Hello, I’m the bride. My name is Doormat.

Guest post by Johanna
Original photo by Ben Askew, used by Creative Commons license
Original photo by Ben Askew, used by Creative Commons license

I have only been working in a bridal salon for near a month now and already I have seen some appalling behaviours that seriously need to stop. I have seen far too many people come in and out of my store who have let themselves be walked all over by family members and loved ones. It isn't right.

A wedding is a day in a couple's life that is to celebrate their joining of lives — a beginning to their marriage. Yes, it is an excuse for some to get dressed up all fancy, but seriously, that is not the point of the day. The day is to declare the start of your union, to show your dedication and your love for one another. You need to celebrate it how you want.

So fuck Aunt Martha and her desire to see you in lace and satin from your chin to your fingertips. You wear whatever the hell you want, even if it is a beaded belly dancing outfit.

This isn't the day your mother gets to feel like a bride again, she's already had her day once (or twice or thrice) it is your day. Don't let your mother force you into choosing a dress that she feels is more appropriate to her liking. I don't care if she is financing it. If you are giving someone money as a gift, once the gift has been given you have no right to declare what it must be spent on. I am so tired of seeing girls come into my store with their heart set on a specific dress only to be guilted into changing to something else.

Also a planet sized fuck you to those who come in with the bride and comment on what they should be doing about weight and what they think they should wear for their body type. So often I get the line from the bride, “I really love this style but I don't think it would ever suit me.” Y'know what, most of the time they try it on anyway and they rock that dress like a superstar.

I don't want to see another beautiful woman be told that they're too broad chested for this, or have swimmers arms, or look too gaunt in the chest. Be confident, or at least allow me to strangle the critics with my Swarovski crystal beaded shawl.

It pisses me off when I hear of parents giving ultimatums to the bride and groom. If they can't set aside their differences for a single day without commenting on it and putting you through stress, then they shouldn't be there in the first place. Or as an alternative, I hear tying them to a chair and gagging works nicely.

My job is to help you feel special. I try my hardest each and every hour I am there. It makes things awfully difficult when I'm fighting against the entire family.

Comments on Hello, I’m the bride. My name is Doormat.

  1. I had a seamstress laugh at me while altering my dress. She said my chest was a lost cause and I quote “If I were you I’d invest in some heavy padding for your front.” It was so rude I had to laugh and just brush it off. Don’t let anyone rain on your parade! I’m perfectly happy being boobless and don’t see the need for a ton of tissues shoved down my top.

    • dear fellow Erin,
      I also had a seamstress suggest putting padding in my dress to fill it out. It has lacing in the back, just tie me in so I don’t fall out. Its so rude! Why do the pick on us Erins? 🙂

    • OMG, that happened to me, too! For a bridesmaid dress, though, not a wedding dress. The seamstress kept berating me about how my chest didn’t fill out the dress. I finally snapped and said, “There’s not much I can do about the size of my chest, I just need you to make it fit.”

      And you know what? She didn’t make it fit. I had to be safety-pinned in the limo.

      • WOW, what is wrong with these fitters/seamstresses? All bodies are different, that’s what alterations are for and why he/she is employed in the first place!

        • Soon after my fiance and I became officially engaged, a friend (though we’re not even on speaking terms anymore, so ex-friend) talked me into going to try on bridal gowns, even though I’m making mine. So I finally agreed, and we went. The consultant had the gall to say to me that I’d nee to lose about 10 pounds and lose a little at the hips for one particular gown to look good on me. Now here is especially why consultants need to shut the fuck up about weight. Not only was I 5’7″ and just 112 pounds (so I should have gotten down to 105 pounds when my BMI was already just 17.5), but I was still recovering (still am) from an eating disorder. What a way for that bitch to make me feel fat Even if I was planning to buy a dress, she would have lost the sale. As it was, I was going to give her a pretty good tip ($150) for her time, but after that comment? HELL NO. Oh, and my hips? Those were my hip bones. Her comments left me thinking my bones make me look fat. Unfortunately, two years later I still feel my bones make me look fat.

          Angry still? Why yes, I am.

          • I am so sorry that happened to you! My sister is recovering from bulimia. People don’t realize the power of their words. You know the saying, sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me…well, I think it should be sticks and stones can only break my bones but words can break my heart. Obviously isn’t as catchy, but I think it’s more accurate. I don’t cry over old physical wounds, but thinking about old emotional scars can bring me right back to that moment, ya know? Anyway, its lame that happened to you 🙁

          • You have every right to be angry! I promise that your bones do NOT look fat.

            Johanna- keep on fighting the good fight. Love this post.

          • As someone who’s recovered from 15 years of bulimia, I’m SO sorry at what she put you through. That’s one reason I’m actually picking my own dress and buying it online.
            Yes, I’m going to dress stores to see what style I like, BUT I’m going alone. My mom and the few shallow girlfriends I do have will not that opportunity to criticize what I’ve taken years to learn how to love. (at least working on it lol)

          • I had a similar experience at one boutique, and it was the last place I went to before going back to another earlier salon to pick out my dress. The attendants just about ignored me, even though I had an appointment, and I had some rude comments about my weight.

