Dress up Doll

I was out for dinner with a group of girlfriends last week. Of the six of us, four are married and two are engaged and getting married in March (including yours truly).

So, as the conversation often does these days, talk turned to weddings – specifically dresses.

Through the process, I haven’t been particularly sentimental about my dress. The things that have always mattered to me are photos, food and music – in that order. Everything else is either gravy, or something I’ve told myself is required to make the other things as perfect as possible. And since (in my mind) beautiful wedding photos include a beautiful bride in a beautiful wedding dress, the dress is not unimportant.

But I’m still not sentimental about it. It’s an outfit for one day – but what then? I always figured that as soon as my wedding dress is back from the cleaners, it’s ebay all the way. Or consignment. Or charity. Or anything but a big bag in the back of the closet or a box under the bed.

A big chunk of our dinner conversation that night though, was sharing stories of trying on our mom’s wedding dresses. We all did it. We all couldn’t believe people wore things so awful (our moms got married in the 70’s). We all couldn’t believe our moms were so tiny, because these dresses were a bit big when we were 12, almost perfect in our teen years, and we wouldn’t have a hope in hell of fitting into them now (which is probably for the best, considering the aforementioned fugly factor).

All of the ladies I was out with that night (with the exception of the other betrothed, obviously) have kept their dresses. The dresses aren’t the puffy princessy traditional tafetta monstrosities that pepper the bridal runways and magazines. And I don’t think of any of the women as particularly traditional, mushy or sentimental (and I don’t think they really think of themselves that way about most things) – but they all agreed that they have really strong affections toward their dresses and wouldn’t dream of getting rid of them. The other bride-to-be at the table agreed with that point of view, already thinking about where to store her dress post-ceremony.

In fact, if I really think about it, I have friends who have bought wedding gowns for weddings that didn’t even happen, and are still sentimentally attached to and have the dresses (and wear them every once in a while for kicks).

Try as I might though, I can’t really bring myself to feel like I’ll miss my dress if it goes.

My biggest pull for keeping it now is the thought that I could be robbing my future potential, hypothetical daughter of having the same conversation with her friends about trying on her mom’s wedding dress.

So what about all y’all? Did you ever try on your mom’s wedding dress? If you’re married, did you have a firm vision of what you wanted to do with your dress afterward? Did you do it? Are you not yet married (or even thinking about it) and still have visions of the perfect nuptial frock and its fate? Do you know what your wife did with her dress? Do you hold any superstitions around getting rid of a wedding dress? Whaddya think?

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10 thoughts on “Dress up Doll

  1. Jeremy

    Nope, I can’t say I’ve ever tried on my mom’s wedding dress… And never having been married, I can’t answer the part about what my (hypothetical) wife did with it.

  2. donna

    As one of those who still has her dress, and only ever wears it for kicks… I don’t have an iota of sentimentality attached to it. I kept it because by the time I canceled the wedding, it was either keep it or lose my deposit. At the time, I figured I would probably end up getting married eventually, so at least I’d be a step ahead. (How’s THAT for a lack of sentimentality? I was willing to wear a dress I’d purchased for another wedding…)

    Anyway, by the time I decided that marriage wasn’t in the cards for me, it was too late to sell the dress (evidently consignment stores won’t take anything more than 2 years old, so don’t delay!)) so I figured I may as well get some use out of it. Like Halloween.

    As for my mothers (first) wedding dress, it likely wouldn’t fit me… she’s taller than me by a long shot, and she was 5 months pregnant with me at that wedding. Second wedding, well, she was in her 30s, still taller than me, and bigger too. We ended up adjusting her dress for my aunt’s wedding. God only knows where it wound up. Third wedding… that one was just a few years ago. She wore pants. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Kimli

    My mom got married in a light blue polyester pant suit, and she was 8.5 months pregnant.

    The ordeal of getting my dress was a horrible nightmare. I plan to have a “trash the dress” day, once I reach my goal of fitting into it again.

