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True Life: I Don’t Know How to Dress Myself [or my Guy]

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Heather McCoy

So of all things in this crazy wedding-planning process, so far the engagement session is stressing me out the most! Go figure, right?


It’s T minus 3 days until our session, so I thought I would give our photographer a ring to see where we should meet, what time, what I should wear, etc. I am generally pretty low-maintenance (as is she), so I had not thought much about this process ahead of time. I figured I would just throw on a favorite outfit and wear my hair real nice that day. Right?

To pick my engagement photo outfits, I did a fashion show for myself by trying on different outfit combinations and having Jon take pictures. It seems silly, but it helped me figure out how things actually looked on film (in pixels?) instead of just how I envisioned them looking in my head.

It is during this conversation that she implies that many brides get their hair and nails done for this session (two things I’ve never done in my life) and that we should bring about 4-5 outfits [each] to the shoot.


It is also during this time that my groom-to-be disavows any responsibility/interest he may have had in the whole process, and his favorite phrase becomes “That’s all you, dear.” (Translation? I take no responsibility for dressing myself.) Great.


Cut to me flipping out as I wade through his closet—a sea of over-sized shirts he has stockpiled since a time when he weighed significantly more than he does now. His definition of “fitting” is anything that physically goes on his body and doesn’t restrict his movement, so a sleeve seam that starts partway down his arm doesn’t raise any alarms in his mind.


This will not stand.


Of course my Executive Vice President of Bridal Affairs—and resident fashionista—tells me not to stress out about this process. I do, after all, dress myself every day, do I not?


Valid point.


But I do not dress myself every day for pictures that will be all over the Internet/photographer’s website and potentially displayed in people’s homes (ok…probably just our house, but still…)! I also have no idea to dress a man. Women are masters at changing up outfits with accessories (jewelry, decorative belts, dressy shoes, purses, etc.), but what do men have? Hats?


So after an arduous emergency trip to Kohl’s (thank you, end-of-season sales!), we had some trusty solid-colored polos, dress shirts, and khakis that [hopefully] didn’t clash with my Lisa-Frank-inspired closet. Jon had already called dibs on his signature fedora(s), so I tried to work that into the collection while including a mix of different “levels” of clothing. The bed quickly disappeared under a mish-mash of clothing, necklaces, belts, and scarves, while the floor was littered with hangers and shoes. Hurricane E-Session had arrived.


After several days of fretting, re-arranging things, and asking useless questions like “Does my butt look good in these pants?” I have several outfit selections I am [somewhat] confident in.


I still had some issues with figuring out the combination of our two outfits—the photographer had warned me against “matching” as opposed to “coordinating”—but I think they came out OK in the end.


Am I the only one that struggles with this process?


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Heather McCoy

is a lifelong learner who works in higher education and overanalyzes everything. She got married in May 2012 - read her wedding planning posts here.