I remember “wedding dress” shopping.
I remember the experience lasting under 20 minutes.
I remember feeling generally embarrassed because I don’t have a mother, and I didn’t have bridesmaids. I was alone. I felt like I was worlds away from the waiting room of younger women in matching bejeweled tank tops.
“What are you looking for?” the overly enthusiastic salesperson asks when my turn comes. I see her search my hand in vain for a ring (which I also didn’t have; diamonds freak me out for a lot of reasons!). Is she attempting to gauge my budget by the size of my ring? I wonder, feeling worried.
“I only know that I don’t want a white dress. I want something more like that, maybe?” (I’m pointing to a simple looking bodycon green dress on a mannequin.)
“That’s from our ______ Bridesmaid collection,” she says, significantly.
I stare blankly, unsure how this applies.
She shows me to the enormous overly mirrored dressing room and brings me the “bridesmaid” dress. I try it on, and then I try on a super traditional (also unasked for) gown. I’m not feeling it. Maybe it’s cliche, but the only thing I’m feeling is misunderstood.
At midnight that night, 2 cocktails in, I order a dress online on my phone lying in bed eating chips. It’s blue and black, it’s kind of “weird” in the way that all the things I really love are weird, and it’s on sale for $200.
It’s the least “bridal” thing I have ever seen, and it’s perfect.
A few months after my own comfy-blue-dress wedding, I sit down for coffee with an awesome lesbian couple to chat about what they’re looking for in their wedding photography. (That’s what I do!)
Bride 1 hasn’t worn a dress since prom, but she’s decided that she’s “bride-ing it up” in a long white gown. Bride 2 is wearing a men’s suit, which needs to be significantly tailored. No one seems especially excited.
Why are we strapping ourselves into giant white gowns just because a queen of England wore something lacy and white 176 years ago?
I’ve been at 400 weddings in 15 years. I’m sure I’ve seen every kind of white dress you can possibly imagine, and frankly, I’m over it.
It’s 2016, people! You can stand out as a bright flower in a summer full of white-dress-black-suit friendweddings!
You can be memorable and amazing! You can be excited about being yourself!
You can express your gender identity! LGBTQIA+ couples don't have to try and fit into what their straight friends are doing, unless they want to.
You can put that weirdly large wedding dress budget to use in hiring a better photographer, getting engagement photos, having cocktails or better quality food, or going on your honeymoon!
You can be YOU!
I’ve never done a styled photo shoot before, but this whole dress thing changed me! I chose some magical people and cute budget-friendly, wedding-friendly clothing from awesome local vendors. I had a lot of help from talented people in the Edmonton Wedding industry, and I’m super proud of what we did together.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Photography and amateur hour styling | Buffy Goodman | @buffygoodman
Legit styling and brrrrains | Moirae Choquette, Maggie Barton Baird, Linda Janzen
Florals | Fabloomosity | @fabloomosity
Hairstyling | Christina Yun at Dollhouse Hair
Makeup | Astrid Woodard | @eclecticamakeup
Leroy and Chad's Styling | Moirae from Simons
Nasra's dress | Lucid Lifestyle
Quinn's dress | Rowena Clothing
Tess's dress| Rowena
Tracy | wearing her own threads, yo.
Buffy is a photographer in Edmonton, Alberta who likes atypical weddings where fun is the focus, laughing, eating dessert first, and attempting to make her cat Instagram-famous. You can see her strut her stuff at www.buffygoodman.com