Keeping the wedding dress

By definition mostly for the ladies, but gentlemen feel free to contribute whatever seems relevant.

So I’m watching one of those “get your life in order” shows earlier today and the big battles were over whether to keep a crib and the wife’s wedding dress. The crib I can sort of understand, the couple was young enough that it wouldn’t be terribly unlikely that they might have another child. The vehemence with which she fought for the dress, though, mystifies me. Obviously being a guy I’m not going to be spending any money on a wedding dress any time soon, and even should I get married at some point in the future I am likely to rent any special garments for the day. Anyone able to explain this level of attachment to a garment that is only going to be worn once? Did you save your dress? Why? What have you done with it?

My wife saved hers. The idea was that our daughter could wear it, which assumed 1) that we’d have a daughter; 2) that she would wear the same size and 3) that she’d want to use it. That never happened, but I know that the dress is still stored somewhere. :wink:

I saved mine. For our fifth wedding anniversary, I made us a nice dinner at home, and slipped into the dress right before serving. Still fit! I think it helps that mine was inexpensive ($175) and wasn’t made to be a “wedding dress”, but rather a fancy dress that just happens to be a soft ivory color. The only ornamentation is a panel of latticed lace down the back; from the front it looks like a scoop-neck, A-line long dress.

I’m not saving it for anyone; I don’t plan on having children, and it assumes that someone will both be my size and want to wear something that’s surely not in style at the time. Yet I suspect that most (American) women have mothers who saved their own dresses (mine did) with hopes that their daughter would wear it someday, perhaps.

My mom saved her wedding dress from the 60’s, hoping that my sister or I would want to wear it. My sister has never married and is unlikely to any time soon. When I got married I wanted my own dress. Besides that, her dress never would have fit me (she was straight as a board and I’m quite curvy), and I thought it was horribly outdated.

I liked my dress, I have lots of lovely photos from the wedding of me wearing it, but I didn’t feel a need to keep it. I only paid about $150 for it anyway, so it’s not like an heirloom or anything. I think I gave it to charity.

Sure, I saved it. At the time it was my only dress. (I was a telephone installer; they don’t wear dresses.)

Then, when I switched to the kind of job where I did occasionally wear a dress to work, I wore it to work. It was just a dress. Eventually I did have others. (Not many, though, as I am not really a dress person. I consider jeans to be pretty darn dressed up, as opposed to my sweatsuit or PJs.)

Then when it started getting frayed, I put it in a trunk. Every once in awhile I take it out to see if I can still fit into it, and I can.

The odd thing is, I never liked it. I kept looking and looking, then thinking I might have to get married in jeans because I couldn’t find the right thing. HE was wearing an embroidered Mexican wedding shirt, it didn’t seem to matter what I wore at all. I was thinking of chickening out of even getting married (as I’d done twice before), and finally I grabbed the only thing I could stand, basically, off a rack of Gunne Sax in which it was the only distinctive one. But I still didn’t like it.

God. The '70s.

I’m keeping my wedding dress but it’s not a big poofy white ballgown. Truthfully, it’s a cocktail dress made from four different layers of pale pink tuille. It was designed and custom-made by a young local fashion designer.

I wanted a dress I could wear again and again and this fits the bill. I couldn’t justify (to myself) spending 300 euros on something I’d only wear once.

My mom saved her wedding dress. I don’t know why because she probably realized about ten minutes after her wedding that it was already outdated. My parents were married in Berkeley in 1972 and every aspect of their wedding, including my mom’s wedding dress, has BERKELEY 1972 stamped all over it. The dress is white with Mexican embroidered flowers along the neckline. If a museum ever does an exhibit on Marriage Rituals of the Hippies, my mom could donate her dress. It’s hanging in a closet somewhere at my parents’ house, I think.

It’s one dress; it doesn’t take that much storage space. I have no plans to get rid of mine. It’s the nicest piece of clothing I’m ever likely to own, and I have such happy memories associated with it. I imagine women keep their wedding dresses for the same reason that parents keep christening gowns even after their babies are teenagers.

I know someone who made a quilt out of her wedding dress, which I thought was a cool idea.

I kept my dress for the same reason I kept my meal ticket from the time I was an extra in a movie and the first flower Dr.J ever gave me, even though those were just one-time things. They were one-time things that were special to me, and as such I have an emotional attachment to those objects.

You have to understand, for a lot of women their wedding dress isn’t just a dress they wore once. It’s tangible link to one of the biggest events in their lives, a symbol of everything they felt on that day, and they will fight tooth and nail to keep that link.

I have to wonder why it’s such a big stinkin’ deal if she wants to keep the dress. I mean, it can’t possibly be taking up that much room, and I’m sure the husband has his share of belongings that aren’t strictly useful but have sentimental value. Were they really so desperate for room that one article of non-essential clothing is such an issue?

Ahem. Just coming back in to clarify that Left Hand of Dorkness is not saving his wedding dress for sentimental reasons. He is, however, saving his wedding suit, largely because 1) suits are darn expensive and 2) it’s very hard for him to find clothes that fit well.

When we moved to this house ( last May ) I wanted to throw my wedding dress away. Hubby and my mom both had a fit, so it’s wadded up in a garbage bag in the back of the closet.