  4. Jean

    My wedding dress went to the rubbish tip when we divorced (think big, 80’s shoulderpads eek!)
    Second wedding was a grey trousersuit which hangs in the wardrobe and is now slightly too big yay!
    I never saw my Mum’s dress as it was cut up to make a neighbours daughter a christening gown before I was born so no great sentiment there I guess.

  5. Hannah

    I can’t say I’m particularly excited about the idea of having a wedding gown. I will obviously have one when I get married, because what else does one wear on such an occasion? And I suppose it will be white, and long, because that’s what wedding dresses generally look like. And it will not be puffy or sparkly or cutesy. And I will probably either sell it or give it away when I’m done with it. I’m not sentimental enough to keep it, and I doubt my daughters, if I have any, will care.

  6. Darren

    Julie wore her grandmother’s dress (slightly modified) for our wedding. She has a taste for vintage clothes, so that was totally appropriate and cool. Plus, incidentally, very easy on the pocket book.

    We also have my grandmother’s very cool cream-coloured suit that she got married in in about 1940.

    How’s this for unsentimental? Julie’s parents are divorced, and she used the (presumably cursed) diamond from her Mom’s ring for her wedding band. Again, easy on the pocket book and hurray for not buying a blood diamond (a likely scenario, because I didn’t know about such things when we got married, back in the mesozoic era).

  7. April

    I also tried on my mother’s 1971 wedding dress. I was five and my mother took photos to commemorate..remind me to burn them later.

    I’m not married yet but I feel basically the same way you do, I think the dress is important but I don’t really feel like I’ll be missing out on anything if I don’t keep it afterwards..why take up space. My prom dress from 1997 is still in storage at my parent’s place for pity’s sake, why add more to the mess.

    Regardless of what I think, its a personal decision, I have friends who kept thier dresses and that’s fine for them, I would rather see it make someone else’s big day a little more special then have the hermetically sealed box its in collecting dust in my storage room for who knows how long. Do whatever you feel is right for you, its your day.

    P.S. I’ve never heard of any superstitions associated with not keeping your wedding dress.

  8. Crissy

    My mom got married in a simple, short white cocktail-type dress when her & my dad eloped in the 60’s. The dress never stuck around (which is too bad, really, as it was a really cute dress!)

    As for my dress, it was really simple and doesn’t take up much room. I was able to roll it up and carry it to Italy for our wedding in a small carry-on bag! It doesn’t take up much room at all, and I still just love it, so I’m hanging onto it for now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I don’t ever expect a child to wear it or anything like that – it’s not something that I plan on “handing down”, I’m not into that sort of thing. I just really love my dress, so there’s no way I could part with it right now. Maybe later … just not yet!

    (pics: http://sockmonkey75.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_archive.html)

  9. Derek K. Miller

    I think my mom still has her dress, though I never tried it. However, by total coincidence, when one of my wife’s good friends got married, her second-hand dress was the EXACT SAME DESIGN as my mom’s from 1965. (It was before the fashion apocalypse of the ’70s.)

    My daughters have each tried on my wife’s dress (from 1995) several times. It hangs in one of our closets, and I think there may still be some goose poop stains on it from the grass next to Deer Lake in Burnaby, where we took our photos after the ceremony.

  10. erin

    If I get married, and that is a huge if, I don’t want a wedding dress. I’ll wear a dress, and since it will be my wedding, I suppose it technically will be my wedding dress, but I don’t plan to wear white and I don’t plan to buy it at a bridal shop.

    I just cannot fathom spending money on a dress that I’ll wear once. I’m either too cheap or not sentimental enough or I have too much practicality and can think of many more ideas for the money.

    I never tried on my mum’s wedding dress because she also did not get married in white, and she probably got rid of the outfit once it no longer fit or she found she didn’t wear it anymore. I guess practicality runs in the family.

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