I got engaged in April of 2011 and decided to get married in July of that same year—which meant that I only had four months to plan my wedding! Since I used to compete in pageants, I didn’t think that finding a dress would be very difficult for me, even if I was strapped for time. After all, I’d worn lots of gowns before, and I had a pretty solid idea of what I was looking for.
But when I actually went dress shopping, I ran into a problem that I hadn’t anticipated. For my ceremony, I wanted a traditional, full-length gown with a long train. But my reception was going to be full of oldies rock and swing dancing. My fiancé and I love old music, even though we’re both in our early twenties, and we designed our ceremony to be relatively short (we didn’t even have bridesmaids, groomsmen or a flower girl!) so that we could get right to the best part of the wedding—the party! However, in order to party properly I needed a shorter dress—one that I could move around in.
Now I’d heard of “convertible” dresses—long gowns that can be zipped off at the bottom. At first I assumed that this would be an easy solution to my problem; until I realized that not only were convertible dresses much more expensive than normal gowns, but they were almost always cut in a mermaid or trumpet style. I have never been a big fan of the tight-fitted, modern look. When I pictured my perfect short dress, I pictured a fancier version of a white, cotton swing dress—something tea-length and reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe’s wedding dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Only when I thought of Marilyn, walking down the aisle in that beautiful short dress, did the real answer to my problem pop into my head: Unique-Vintage.com! The same store that had provided me with the gorgeous retro bathing suit I was using to tan for my wedding!
One look at the Unique-Vintage “short wedding dress” section and I knew; if I couldn’t find my ideal dress at Unique-Vintage, it didn’t exist. Luckily for me, I found my dress with just a few quick clicks: a gorgeous, tea-length, rose lace dress with a matching bolero. Not only was it a perfect 1950s style dress (ideal for swing dancing!) it could be worn in so many different ways! The dress had a snap-in modesty panel in front and another in back behind the corset strings. The bolero allowed for a put-together look that included some shoulder coverage. And, best of all, the price was incredibly reasonable! For a bride on a budget, it was such a great feeling to not have to compromise on the perfect dress.
My mom (who had gone shopping with me to find my long, ceremony dress) was apprehensive, at first, about ordering my reception dress online. But the moment my dress arrived and I slipped it on, she was ecstatic. “It looks like I dress that I would have worn when I was young,” she mused. It was a wonderful thing to hear her say.
Once my July 16th wedding day finally arrived, I was nervous and excited to see how my dress stood up to some actual dancing. My husband and I (not being huge fans of really slow songs) chose to swing to “You’re the One” by the Vogues for our first dance. The dress was perfect, flaring and moving with me as my new husband spun me around the floor. For our Father Daughter Dance, my dad and I swung to “Poetry In Motion” by Bobby Vee. I felt like I had gone back in time to an era full of music that I loved and dresses that were to die for.
At the beginning of my reception, I wore a huge, sparkly necklace and had my hair down. However, as the dancing continued, I got very hot and soon had to shed the necklace and pull my hair back. The dress’s beauty stood up to all of my wardrobe changes. It was a classic ivory backdrop that I could do almost anything with.
It was in that rose lace dress that my husband carried me through the doorway of our apartment later that night. The dress now hangs in my closet, a beautiful reminder of not only of the day I married the man of my dreams, but of the classic 1950s style that I sought to embody and succeeded in embodying that day, thanks to Unique-Vintage.
xo, Maria Cook
Maria is a 23-year-old graduate student in Butler University’s creative writing program. She loves swing dancing to rock and roll from the 1950s and is in love with all things vintage; especially Unique-Vintage.com.