            Meanwhile, at the other salons I went to, even the skinny little blonde cheerleader type (named Courtney to boot) encouraged me to rock out in the too small sample sizes that she worked herself up into a sweat to get me in because she was going try to get me to love something even if it killed her. She told me that one dress I was interested in didn’t come in bigger than a 12 so she dove into some racks and found a comparable style that she knew I would be able to order. And when I was squeezed into the sample she made sure to hide behind me and hold the dress together in the most flattering way so I could get pictures for the women who weren’t able to make the appointment with me.

            I didn’t order my dress through that salon but man did I recommend the hell out of it to a couple of other girlfriends who ultimately did order from that shop. (I also told them to request Courtney who, in the words of one of my friends, “made me feel like a diva”)

            So seriously: fuck rude and evil seamstresses and bridal consultants.

          • I was talked into going to a bridal salon as well, where I was told that “we’ll order the dress a size down” (from what fit me just fine) because “you’re going to want to lose weight”.

            This was two weeks after I won the gold medal in the national rescue swimming championships (no, not in the USA)

            I told the attendant that as long as I win national gold medals with this body, I am not messing with it. And I thought: How do you know I don’t suffer from an eating disorder? How on the fecking earth can you assume it is ok to say this?

    • For me it wasn’t the seamstress – I’d worked with her several times before – but it was my photographer who pointed out THE HOUR BEFORE THE CEREMONY that my dress was bulging a bit and laying funny in the hip area. I have issues with my back that mean my hips haven’t been even in years and the extent to which they are “off” varies day by day so I just roll with it most if the time but come on! I was already nervous about being so on display and the person who was supposed to make me at ease in front of the camera made me even more self-conscious.

      • That’s harsh, but the photographer may not have realised. It’s like if someone tells you that you have spinach in your teeth: they’re not saying it to make you self-conscious but so you can do something about it. Your photographer may have thought they were being helpful, thinking all you had to do was smooth the dress over your hips and it would be fine, not realising it wasn’t as simple as that!

    • I was doing a bridal fitting with a girl who had surgery as a kid and as a result had a bit of an indent on her stomach. It was enough that even with boning if she moved, the dress crumpled in a little. She made me aware of it and so I found something with a shorter waist that she could feel confident in and look amazing. Poor girl, when she mentioned it to the previous bridal store they wanted her to pay for a horse hair stuffing thing to be made to go into the dress.

  2. This is why I watch “Say Yes to the Dress”. It’s not for the dresses, it’s for the (often) crazy, served up Family Style.

    • Sometimes I want to bitch-slap some of those families. I can’t stand it when the families are so mean they make the brides cry. If the bride is clearly excited, then shut up with any criticism and find something nice to say.

    • I actually got my dress at that shop (ladies, it was WAY cheaper than anything I found near my house and they had a bizillion dresses there). My consultant actually shushed my mom and aunt and told them “ladies, it is her day, not yours”. She was a rock star.

  3. My mom wanted to buy me my wedding dress and as I live 15 hours from her I found one on Ebay for 300.00 that I love. I just recently saw her so I bought the dress. It needs alterations as it is a little tight around the tummy and way to big at the boobs.

    I put it on and she said “it will look great when you lose 50 pounds’. WTF!!!!! not 10 but 50 – I mean it does zip up.

    I know that my mom is very selfconcious and she has repeatly said she wants to lose 50 pounds before the wedding. I told her that if anything is to be altered it going to be the dress and not me. That if she wants to lose weight its her choice but not to force her weight loss issues on me.

    Thank you Johanna for sticking up for your brides. Its very hard to tell a loved one what you want and even harder when they are super judgemental.

    • Great way to alter a zip up back if its too tight is to have lacing put in with a modesty panel. Then you can weight what ever you want and ajust it via laces.

  4. My advice for brides: if your loved ones have strong opinions and negative body-talk, don’t invite them. I know the magical wedding vision of trying on dresses is of family and friends cooing and giggling, but really, if you suspect you’re going to get steamrolled… you’re going to have zero fun (negative fun even!)
    Take someone who is supportive and honest without being caustic.
    Almost any bridal shop consultant will echo the words that bringing along too many people will make EVERYONE miserable.
    If you’ve got a naysayer who will be emotionally wounded if they don’t tag along (or if you kinda have to bring ’em because they’ve got the credit card,) communication is the key. Explain that you’d love to share the moment with them, but that you’re going to choose the dress (or suit??!) that makes you the happiest. And tell them that you only want to hear constructive criticism or you’re walking back into the dressing room.
    Or, better yet, have two or three dresses preselected and tell them that you’d like their help in choosing which flatters you most. That way, they feel like they’re contributing, that you value their opinion and you’re less likely to get flack–you’ve narrowed it down, and other choices are off the table. So it’s gotta be the best of what’s left!

    • Dootsiebug, this is the best advice! I used to work at a bridal store, and I cannot list all the poor, sweet brides whose mothers told them how much prettier their sisters were, how many jealous cousins/sisters/friends sat there with the only advice of “I don’t like it…AT ALL” when everyone else is crying because it’s THE DRESS.