The issue wasn’t so much the dress, it was that she saying that it, along with mounds and mounds of other stuff (every stitch of baby clothing, a million photographs, the crib, and on and on) was extremely important to her but she wasn’t taking the proper care of it or any of her other sentimentally valuable items. The show is called Clean Sweep and the premise is to take the contents of two rooms that are completely out of control and unusable, work with a professional organizer to cull out the things that are taking up space needlessly, while a designer and a builder rework the space and the remaining items so that they are usable. These couples on the show typically have more stuff in their two rooms than most people have in their whole house. The organizer’s premise is if it’s important to you then treat it like it’s important (in this case, to get it professionally cleaned and stored in a proper container, rather than having it in a crappy plastic garment bag). If you’re not willing to treat it like it’s important then you should ask yourself if it’s really important enough to hold on to at all.

You don’t happen to work with Eats_Crayons, do you?

Well, in that light it makes a bit more sense, but in your OP only the dress and the crib are mentioned as being actual issues, you know? So I assumed that those were the two things that had engendered dissention in the ranks. Frankly, my mind boggled that after throwing out as much stuff as you have to get rid of to make it onto one of those shows, the husband would make an issue out of her wanting to keep one dress that can’t possibly be taking up that much room.

The crib was the huge issue. This woman was weeping at the idea of getting rid of it. Finally she was able to give it to a neighbor to pass on to a friend who had adopted a baby, but only on the condition that she got a photo of the new baby in the crib. That’s another thread entirely, because I can’t fathom being so attached to a crib either.

The discussion of the dress was the only other disagreement that got any significant screen time. The baby clothes they resolved by having her pick out three pieces and selling the rest at the yard sale they hold to get rid of the castoffs and the photographs were just completely unorganized.

Yes, that’s a pretty common practice, for moms to hold on to a few keepsakes of the time when their babies were babies without having so much stuff piled around they feel like Miss Havisham. My mom still has a couple of my little dresses from when I was a toddler, but only a couple.

People like to have things around that remind them of people they love, and I’d say just about everything that her baby(ies) used on a regular basis reminds her of her kid(s). It’s a matter of striking a balance between sentiment and practicality, with everyone having their own balance point. This lady’s point was so far to the sentiment side that she was completely unbalanced (in more ways than one, sounds like).

My daughters are currently wearing clothes that I wore 30 years ago. Really. Mom saved a few things, mostly stuff she’d made herself. I save a few things, mostly handmade stuff too. The bulk of the baby clothes I pass on to my brother who has an infant–if we have another girl, we can afford new baby clothes better than they can.

Anyway the point is that I think it’s good to save a few favorite or sentimental items, as long as you’re not keeping every grubby little onesie. :slight_smile: I can’t really see saving the crib as a huge deal, unless someone built it by hand–which probably isn’t legal.

I saved my wedding dress, which wasn’t big and poofy, but an ordinary long dress, only white silk with a little lace. My mom sewed it for me, my daughters or a new SIL might want to wear it, and it’s a lovely dress that reminds me of a wonderful day. The veil was borrowed, though, so I don’t have that.

My mom saved her dress, but she replaced the skirt with a smaller one so she could wear it. That skirt yellowed, sadly, so it’s no longer usable. My grandmother’s dress is still around, but quite tiny, so none of us can wear it. But I like to have it still in existence, just as I’m happy to have a blue velvet cloak of hers, and I’m glad my great-grandfather’s WWI uniform is still around (the whole thing, boots, revolver, and all!). They are nice pieces of family history, and they mean something to me.

Then again, I’m a quilter, and I do tend to be particularly attached to textiles. The librarian in me loves the documents, stories, and papers.

My friend’s mother hemmed up her wedding dress and let her daughters wear it for Halloween. Then they kept it in their dress-up clothes. (It was white cotton, with a sort of lacey, short sleeved top-the lace was made up of “daisies”, somehow-very 1970s, but very simple and pretty).

My mother kept our baby clothes because she and her sister-in-laws were always trading them back and forth. After my sister was born, though, and she grew out of them, my mom gave them to us to use for doll clothes. THAT was fun-all my friends were jealous because I had the best-dressed Cabbage Patch Kid around!


I’m keeping my dress for the same reasons as Mrs Left Hand of Dorkness. Plus, I hope it will be a family heirloom one day. Just because none of the brides who went before me thought to pass down their wedding gowns doesn’t mean that I have to discard mine too. If my descendants want to throw it out, that’s entirely up to them.

I know several people who’ve had christening gowns made out of their wedding dresses.

My wife saved her wedding dress, and 40 years later, our daughter-in-law will wear it for her church wedding to our oldest son.

We all think that is pretty neat! It is going to be nice to see the dress again…it fits well, except for needing a bit of expansion up top - I get to tease my wife a bit about that, but she really feels honored that our daughter-in-law wants to wear it, as do I.

As a bit of related information, my first date with my wife was at her parents 25th wedding anniversary…there was a ceramic couple (bride and groom) on top to the cake that they had. We used the same ceramic couple on our wedding cake 4 years later, and then our younger son and his bride used it on their wedding cake. My older son and bride will use it on their cake.

We are not a sentimental group generally, but having a few traditions and connections between generations is nice…so far we have tied 3 generations together, and that feels good.