10403520_10204952502791164_7088263410153714546_nI tried on the white gowns at David’s Bridal. They looked nice but felt boring. None of them felt exciting when I tried them on and looked in the mirror. My favorite was one of their designer ball gowns with a corset top, but it was white and didn’t come in other colors. This would probably be the fanciest dress I would ever buy and I wanted to genuinely love it. White is just not my color.

I thought back to the Quinceañera dresses we saw all over Mexico during our last long sailing trip. Now those were exciting dresses, always in bright colors like turquoise, pink, red, yellow, cobalt blue, even lime green and always with a ruffled, poofy skirt and fitted, sparkly top.

I tried on a couple Quinceañera dresses at a store in Phoenix and fell in love with them, but they had very limited styles in stock. I looked through the catalog, lusting after all the dreamy dresses. To have one of these dresses I would need to order it without being able to see it or try it on beforehand…scary.

IMG_6981 (Large)I was fixated on these Quinceañera dresses, so I decided to order one sight unseen. It could always be altered if it didn’t fit. We would be travelling around Alaska all summer and I wouldn’t get to see this dress until two weeks before the wedding. Also, no returns are allowed on these dresses. This was a risky purchase. Feeling nervous, I placed an order for my dream dress – a red, strapless ball gown. I waited in suspense for my arrival back in the lower 48 to try on the dress on for the first time.

Thankfully, it worked out. The dress was gorgeous, very well made, and fit well. It needed just one simple alteration – the installation of an eye hook at the bottom of the corset in the back. I was so relieved! The moment I put it on, I felt excited. All the waiting and risking had been worth it for the opportunity to wear this dreamy dress.

DSCN0927 (Large)When the big day came, the dress felt really luxurious as it rustled in huge folds around my body. It was incredibly fun to wear! My little four year old niece and flower girl loved twirling herself into the huge folds of the skirt, and I loved the feeling of being surrounded by all that fabric. I felt confident and energized while wearing all that red. The dress seemed to somehow transfer its passionate hues to its wearer, making me feel even bolder than usual.

Here is some advice to anyone who fantasizes about wearing a big, bold wedding dress:

10592727_10204941806283758_6867401583946921794_n (Large)1. Don’t tell too many people beforehand about your dress. Once you start telling people the word will spread quickly. Only your close friends will ask about your dress anyway, others will just assume it will be white or ivory. I found the surprise factor to be a lot of fun when I appeared at the wedding wearing, surprise, red!

2. If you can’t find your dress locally, at least try on a similar style to see if it works for you.

10644643_10203405747002403_3907807511461326569_o (Large)3. Pick the right color for you. A big dress in a bright color requires a big personality to pull off. Ask a friend to help you choose a color that suits your personality and looks great on you.

4. If your dress has a corset, ask a friend to go with you to pick up the gown so they know how to lace the corset on the big day.

5. Get a dress that’s well made. The non-traditional look is easier to pull off when your dress is top quality. My dress was made by a company called Quinceañera Collection and it weighed a full eight pounds. I was really impressed with the fabric, construction and details of my dress.

6. Just do it! If you want a wedding dress that is bold and beautiful, honor yourself by wearing that dress which sings a song only you can hear. You’ll be glad you did.


Lisa Hackett

About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. Seriously. More

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer.
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About the Van

Hi, I’m Vanifest. I’m a big, 4x4, off-the-grid van complete with solar panel for power. I'm a 2000 Dodge Ram Van and Lisa has had me since 2009. Read more about me here.


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