Wedding Dress

Album: Some Mad Hope (2007)
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Songfacts®:

  • Matt Nathanson writes very personal songs, which took a high emotional toll when his marriage was falling apart. In "Wedding Dress" he remembers his vows ("to have and to hold") and thinks about how he broke them. A key line is, "Thought I lost you, I gave you away," which is him taking responsibility.
  • Unsurprisingly, some people play this song at their weddings without knowing or caring what it's really about. In a 2022 Songfacts interview with Matt Nathanson, he talked about how he feels about this. "I think it's great that anybody likes anything that I made," he said. "I used to think you can't interpret this as a love song, it's about divorce, near-divorce. But what I've realized is human beings see things only the way they want to see things. If the past five years have taught me anything, it's that people can take factual information, if it's very clear-cut, and make it about anything they want. I'm just psyched that the music moved them enough for them to interpret it any way they want to interpret it. I used to think, I'm not doing my job right. But no, people misinterpret the Constitution, people misinterpret the Bible. I'm psyched just to be thought of in any way."
  • The song started off with the title "Winter Dress" and was about a different person. As it developed, Nathanson changed it to "Wedding Dress" and made it about his wife.
  • In a 2020 livestream, Nathanson talked about this song: "It's about how difficult it felt to be out of control in that situation. To be married and be all that stuff. I wasn't a team player until about eight years ago. I certainly wasn't when I made that song."
  • In the lines:

    Been jealous of the moon
    For how it moves the waves


    the first line comes from a 2005 Nickel Creek song called "Jealous Of The Moon." Nathanson discovered it when looking over the track list on Nickel Creek's Why Should The Fire Die? CD.
  • "Wedding Dress" is part of Nathanson's sixth album, Some Mad Hope, which got him some long-deserved exposure thanks to the hit "Come On Get Higher." The album follows a path, with each song pertaining in some way to Nathanson's crumbling marriage. It ends on a hopeful note with the song "All We Are," where he comes to his wife with contrition, determined to work things out. Indeed, he and his wife did stay together.

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