The Wedding Dress of Wedding Dresses

I’m going to see it tomorrow!

I wouldn’t exactly say it’s the dress I would have chosen for my own wedding, but when I was 13 years old, watching this 1981 wedding in the early morning hours in the United States, it seemed like the most dreamy dress possible.

Even better, I got to watch the wedding with my mom, while my dad and brother slept ignorantly in their beds, uninterested in getting up in the middle of night to watch the wedding of two people they’d never met.

Every generation (of women) enjoys a British royal wedding or two. This one was mine. I loved that the dress, the wedding, the venue—everything—was completely over the top. I loved that the bride was in love (I suppose I thought the groom was, too, but I didn’t really think about it) and had found her prince. —Oh, and she rode to her wedding in a golden carriage driven by horses! When you’re 13, it really doesn’t get any better.

Diana’s dress is currently on tour at the Mall of America, and I’m going to see it tomorrow. I’m ridiculously excited. In a way, I’m that young teenager again.

The fact that the marriage failed badly makes the wedding day itself seem even more (I don’t know) touching for me. I realize how dumb this sounds, but in a way, the disaster of the marriage sort of symbolizes Diana’s loss of innocence and my own process of growing up. Eventually we all have to get realistic, which is exactly why I didn’t have a dress like this one. Most weddings aren’t fairytales and even princes sometimes turn out to be frogs! Knowing what we know now, isn’t the photo below almost terrifying? Talk about a lamb to the slaughter.

But how that bride, and that dress, filled St. Paul’s Cathedral on that day!

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