Everyone has a guilty pleasure, and mine is weddings — especially wedding reality TV shows. We’re talking "Say Yes to the Dress," "Four Weddings," "Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids," "Something Borrowed Something New," and "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta." You name an episode, I’ve probably seen it. Most girls in high school were out partying on Friday nights, and I was curled up on my couch celebrating TLC’s "Friday Bride-day." I probably know as much about wedding dresses as each wedding dress boutique consultant. Tulle, dropped waist, and mermaid are words that are common to me, and after a while, spending thousands of dollars on a one day dress seemed pretty normal.
My junior prom was my favorite part of high school, because I got to practice for a wedding that, at the time, I thought wasn’t too far in the future. I wore glitter in my hair, piled on the sparkly jewelry, and wore a huge tulle ball gown with a sweetheart neckline, a corset back, and beading on the bust and waist. Since I was a little girl, I’d wanted to have a day that I looked like a princess, and getting dolled up like Cinderella felt like a perfect first step.
My best friend and I would spend full days putting together our “wedding boxes.” Included in mine is a book full of dress and flower pictures, dried rose petals, and blue flower bobby pins. The woman who taught the abstinence class I attended as a teenager wrote letters to a man she didn’t know and gave them to her husband as a wedding gift. So, we took on the same task, and I have a small bundle of letters written by 16 year old Alaina to “my future husband.” Tucked under my bed, lay a pile of bridal magazines with folded edges on my favorite pages. I have seen more wedding themed movies than I can count, and I cry at every single one.
Recently I walked by a bridal salon with two of my friends, and one of them asked if we could go in, look around, and pretend that I was getting married. When I asked why I had to be the pretend bride, she responded that I’ve always been the one that looks like a glowing new bride. I laughed, but cringed. My mom got married when she was 19, but even at 21, I feel too much like a kid to devote spending my life with one person.
Since leaving my previous relationship, I’ve outgrown my wedding obsession. I still adore the white dresses, decorations, and diamonds, but now I want to reach the point of being okay with a marriage and not just an expensive party. In fact, I think I’d be okay with a courthouse wedding now, provided I find the right person to marry. In the meantime, I hope to make plans for myself and focus on what I want, instead of training myself to be someone’s wife. I’ll also secretly still be home on Friday nights, drinking wine and watching "Say Yes to the Dress." Lace, tulle, and sparkles will never get old to me.