fear of outshining me. Come correct to my function because I most certainly will. We can shine together. I don’t need to be the best-dressed woman in the room.
Oh, and I’ve decided not the wear the sequin dress to this upcoming wedding. Even though I can’t really rock with the concept of outshining a bride, perhaps this bride will have feelings similar to those of my friend and my fiancé, and I’m not trying to piss off or upset anyone on their big day.
As silly as it sounds, I’ve got to ask: Ladies, have you ever had concerns about people dressing better than you at your wedding?