Meet the woman who ditched her dress just weeks before her wedding.

I don’t want to shock you but my commitment to my marriage, my husband and making our wedding day memorable for all (but mostly us) wasn’t really affected by the fact that I wore a $300 dress. I bloody loved my dress, a Wayne Cooper off the rack number.

Although I never endeavoured to look like ‘a princess, or Hollywood starlet’… I was aiming for ‘upmarket me’ I felt amazing and it had nothing to do with the price tag on my wedding dress and to be honest, if ASOS and their online counterparts were selling wedding dresses three years ago, I would have been in like Flynn with that stuff.

(Image by Louisa Bailey Photography.)

Buying a ‘cheaper gown’ for me didn’t mean that I was less committed to the day because I didn’t spend an amount comparable to purchasing a small car on a dress that I was only going to wear for 7 ½ hours. When we got engaged and started planning our wedding, we decided that getting into debt for a party, for us, simply wasn’t an option.

I like holidays, and eating, and being able to pay rent.

A big factor for me when dress shopping was avoiding the cookie cutter gown. I bought a gown on a whim on a work trip to the US at David’s Bridal. It was pretty, it was off the shoulder, it had pockets, but I spent four months trying to find a way to feel comfortable in it. I tried to imagine myself dancing and being me without hitching it up and having a small bosom explosion.

I purchased fancy and terribly uncomfortable bras, boleros and snazzy cardigans and belts until I came to the conclusion that quite frankly, I think strapless gowns can look pretty mediocre on most people.

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I ditched the gown and called my bestie one Sunday morning three weeks before our wedding and we hit the shops. As soon as I zipped up my future dress, I was lunging in the shop, testing out my dance moves and feeling ahhh-mazing.

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On my wedding planning podcast, I encourage brides to think laterally when it comes to finding their get-ups, to shut down the idea that they have to look a certain way or spend a bunch of cash that they probably don’t have to feel beautiful.

Seeing the eclectic array of affordable wedding dresses online blows my mind. We have so many options. How lucky are we?

No one… and let me say that again NO ONE is going to know or care about how much you spend or where you purchased your wedding dress from (nor do they care about chair covers but that is for another article).

NO ONE CARES.

Hear me?

"I wore a $300 dress. I bloody loved my dress, a Wayne Cooper off the rack number." (Image by Louisa Bailey Photography.) 

My personal theory is that many pricey bridal gowns, like our cosmetics, are probably manufactured in the same place by the same people, but are given snazzier labels.

The price of something like a wedding dress is relative.

And you know what, I LOVE the freedom of buying ten dresses on ASOS and trying them on in the comfort of your own home without a bridal shop person potentially making you feel inadequate about your body/dress/budget choices. If you don’t like them, then post them back. Buy a simple gown and add some kick ass accessories to it, spend more on shoes that you’ll wear over and over again.

(Image by Louisa Bailey Photography.)  

Wedding dress shopping is an emotional and fun process (for most) but because of this pressure that we’ve collectively created as a society, it can also be stressful and overwhelming. We talk about it ‘being the best day of our lives’… let’s stop that! I had an amazing wedding day but I do hope that sometime within the next 100 years (cryogenics anyone?) that there’s a few more of equal awesomeness coming up.

Buy the dress you want.

Bugger the big price tags or what stylists or ‘fashion experts’ say… wear a dress, or a suit or a tutu that makes you feel fucking fabulous and go with it.

When it comes down to it, it’s not about dresses, it’s about you standing with your other chosen person, in front of your friends and family, committing to being an awesome team and having a great time. You could wear a bin bag and still rock the hell out of it. Trust me.

Aleisha McCormack is a comedian, author and host of The Save The Date Wedding Podcast, nurturing bridechillas & groomchillas, one podcast at a time.

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