Monday, January 25, 2010

Will your daughter wear your dress?

My mom's dress was the first wedding dress I tried on. Ever, and also after we got engaged.
I'm not gonna lie to you guys. It wasn't pretty.
Lets start with some simple numbers. My mom was a size 3 in 1975 when she got married. I was a size 8 in 2010 sizes.
If it was just an issue of sizing, it probably could be dealt with. However, it was also an issue of...well, everything. The long sleeves, where the waistline fell, how even though the waist was at the natural waist, the lace overlay on the bodice came to my hips. I love the idea of wearing the same dress that my mother and my grandmother wore. But I hated the idea of feeling fat and dumpy in my wedding dress. It's a beautiful dress, and my mother looked stunning, and someday I might post pictures of my parents' wedding. Today, sadly for you, is not that day.
But I saw this post on Eco Chic Weddings and it talked about picking classic styling so that somebody else can wear your dress.

(Lets pretend for a second that this short dress fit me and looked good. Do I think for a second that my daughter would want to wear it in 30 years? No.)
The thing is though, there is simply no guarantee that my daughters will want to wear my dress. Or that I will have girls at all. (There is even less guarantee I will have a cross-dressing son.) Or that my girls will have weddings. Or that we won't get divorced and my kids won't think my wedding dress has bad karma. Also, my dress doesn't have classic styling. So realistically, keeping the dress would be entirely sentimental. And man, that's a lot of closet space to devote to sentiment.
The answer, for me, on all fronts, seems to me to be the simplest: sell the dress after the wedding. Sell it to somebody else who wants the trendy styling now. Don't bank on your kids wanting to wear it. It's much greener to sell or donate your dress than to let it sit in your closet for your imaginary child to never wear. In my case, I doubt I would be able to get back more than half of what I paid for my dress if I sell it, but I get the added benefit of helping another girl get a really nice dress for a low price.

I'm curious to know though - what are other people's feelings about this? Why are you or aren't you keeping your dress?


  1. While I understand and appreciate the idea of donating the dress after the wedding, I just don't think I'll be able to bring myself to do it! I've always been sentimentally attached to objects and while it might scream of materialism, that's not the case for me. I just associate memories with objects and the dress will be one of those things I can't part with. Plus, after seeing my grandmother's wedding dress set up on a mannequin during their 50th wedding anniversary party, I've come to love the idea of having the dress so many years from now. Add that to the fact that my dress is a bridesmaids dress ordered in ivory for under $300 and I just don't think it's worth trying to sell it. I don't hold out many hopes that my daughters will one day wear my dress (for many of the reasons you listed) but I do want them to have the option.

  2. I think it's a great tradition but truthfully it doesn't work for everyone. I would never in a million years be able to fit into my mother's wedding dress!!! She was SO tiny. I could starve myself for 5 years and my hips still wouldn't fit!

    Like I said though I think it's a great tradition. If possible I might try to use my mother's "crown" that she wore. Maybe use the beading for a veil of my own.

    I wish I was as tiny as my mom - I love vintage feel weddings but I have a feeling that's just not me and I'd be forcing myself for the sake of tradition.

    :) I say wear what you want - at least when your daughter says "ARE YOU KIDDING ME MOM?" you'll remember how you felt trying to think about wearing your mom's dress :)

  3. I am going to wear my mom's dress in my upcoming wedding. Even though she got married in the eighties, when pretty much everyone had puffy-sleeved monstrosities, her dress is absolutely gorgeous, and I love it. It has long sleeves, a gorgeous neckline, beautiful lace detailing, and an enormous train. I guess it's a pretty "classic" dress, not really tied to any decade.

    In any event, I've planned to wear this dress my whole life, and I'm so glad my mom kept it. On the other hand, my sister absolutely hates the dress (for herself). She wants something stylish, offbeat, and totally her. It's probably a really good thing that we have different styles, so that we don't fight over who gets to wear it! (I guess two could wear the same dress, but most sisters don't want that.)

    So there's no guarantee that your daughter will like/want your dress... but if mine/my mom's is still in good shape after my wedding, I will definitely preserve it, just in case I ever have a girl who wants it.

  4. Or you could get a fabulous, fabulous outfit that doesn't scream "bride" and wear it on every possible occasion until it doesn't fit anymore. Every time you wear it, you'd be reminded of your wedding. I'm thinking a cute white cocktail dress for date night(on your anniversary, maybe?) or a silk shirtdress for garden parties.

    After all, grooms wear their wedding attire again and again-- why can't we do the same?

  5. I love my dress. Truly love it. I wish I could sell it and make some big bucks, but really I don't have the energy, plus its pretty unique and I don't know how many other ladies would like it. One girl I can almost garantee to not like it is my future child. Nothing is ever so timeless that it is still cool after 25 years. It's too new to be vintage, and too old to be still in style. It is the prefect age for something to be blech. I don't know what I am going to do with my dress. Right now it is hanging up in my guest room, but I really hope I don't still have it in ten years. I just don't have the space.

  6. I purchased my dress through Brides Against Breast Cancer. It seemed like a worthy cause, for sure, and I knew I wouldn't carry a lot of sentiment to my gown, so the smaller price tags attached helped me feel good about spending my dough. :) I plan on having my dress cleaned after the wedding and shipping it back to BABC for another bride to wear, cherish, and rock out in. It just seems cool to me to share the funds for a great organization.

  7. My dress is a glorified sundress from an otherwise kind of frumpy retailer. It's cotton, but heavier, and with a slight bit of sheen, and it has a lining (there's cut-out embroidery and beading along the hem and one side of the neckline. When it came, it was WHITE, so I tea-stained it for a softer ivory tone, and it's perfect for our summer barbeque... AND for any other glorious spring/summer day.

    I will wear my dress until I wear it out.
    If I don't like the ivory forever or accidentally spill wine on it, I'll dye it purple next.

  8. I was planning on selling my dress until I mentioned it to my aunt, who had the best reason ever for keeping a dress. She slyly mentioned the well known fact that the modern couple does not have amazing sex the night of the wedding. However, keeping your wedding dress is the best role playing outfit ever thought up.

  9. I wore my mother's wedding gown in 1988; she wore it in 1957. I was taller but with flats it was fine, and I was smaller in the waist so we had it altered a bit. New modern but complimetary handmade headpiece and veil and I had a custom designer look for a few hundred dollars that would have cost several thousand. We were both gorgeous brides--everyone said so and the photos agree. Wearing it was especially heart stopping for my father--seeing me in the dress--really hit him--I look like my mother and he was so emotional and nostalgic he almost passed out.

    I still have the dress and hope it is well enough preserved for even a granddaughter to consider. Too many people do not even consider the ideal but they should as many older gowns are really much more classy than the strapless wonders everyone has been doing for the last 15 years.

    My sister did not look very good in the dress and she had no curves (the dress needed a small waist and something up top). She and I found her a gorgeous late 1980s gown (all beaded with the puffy sleeves). She married 8 months before me in 1987 and she had a shot at my mother's dress but she WANTED her OWN dress--she divorced after 19 years with no explanation of what was wrong with her marriage--just was not HAPPY. I hope her dress will not have bad Karma for her youngest daughter if she wants to wear the dress--it is gorgeous--hope time will mellow and heal the hurt karma. Google "Would you wear your mother's wedding dress" and look for a photo shoot of a gorgeous bride wearing her mother's dress in Atlanta two or three years ago.