I come from a family of strict traditionalists when it comes to everything, especially weddings. I recently bought a peach wedding dress with no sleeves and expressed I wanted light blue hair and Converse to go with it. As you can imagine, things didn't go over well. When I try to stand up for my wedding choices, I'm shamed for it.
Please help! – M
Tradition is a beast we live with every day on this site. Like sitting in a small boat with a tiger, we just hope it remains peaceful. But sometimes it doesn't and tradition tiger beats us down.
The thing is that colored wedding dresses, especially in pastels, are actually getting really popular. Tons of couples from celebrities to regular folks are wearing pinks and purples and blues and blacks and even multicolored dresses. We have archives of 'em. The trick will be convincing your family that it's actually not that traditional when you think about it.
Here are some considerations…
To show how totally normal a peach dress can be (and seriously, it could be way weirder!), find some semi-traditional weddings with pastel dresses. A wedding like this might be a good start. It's fairly traditional with just a punch of pastel color.
Online stores are also great places to show how colored wedding dresses can be totally “bridal.” A quick search on Etsy brings up a bajillion super pretty, bridal-y gowns in all kinds of colors. Look, mom, it's so pretty!
Here are some of our colored dress archives to find more examples:
Sometimes just showing how traditional something CAN look is all you need to soothe the worry. And that's really all it is. They're worried that Aunt So-and-so will give a shit that your dress is peach. On the day nobody will and they'll likely be super happy that you look super happy. Fingers crossed.
Share the history of white dresses
White dresses really aren't that traditional when you look at their history. White has only been popular in Western culture since about 1840. I get it, everyone will expect a white dress, but it sounds like your dress will still be a pretty traditional pick in the grand scheme of things.
If your dress is traditional in other ways (long? gown-y? includes a veil?) you'd likely fit right in with the array of wedding dresses being worn in this era.
Make the case
In reality, what you wear might be the ONLY thing that you can totally control. Everything else affects the guests: food, venue, favors, etc. But what you wear literally affects nobody else unless you're wearing something really off-the-wall. You'll probably have to make compromises on everything else, but what you wear is YOU. You can try to make the case that it'll be the one thing that is truly yours.
Here's one take by a reader that I like:
I started off not wanting a lot of the normal wedding trappings, like flowers and so on. But, little by little, I've given into the ideas of some of these things in order to make others happy, or, because alternatives were too difficult or expensive. Somehow, I have latched onto “the dress” as the single thing I would have complete control over. Short of drugging me, one could not force me to wear something I didn't want!
A few people are immediately dismissive of a non-white dress, but over time they begin saying things like, “How will we know who the bride is?” and, “You will look like you're going to prom!” and everything in between… Sometimes I wonder who could be so stupid as to show up at my wedding at my request, and then not remember I'm the fucking bride without a visual cue. Maybe I'll chuck the bouquet directly at 'em — that'll jog their memory!
You'll look lovely AND bridal enough in your peach gown. It may just take some gentle conversations about how important it is to have something that is your own choice and something you really love.
Who's paying for it?
If things STILL don't go well on the convincing front, it may be time to look at who is paying for the dress. In some cases, this is a deciding factor in who gets any say in the final decision. Here's a great post about navigating wedding decisions when parents are involved in paying for the wedding.
In some ways, the person paying for the wedding (or in this case, the item), often feels they get a say:
Whoever pays for the wedding is acting as a producer, and therefore has a say in how their money is spent. Ideally, their say goes something like this: “Whatever you want, dear.” But with many families — especially more conservative ones — that's just not gonna happen. That's why many offbeat couples finance their own weddings.
If you're finding push-back that you can't defeat, consider a compromise. A white dress with a peach veil or belt? A peach dress with a big traditional white veil? A white dress with a pastel train? You've already got the peach dress, so it may come down to just saying, “the dress is bought, it's all we can do.”
Best of luck and let us know how it turns out!