I Ripped My Wedding Dress and I'm Glad I Did
I love weddings. Like, really love them. Maybe that's why I became a wedding photographer. The honor of spending so much time with someone on one of the most important days of their lives is one I take very seriously and it's the best job I could ask for. Being a wedding photographer, you are surrounded with weddings. You are shooting one, booking one, looking for inspiration on Pinterest, your Instagram feed is filled with them, they're everywhere. As a bride, it's the same thing. After all, you've been dreaming of this day ever since you heard your first fairytale. It consumes your thoughts! The wedding industry has put this pressure on brides to make their wedding picture perfect. Weddings have turned into productions.
When October 25, 2015 finally came, it was the best day! It was sunny, 75 degrees, little to no wind, it was perfect! It felt more like a summer wedding than an autumn one, but hey I wasn't complaining about awesome weather. I never once felt any stress the whole day. I told myself I wouldn't let my mind even go there because I was marrying the best guy and that's all that mattered! Letting that pressure go was so freeing. I could truly enjoy and soak in every moment of our wedding.
When it came time to see my future husband, I was giddy with excitement! I remember walking up to him with his back turned towards me and saying "hey babe, how do I look?" He turned around with the cutest little smirk on his face as I struck a pose for him. He gave me a big hug and that's when I heard it. A sound that no bride wants to hear on her wedding day. The awful sound of fabric tearing. I kind of ignored it, it didn't matter. I was focused on him and this day. Then later, when taking photos with my family, I heard it again. Another ripping sound. I thought that maybe if I didn't think about it, it would go away. When I finally figured out what happened, the top of my dress had torn in two different places. My dress had a very delicate caplet made of intricate beading and mesh across my shoulders and it had ripped on both sides. My mother could see what had happened and she encouraged me to keep it pulled forward the rest of the day to prevent any further tearing. I did my best to do just that.
The rest of the day was a total dream. Man, did I tell you I love weddings!? Because I loved mine so much! When we got back from our honeymoon (which was almost cancelled due to the largest hurricane ever recorded) I re-examined my dress. The poor thing looked irreparable. The dress that I had searched for and tried on so many times, that my mother had spent countless hours altering to fit me perfectly, that I had dreamed of passing onto a daughter one day was torn and most likely not able to be put back together. It was so delicate now. I was devastated.
That was all I could think about for a while. My poor dress that was so special to me and had so much work put into it was unwearable ever again. It also made me think about the other little things that had gone wrong on our day. Oh how I wish I could have prevented some of them! My focus was on everything negative and I was falling into the trap of a "picture perfect" wedding.
Pretty soon our wedding photos were finished and delivered. After I looked through them my first though was "man, I sure smiled a lot that day!" Aside from saying my vows through tears, I was grinning ear to ear the whole day and our wonderful photographer had captured it all. Another observation I had was that I received so many hugs. And that was the culprit. When I hug, I like to really hug, arms up high and a tight squeeze. And that's how I ripped my dress. I had so many photos proving it. Man, if only I had hugged people in a gentler way I could have prevented those two terrible tears in my dress, right?
I let this regret consume my thoughts for a while until one day I told myself, "Kelcy, don't you see how loved you are?" Here I was complaining about a dress I would wear only a couple times when I had so many people who loved me enough to embrace me on my wedding day and tell me how much they loved me! I was worried about my dress when I spent the whole day with my favorite people, some traveling thousands of miles to witness our lifelong commitment to each other! That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was being so shallow. My wedding wasn't about my dress, the venue, the cake, or the little things that went wrong, it was about our ceremony and the vows we made before our friends and family. And I realized that if I'm going to rip my wedding dress, I want it to be because I loved on the most important people in my life.
So, I ripped my wedding dress. It probably can't be fixed, but I had a pretty good reason for it. And honestly, I would rather rip my dress than not hug all those people who are so dear to me. Being surrounded by so many of our friends and family on our wedding day was the most precious gift we could have asked for! So, to all the future brides reading this, I hope something happens on your wedding day that the wedding industry will tell you is a disaster, but I hope you'll be able to see through it. Remember how much you are loved and don't forget the real reason you are getting married. Because something will go wrong, it always does. You just have to see through it.
I still love weddings and mine will always be my favorite. And just like in weddings, so too in life, bad things happen. They always do. If we keep our focus on what's really important, we'll be able to see through what the world says is a disaster and recognize the good and lovely gifts hidden underneath.
Below are some of my favorite photos that prove how loved I am. I wouldn't trade these moments for all the wedding dresses in the world! Beautiful photography by the wonderful Ellie of Ellie Be Photography.