that bridesmaid dress (or the time my friend Heidi and I went viral)

This post does not feature a book. It stars a bridesmaid dress. (Keep reading for the takeaway.) 🙂

Back in June, I posted this on Facebook:

In under an hour, my bridesmaid Heidi sent a collage to me in the comments. I thought it was too good not to share, so I posted this:

People went CRAZY over that post. Heidi and I were interviewed by tons of websites, and we both appeared on our local news stations.

BuzzFeed picked it up. Then Huffington Post. Scary Mommy. The Knot. Babble. Little Things. People I Want to Punch in the Throat. Hello Giggles. Quirky Momma. TV shows Kathie Lee & Hoda and Pickler & Ben…. EVEN GEORGE TAKEI FROM STAR TREK POSTED ABOUT IT.

Before Heidi and I knew it, millions of people saw my 1995 wedding pictures and photos of present-day Heidi in her off-the-shoulder burgundy brocade gown.

And the pattern was apparently very popular in the mid-nineties because women from all over the nation soon posted pictures of their bridal parties decked out in a version of the same bridesmaid dress.

Jessica McClintock is to blame. 🙂

So WHY did I share this information on Picture Book Builders?

Because what Heidi did in TWO SENTENCES and FOUR PICTURES connected with people.

That should be a big goal for writers and illustrators. You should want your stories and your art to connect with others. Your job is to come up with material that resonates with readers. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Surprise them. Trigger a memory. Make your readers feel something.

They’ll be glad you did.


WINNER:  Tracy Hora is the winner of the Pug & Pig Trick or Treat giveaway!


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Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children's book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. Getting kids excited about reading and writing is Tammi's passion. Her other passion is mango tea. In addition to winning awards and garnering starred reviews, Tammi's books have gone on to do great things. Nugget & Fang was made into a musical that toured the nation. To date, the show has been performed more than 150 times. Wordy Birdy was named a Spring Kids' Indie Next pick, a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and a Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Month. Your Alien, an NPR Best Book of the Year, was released in Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and French which makes her feel extra fancy. Tammi's latest books include Nugget & Fang Go to School, The Farm that Mac Built, and Not Now, Cow. There are many more books on the way. To learn more about Tammi, visit her site at


  1. Not to underscore the message you’re sharing today, which is so important, but oh my goodness, the Facebook post! So awesome! BTW my sister’s bridesmaid dresses were also this style. As maid of honor, I wore light pink and the rest of the girls wore peach. 🙂

  2. Sorry, I meant “not to undermine the message.”

  3. So funny, Tammi! When I saw it on Twitter, I immediately (along with probably almost every woman that saw the post) connected with the image and the words! Yes, great advice to try to do the same in our PB’s! 🙂

  4. The way this took off was a riot! Loved everything that went with it – the message in this post today!

  5. This is the best! Loved seeing it on Facebook the first time around. And well said, about connecting with your audience 🙂

  6. We should all have a friend like Heidi. I was once a bridesmaid and all three of us wore colors that coordinated with the reception food. One wore orange to match the cake’s roses. One wore yellow to match the cookie frosting. I wore lime green to match the punch. How lucky was I.

  7. Those wedding photos were adorable then and now. And what a sense of humor Heidi has!

  8. It also goes to show you the power of social media when you do connect with people! And making people laugh is very powerful! 🙂

  9. I LOVE it! Exactly right on the dresses…mine were peach. Bright peach. Sigh. What were we thinking? LOL

  10. Absolutely hilarious! What a treasure of a friend to have in Heidi!

  11. This is the best! Cheers to you and Heidi.

  12. I remember that post on FB! How cool so many people saw it. Wow, yes, as someone already said, the power of social media. And great writing tip. Thanks!

  13. Avatar
    Kathy Cornell Berman

    Such a hilarious post. It lives on today with an important reminder of why we write. And our good friends are gold. Thanks Tami.

  14. Great post, Tammi! And that collage Heidi did was/is hilarious. Thanks!

  15. Love this so much! thanks again for sharing!

  16. I remember this viral post and was reminded that I was a bridesmaid in a shorter, purple version of the same dress about 22 years ago!

  17. Back when you posted this on Twitter, it made me SOOOO happy! It’s so cool to hear that it did for so many others too! Really fun way to make an awesome point about storytelling.

  18. This was just too funny and clever. So glad it got posted for everyone to giggle over.

  19. Heidi obviously has a wonderful sense of humor. Soooo funny! And great point about connecting!

  20. This hysterical!! And, yes, I wore one in sea foam green as a bridesmaid. Thanks also for the win of Pig and Pug Trick or Treat!

  21. Wouldn’t it be great if every bridesmaid got that kind of mileage out of her dress!!!! Not to mention all the money spent on a bridal dress worn once. Or is it sacrilegious to not be sentimental about that dress??

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