Modern brides focus too much on something we never worried about 136



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Looking back, I was just a baby when I got married at 19. Sweet and innocent, I had no idea what I was in for, but that’s not the point of this story! I recently attended a wedding and instead of questions about how the bride was feeling or even simple congratulations, talk turned to something much more important: her dress.

I say that whilst rolling my eyes. Wedding dresses in my day were either your mother’s or something pretty you’d picked out after looking at a few different stores. You didn’t fuss over it as you were far too excited getting other things organised. But now, the dress is the most important thing. Because if you aren’t wearing a designer or a vintage dress, you haven’t done it right.

This just makes me upset for al those women who want to have the perfect day but don’t want to spend a lot, but feel as though they have to splash out on a beautiful dress, lest they be judged for it. It’s also sad that that is what it’s about: what’s the dress going to look like, how much was it, is it vintage, is it white, is it off-white? Will you put it on Instagram?

So much emphasis has been placed on the dress sometimes I wonder if that’s more important to some than the actual day at hand. And don’t get me started about social media – brides fret about hashtags, filters and how many likes they get. What went so wrong that our priorities are on the materialistic and not on the love of our lives? Of course men are as blasé by the whole day as they always were – my own husband found his suit two days before and it wasn’t even perfectly dry cleaned! I didn’t notice though until my pedantic mother pointed it out. I wasn’t the least bit worried about the photos, because our smiles spoke louder than any dress.

My daughter’s wedding is coming up at the end of next year and we’re in the early stages of planning. A part of me wants her to do whatever she likes but there’s another part that just wants to shout and say that the dress should be beautiful, yes, but there’s no need to buy the biggest and the best. After all, if you’re lucky… you’ll only wear it once!


Tell us, do you think that marriages are now more materialistic than they used to be? What do you think has caused it? Social media or something else? Did you worry about your dress?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I sometimes wonder is it the wedding or the marriage that’s the most important thing. It’s such a drama. Our reception was in the church hall and the church ladies made a lovely roast chicken dinner and we made tissue paper roses for decorations. Still together after 38 years though.

    4 REPLY
    • Must have been the era, Helen! We’ve been married 38 years and my dress was made by my sister’s friend – for $50, material and all and I felt a million dollars.

    • My daughter married the love of her life 11 years ago in a VERY small town in Queensland – I made the dress, we spray painted gum nuts and leaves for decoration, mum-in-law organised the local hall, pub supplied the food, friends were the bar tenders, ceremony on the hill he proposed and every one kept saying it was the most fun and relaxed wedding they’d been to – didn’t break the bank that for sure – and the dress? Well the brides pure joy didn’t matter how perfect (or not) I’d sewn it!

    • Helen, you went upmarket. My reception was in the backyard of my family home in 1970. I borrowed the dress from a friend. Very happily married.

    • I had a dressmaker make mine, but it wasn’t expensive. Yes, had our reception in the community hall catered by their ladies….salad and cold meat…fruit salad and ice cream. We had the most important people in our lives there, our families. We have been together 40 years and married for 39 …. By today’s standards we had a very poor wedding but we loved it.
      Our daughter got married 4 years ago and she didn’t want to spend a fortune either….had a beautiful dress but at the lower end of the price range……she couldn’t have looked more beautiful if she had worn an over the top expensive gown.

  2. I agree with this writer 100%. It is sad that now it seems to not be about the excitement of setting up a new home and making wonderful plans for the future.
    Maybe it is a sign of the times and the easy access to finding all the materialistic things via the Internet. We didn’t have all those things in the 60’s and 70’s when we got married. The latest craze seems to be having a photographer at the birth of your babies. I can remember a time when even husbands were banned from the birth, not that I’m suggesting we go back to that era.

  3. I made mine from curtain material. Mum made the cake and flowers . She was a professional though and they were lovely. Reception at home. Nobody would leave. Best party ever.

    1 REPLY
    • My mum made my dress,my bridesmaid dress, her own dress, made our cake decorated as well did the flower arrangements for the church, had our reception at her home & we walked home from the church which was across the road & we didn’t want to leave either as it was a party still married 43 years later, we still talk about it now what fun

  4. I think the girls get married for the wrong reasons to wear the dress and have the biggest most expensive reception …if they really wanted to get married for the right reason they would not care what they wore or where it was ..they get into debt and then they divorce or separate in a few years or months even ..the stress is there before they even start married life..then they want the best home the latest gadgets they wait for nothing ..must have it at once …no saving up for anything ..and because of their outlook they do not appreciate anything ..doomed from the start a lot of their marriages..

    1 REPLY
    • So true. My next wedding will be very casual, just a nice everyday dress, a small group of friends and family on a farm and a bbq after.

  5. It’s an event now days, had a traditional wedding first time round more for my mothers benifit than mine. Marriage lasted 9 years, had an informal garden one next time with cold salads still there 35years later. The wedding doesn’t make the marriage.

  6. i’ve never been into big fancy weddings that cost a small fortune – for me it is an intimate affair shared with your closest family and friends, and the bride in a dress that makes her feel like a million dollars – even if she picked it up for a song. I think you have the wedding you want, it is your day. I have been to big fat weddings where no expense was spared, and the bride changed dresses half way through. Not one expensive designer gown, but two. Have the wedding you want, don’t cater to what others think you should do, and whatever else happens enjoy the day

  7. my wedding reception was in the local Masonic hall, like many here, we had roast chicken and my mother and grandmother made huge trifles for desert, the bar was a keg of beer and a ton of soft drink, compared to today’s weddings it was very simple, but it never broke the bank and we all had fun

  8. I made my own wedding dress $50, our reception was in the Church Hall, cost $150 cold meat and salad smorgasbord. We made everything ourselves, the ladies from the church did the work. 41 years married this year. 5 years ago our daughters wedding cost $10,000 not paid by us thank goodness. It would have gone a long way to fix up the house they live in. Guess our era are more practical, we had to make do a lot of the time.

    1 REPLY
    • Gosh Joyce, $10,000 was a reasonable price compared to most even 5 years ago

  9. I think if you can afford it, go for it … why shouldn’t a bride feel like a princess on her wedding day!!

  10. I also married at 19 and enjoyed making my own dress which cost next to nothing but I was so proud of it. It was a lovely wedding – sadly the marriage was disastrous but I will always remember the excitement I felt dressing in my simple gown. I was thrilled when my own daughter chose to make her own dress. She looked beautiful.

  11. I remember ‘practising’ my new signature over and over. I was so excited to be getting married. A lot of brides don’t even change their name these days 🙂

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