      Brides should always go look at dresses with one, maybe two of their most trusted confidants, narrow down the options, then bring others.

      My only other opinion is that maybe not everyone you know should see the dress or know what it’s going to look like! Isn’t that a moment many people wait for: to see the bride in her gown. It’s so much more exciting if no one has seen it before…a thousand times. 🙂

  5. I’ll never forget when I sent my mom a picture of me in a dress I liked and she (who’s a AA) told me that my C’s looked like “udders in a sling” in said dress.

    • lol, to clarify, that’s “double-a” as in chest. Not in Alcoholics Anonymous.

      • Oooh…someone sounds jealous!

        I out-boob my mom and my sister. Mom grumbled once how the “good boobs” that her older sister and mom had somehow skipped over her, but that’s it.

  6. I can say from my own experience that most people really just want you to be happy, even if they sometimes get that mixed up with what would make them happy. I did the rounds of bridal shops and trying on dresses with my mom and mother-in-law. They had a ball giggling and imagining me walking down the aisle in each one. Then I bought the one I really wanted from unique-vintage.com for $100. They were surprised and not sure about it at first, but then accepted that’s the one I was going to wear. We all got the best of both worlds–they got to play dress-up with me, and I got the dress I wanted. It’s worth sticking up for yourself.

    • That’s what I’m doing. Bought my dress online, but I’m still going to do the tour-de-gown with my mom so we can take lots of trying-on pics and have the time together. She got married on a whim and didn’t get a chance to do all the fun engagement stuff, so I’m doing it all for two! 😉

      • Went to consignment bridal shop with mom, sis, future mom-in-law and future sis-in-law. It was GREAT – they could select whatever from the rack, and I could try on as many items as needed, we had a blast. I tried on things there was NO chance of me wearing, but there was no pressure to LIKE any of them (and the classic consignment shop excuse: whoops, this isn’t my size!). At the end of the day, we left without a decision, but I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted (and mom sewed it for me – in pink!)

    • I wish I’d read this sooner… both this post and your comment. I originally went to a thrift store on my own, and to my delight found a dress with the tags on that fit almost perfectly and had the skirt style and color I wanted for $30! I could have even spent $100 on alterations to the bodice, and had a totally “me” dress. But I lost the opportunity to buy it because my mom kept stifling my creatvity and making me feel guilty saying “don’t just buy it because it’s cheap. I’ll buy a dress for you”. I wanted her to feel included, so I had even borrowed the dress and a couple others to bring home and had a little trying-on get together with my mom and aunt and sister, etc. Even after that, I was talked in to going to a bridal shop, and I was just so ready to get it over with and wanting not to disappoint my mom, that I let her buy me a $200 dress that will still need $100 of alterations and is very not “me.”
      I wish I had thought of going to dress shops just to “play dress-up” to give my mom that experience without having to commit to a dress! Now, I not only feel bad for her being out $200, but also sick over having to wear a dress I don’t like at my wedding. I think the only thing I can do now is focus on how happy it made my mom to go with me to pick out and buy my wedding dress, but it’s hard to feel good about it 🙁

      • Natalie Aurora, I’m so sorry to hear that’s how your dress shopping went down. I see that it’s been a while since your comment, but I was curious how the rest of the affair played out? Have you been married yet? Did you feelings on the dress your mom bought you change at all?
        My idea of my ideal wedding dress changed a lot in the design process, and now I have one that is currently being handmade, so pretty much no going back on it. I ask for feedback on your feelings if you can give it, to maybe… help me have a sounding board for my own? I hope it has or it will go down very well for you at the time!

  7. This was perfect. Short and to the point, and soooo full of wisdom. I hated working retail in the Junior’s section during homecoming/prom season. The bodysnarking directed at teenaged girls from family and friends was sickening. I can’t imagine the people like that are any easier to handle when the girl becomes a bride.

    I don’t have people in my life like that, but I’m still going to buy my dress accompanied only by my future husband; his is the only opinion I really care about, and he usually helps me look outside my comfort zone. I’ve bought some of my favorite items because of his help, and I can’t imagine this outing will be any different.

    • My fiance accompanied me to a few dress appointments. Get ready for some confused bridal consultants! One told him that he “wasn’t allowed” to see me in any of the dresses. He informed her simply and clearly that yes, indeed, he was allowed and was going to! Once we got the Wedding Expectations out of the way, it was fun–hope the same goes for you guys!

  8. Fabulous. I was specifically not going to try on dresses because of various reasons, including my mother would have likely objected to ANYTHING I put on, I live at least 2 hours away from the nearest bridal salon and I HATE trying on clothes.

    Alas, I was in Salt Lake for a family emergency and whisked away by my former Bridezilla prima donna ballerina cousin to try them on. She smiled … kind of … when I put on my dress .. the one I fell in love with, and merely raised an eyebrow when I realized I could literally walk out of the store with it. It was a dress that was an extreme opposite of what she wore at her extravagant affair … which is what I wanted. The fact she didn’t show approval for it made me that much more confident that it was MY dress. So, maybe it was a good thing.

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