My wedding helped me decide what to do with my dress

Guest post by Sabrina

943218_10151471284063003_102511899_nBefore the wedding I spent a fair amount of time wondering what to do with my gown after the wedding. Trash the dress shoot? Shorten for later use? Save for a possible future daughter? How could I ever decide?

My biggest pull before the wedding was to save it forever in case I had a daughter that might want to wear it. My step-daughter is already my height at 11 years old, so I can't imagine she would fit in it when the time comes. My mother saved her dress but it didn't fit me. I was too small in the bust and too big in the hips and it just really wasn't particularly flattering on me. It also wasn't what I imagined The Dress to be. And we might not ever have another daughter!

I think by NOT holding onto my dress for another daughter it frees up my future potential daughter to make her own vision and not worry about hurting my feelings by not wearing the dress that I saved forever for her.

Trashing the dress in a shoot sounded fun and all, but dry cleaning is expensive y'all.

But on my wedding day, it all became clear.

I decided I was going to keep it and I was going to shorten it. My seamstress pointed out at one of our appointments that the dress would make a fabulous short, tight, sexy dress — cutting it off above the knee. This idea sounded enticing to me from the beginning but CUT MY DRESS? AHH!

Then my wedding came. And I spent my day in the most insanely beautiful garment I have ever worn in my entire life. I felt like a queen and a goddess and a fairy tale and a rock star. I felt like a million bucks. I didn't want to take the dress off. I wanted to camp out and live in that dress forever.

It was then that I thought, “There is no way I could never wear this dress again.” I had such a deep response to the way that dress made me feel — I should absolutely wear it again.

I am going to wear the shit out of that dress. And I'm going to feel like a million bucks every time — until I outgrow it. When that time comes, I'll probably dry clean it and put it aside.

Maybe some day a girl in my family WILL want to wear it. Maybe it will be a girl that's totally into short dresses.

Shorten it? Donate it? Ritualistic burning ceremony? What are you planning to do with YOUR dress after the wedding?

Comments on My wedding helped me decide what to do with my dress

  1. I’m in the same boat you were in… what to do, what to do?? I hope my choice becomes clear as yours did 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. So far all I know is that after our morning ceremony I will be wondering around DC in it the rest of the afternoon/evening. Most likely a patch sized portion is going to be cut from somewhere and put onto Clay’s studded punk jacket.

    Other than that…I’m still up in the air. Part of me thinks “trash the dress, fuck yes.” but then wouldn’t know what to do for said session. Another part thinks “oh I’ll make a quilt out of it.” but knows that I don’t own a sewing machine and probably won’t for years to come. We aren’t having kids so obviously that isn’t an option….I hope other ladies have some fab ideas because I apparently don’t! xD

  3. Part of the reason I’m getting my dress made custom, and part of why it is the design that it is, is so I can (hopefully) wear it to Pennsic in the future, or at the very least, the local renn faire. A talented seamstress and good friend of mine is trying to work out a reproduction of a 14th century gothic fitted dress because I am beyond absolutely in love with it. I couldn’t imagine trying to reconcile a wedding dress with my regular wardrobe; I don’t dress up often enough, or to a great enough degree, for even the shortening of a gorgeous gown to work out well for me, and I didn’t want to dress *down* my wedding gown so that I could wear it day-to-day, so I thought about what would get the most love as a special event garment. FH loves LARPing, but that calls for more mobility, and, again, kinda limits my options. I’ve been nannying at Pennsic for my cousin’s daughter for two years running now, and FH and I hit up the local renn faire as often as funds allow, so something renaissance-y was perfect, plus, as far back as I’ve imagined a wedding, I’ve imagined the shindig we’re planning now– a historical/fantasy affair. There was just no part of it that WASN’T perfect, and it all works.

    • yay Pennsic folks!

      and I think a cotehardie could make a fantabulous wedding dress!

    • Totally want to see your dress now. That sounds fabulous. As a frugal person, reuse through ren faire sounds like a super win and makes me feel a little better about spending money on an otherwise one time-event dress (also not having kids).

  4. and you know what else, i saw someone make part of their dress into a skirt for a bassinet. it was really cute. so you can save the stuff you cut off for that. or baptismal gowns, if you’re into that.

    great idea. 🙂

    • That’s a great idea. I think I’ll shorten mine and make the extra fabric into a skirt for a bassinet. You just saved my sanity!

    • This is an awesome idea! I am toying with shortening mine but wanted to make some sort of keepsake out of it but couldn’t come up with a good one, a baptismal gown would be PERFECT!

    • Late to this, but it has always been our (big, loud, Irish-Catholic) family tradition that part of the dress goes into the making of a bassinet skirt, christening gown, or First Communion dress for your own child or god-child.

  5. For those of you wondering what to do with the dress after your wedding, please also consider giving your wedding dress to charity.

    On top of helping a charity, you are also helping a fellow bride feel beautiful on her big day, and that’s something.

    I suggest Brides Against Breast Cancer, but there are many more that do wedding gown sales as a way to raise funds.

    • Yes, this! I bought my dress from a thrift store that donates to hunger relief.

    • Brides Across America gives wedding dresses to military brides whose intendeds are currently deployed or going to be deployed!

  6. If you’re going with a non-white dress (mine was rose pink) you can donate to other charities as well. I gave mine to a group that donates dresses to low income girls for prom. They don’t have the money to afford a dress and otherwise might not get to go.

  7. Because my dress was hand made by me, turquoise dupioni silk and handmade flowers, I see it as a piece of art. And along my husbands stunning hand made vest, the dress is displayed on the front of our guest room. I love seeing it!

  8. I plan to shorten my dress and wear it again, hopefully all the time. That was one criteria I used for dress shopping. My dress has some black detail on an ivory dress, and I plan to dye the skirt black, while leaving the top white. The neckline is a halter with a black band, and a black bow tie. I’m going to cut it off to about knee length. It’s going to look amazing.

  9. I know a woman who re-wears her wedding dress every year on her anniversary. Its cut like an evening dress anyway, so she and her husband have a tradition where they go out to dinner and she wears it! I love it!

    • We do this too! My dress was tea-length, and my husband wore khaki pants and a navy blazer, so it works out quite nicely.

    • That “bing!” sound you heard was the light bulb going on over my head 🙂 My dress would be PERFECT for that – thanks so much for this idea!

  10. My grandmother turned her dress into two christening gowns for her first two children. It kind of makes me sad that the dress isn’t still intact and preserved, but we have pictures and it was much more useful reborn into something new than stuck in a dusty box.

    My mother’s first wedding dress was a family gown, passed around between three or four brides. After the last one, it got preserved incorrectly and bleached, ruining it. My mom saved the scraps from a dusty box in my great-grandmother’s closet and has been rescuing the beaded lace. She has hand sewn some onto organza drawstring bags and filling them with lavender as gifts to the original wearers of the dress. And the daughter of the original owner recently got married and used some of the lace to wrap her bouquet.

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