Monday, April 2, 2012

The Online Experience

The internet is a veritable wilderness and wonderland of all things wedding related. Wedding planning is different than it used to be, and especially since the advent of the internet, it's an entirely new experience. And sure, brides have a number of things they still do, like going to bridal boutiques and trying on dresses with their closest friends and family, or pick out flower arrangements personally with their florists;but these are small pieces of the new exchange.
More than not, I'd say it's an interactive experience. The typical happenings still include dress fittings, bridal showers, picking out venues, etc... but the way we get the information changes. And for some people, like myself, who go off the beaten path for whatever reasons, the online wedding planning experience is the right one by far. But how do you explain it to others who may feel left out or just not understand?
I am the only girl in the family, and after three boys, my mom was ecstatic! For a while, I was just that- a girl. I loved pink, dress up, dolls, the whole shebang. But growing up with boys leaves it's mark, so I was the girl in the princess dress climbing trees and marrying my brothers' action figures with my barbies before they parachutes off the stairs. My parents have always been accepting of me and my choices. But I know it's been a little difficult to get used to the idea that when it comes to some "typical" feminine things, I have an atypical lack of interest. And while it's been widely accepted among my loved ones that I'll take beer over cosmos and hockey over Gilmore Girls, there are some areas where the discrepancies still cause confusion.
Recently, my mum called me and heard that I'd found a dress online for the wedding. I had my reasons for this less popular option. To be honest, most bridal shops overcharge for dresses way too much, even with sales. And it's not really their fault, but the general cost for a wedding dress these days is anywhere between 900-1,124 dollars ( found on wedding stats, for more stats, check it out here :D ), and with a bit of digging, knowledge of what you want, and discernment, you can find a great dress at a reasonable price. Armed with my measurements (a necessary component I've found when online searching for a dress! :]), and a distinctive lackluster view of the current bridal styles, I set to work searching.
The pressure that was lifted was astounding! No sheepish looks while divulging my minuscule budget to sales people. No bossy women at shops trying to push me into a dress I ultimately didn't want (and most likely, couldn't pay for...funny how that works!). No neurotic planning to frantically assemble all females close to me in one place and make the great commute like motley geese to find a dress, with no guarantee I'd leave victorious. It was a decision I felt great about. Until my mum called.
The disappointment seemed evident in her voice, explaining about how she felt left out of the typical mother-daughter experience of dress shopping and planning. I felt like a jerk as soon as she said it, and it took me aback to try to explain to her that it wasn't personal. Sometimes it's hard to explain to people of a different mindset that planning doesn't look one way. Whether they are ultra-traditional or unfamiliar with online wedding dress shopping. I wished I'd taken the time out to cover this detail, so as not to offend. It was exactly what I explained to my mum, saying that I didn't intentionally leave her out. I just bought it online. There were no other people, no dress fittings, none of that. Her not being around was nothing against her, but in overlooking that difference in mindsets, I accidentally hurt my mum's feelings.
The take away from this, in my humble opinion, is that you need to do what's right for you. But sometimes letting other people know where you stand is a good way to avoid hurting the ones you love :)

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