It’s traditionally said that a woman’s wedding day is one of the most important days of her life, if not THE most important. The financial investments in that day are huge, to say the least. There are no hard rules on how much to spend or what to spend money on. However, I believe the bride should have the primary say on the amount to spend on her “big day” necessities. For me, that was my wedding dress. It may seem shocking to some, but I spent a large percentage of my wedding budget on my wedding dress. And I have never regretted it for one minute.

Picture Perfect

I’ve always had a distinct picture of what my wedding dress would look like in my mind’s eye. As a little girl, I spent hours upon hours dreaming about it. I didn’t necessarily dream about the wedding, per se; that never really mattered to me. I didn’t care if I had a destination wedding or a ceremony somewhere under a waterfall. All that mattered was that my dress was amazing.

I guess my wedding dress fell under the little girl dream of having a “princess moment.” That vision stuck with me throughout my adolescent, teenage, young adult and later years. The irony in that is I never had (or wanted) many expensive dresses throughout my lifetime. Sure, I had cotillion and prom dresses, but Even as an adult fashion designer, I never had a penchant for ornate gowns or clothes. But there was something about that one picture in my mind that I couldn’t (and didn’t) let go of.

So, as I prepared for my wedding day, I unapologetically chose a luxurious dress that made me feel exactly how I wanted to feel on my special day. As I look back on my wedding day photos, I still smile and glow at the ornately decorated baby bump that held my firstborn. Admiring the photos, I relish the dress that helped me express outwardly the sensuality and power maternity gifted me. It still feels magical. The moments I spent in my dress will always hold priceless memories for me.

Beyond My Wedding Day

Another reason why I will never regret the cost of my wedding gown has nothing to do with me personally. It does, however, have everything to do with people I love and care about. I’ve had some amazing friends over the years whose parents were not in the financial position my parents were. As we grew up, I made the decision to give them my formal cotillion and prom gowns in middle and high school, respectively. I decided early on my wedding dress would be no different.

From my perspective, my wedding dress was an important element of an important moment of one of the most important days I would ever experience. I never considered the dress to be an important part of my life. I knew I would never wear it again. Most brides never do! Heck, some even rent wedding gowns for that exact reason! I knew from the beginning one of the very special ladies in my life would be offered to use the dress.

It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to share special tokens of love with others. I love that something that held such meaning for me helped create more beautiful memories for other deserving women. I’ve always had a heart to help others. It’s what I do in my everyday life, both professionally and personally. My wedding dress was yet another example of giving back to women who gave so much of themselves to and for me.

Your Wedding, Your Wallet, Your Wishes!

Let me be clear: am I suggesting you go out and spend your budget on a lavish, costly wedding gown? Absolutely not. I’m suggesting that you ask yourself what is most important to you on your special day, make THAT your priority, and secure the memories you deserve for your nuptials. That will be different things to different women. If the ultimate wedding for you means serving the most decadent hors d’oeuvres and delightful entrees to your guests, find your Michelin-starred chef and savor every forkful! Maybe you’ve always wanted to say “I do” in an exquisite palace or locale. I say channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw and find your jaw-dropping venue you will never forget!

My wedding dress was my non-negotiable. It was important to ME, and that’s the message I want to leave with you. This is YOUR day! Whatever will bring you the ultimate joy, which is what you deserve on your wedding day, give yourself that. Don’t worry about what others will say about your priorities and decisions. They may try to judge or sway your decision. This isn’t about them. It’s about YOU. “Them” includes guests, family, friends…even your mother! None of them are more important than you on your day, so allow your decisions to bypass them all together.

Even after a divorce, I can honestly say I look back on my decision to allot a significant sum of money to my wedding dress with a smile. I am as confident now as I was then that I made the right decision. I encourage any woman on the verge of tying the knot to define what will ultimately make her wedding day the most memorable day of her life. Find that, keep it in focus, spend what you need to make that a reality for you, don’t look back, and have no regrets.

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