Keeping the wedding dress

I think it depends on the dress too.
For many women a wedding gown is the only garment they will ever own which was professionally altered and tailored to fit. It’s fairly easy to toss a rag you bought off the rack, but a little harder to part with a well-made dress in which you have stood for hours at multiple fittings while seamstresses pull, tuck and pin until it hugs in all the sweet spots, falls just right and sweeps the floor with a whisper. I’m not sure I’d be so quick to put a masking tape price tag on any such a dress, regardless of the occasion for which it was made.

We’re keeping the crib too, 'cause it’s a Stickley.

Offhand I’d guess it’s a combination of sentimental associations with overtones of heirloom value. ‘Value’, of course, being wildly variable, as previous posts have noted.
My mom was married in a slightly-dressier-than-usual suit, being from a much more frugal era, not to mention of modest means. Most weddings then–late 30’s–focused on the ceremony, not the trappings. My parents were married at the little local church, with a simple party afterwards at her home, with her mother and friends providing the food, decorations, etc. The whole shebang sounded pretty ideal to me.
Interesting, though, because she wanted things very different when my sister and I married. My mom, an excellent seamstress, made all the dresses for the wedding party when my sister married. Even though my she hand-made my sister’s wedding dress, mom was totally indifferent to what became of it afterwards. I wanted absolutely NO formal “wedding”, but reluctantly compromised on a slightly-“do” occassion. IIRC I bought a fairly nice, mildly floaty thing–knee length–in soft taupe that I might possibly wear again, but never did. Both dresses were pitched out years later without anything more than a passing “hmmm, oh well.”
Kinda funny, though. When I finally staggered through endless years of universities and degrees, my entire wardrobe consisted of jeans, sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc. Mom, the pack rat, casually unearthed a gorgeous ‘interview’ suit for me to wear: dove gray linen, beautifully tailored and it fit like a glove. A classic, suave, gorgeous thing. I nailed the job, slam outta the gate, and mom only mentioned much later, completely tossed-off, that she’d gotten married in that suit.
Hmmmm. There was probably a point buried in this reminesce, but I forgot what it was. But it might have been cogent, a few paragraphs back.

Wafting gently into senility,

It wasn’t quite outdated 10 minutes later, because I think my mom wore the same dress a year later. (Or something similar that also may as well have had BERKELEY 1973 emblazoned on the thing.)

She still has it.

I will never wear it. Not only because it’s looking more and more like I’ll never get married, nor because I couldn’t fit into it without extensive liposouction, but mostly because it’s incredibly not my style.

Still, assuming I do ever end up getting married, I cannot imagine not keeping my dress. My hope is that it would be a reminder of one of the most special days of my life.

I gave my wedding dress away to either Goodwill or Salvation Army after hanging on to it for about ten years. My friend wore it for her wedding a year after I got married.

I never wanted a traditional wedding, my husband talked me into it and then ignored me the whole night to hang around with his frat brothers outside of the hall. The majority of guests were his family and their friends. I was miserable the whole night. Any reminder of that night is gone. I even threw away all but a few wedding pictures.

Yes, eighteen and a half years later it still makes me angry.

I had mine shoved in the closet for about 3 years before it really started to bug me. I was annoyed over how much space it took up and how much I’d spent on something I’d only wear once. When I saw this organization on Oprah I jumped at the chance to send it to them.

They auction off wedding gowns and the proceeds go to granting the final wishes of people in terminal stages of breast cancer.

My mom saved hers, and then used to it make the christening dress that us kids worn. Then the gown was “loaned” to her younger sister to christen her kids in, and then it was lost or something. I was always a little disappointed by that, although we’re not planning on kids ourselves. If we changed our minds though, it would have been nice to have that dress. Now upon learning that Farmwoman has a Stickley crib, I’m drooling with envy and might reconsider the kid issue. (I jest, I jest, I know you’re not supposed to make that decision over furniture, but still, a Stickley!) I asked my mom once how she had come up with such a charming tradition, and she gave me the hairy eyeball and said “because we couldn’t AFFORD a christening dress.”

My mom also saved my dress, apparently she is more attached to it that I am, so she’s welcome to it. It’s more casual dress, not a gown, and in hindsight, it wasn’t the best choice. It really reeks of “here is a dress we are going to market to people as a casual wedding dress with a little jacket so that it could either have a suit sort of look, or without the jacket, a sun dress type look, and people will purchase it thinking that perhaps they could wear it again, but meanwhile back in reality, looking at objectively, it has BRIDAL INDUSTRY stamped all over it.” I remember thinking it was a good “middle of the road” type choice, in terms of style as well as finances, but I seen to have been delusional. If I could go back in time and do it again, I would rather get a completely non-bridal dress that could really be worn to other events, or just go whole hog and get the princess gown. So yeah, if my mom hadn’t claimed it, I wouldn’t have held on to it.

On the other hand, I still have my prom dress, which I love, and have no real hopes that anyone would ever want to wear it again so there is no practical purpose in keeping it. My prom was in the 80s, and it looks like a Laura Ashley vomit explosion. But I loved that dress, so I can see how people who loved their wedding dresses would want to keep them forever.

I was married in my mom’s wedding dress. (My older sister wanted to be but she’s two inches too tall and seven inches too big in the hips. Oops.) I still have it, it’s been vacuum sealed to prevent injury and if TeaDottir or Bride of TeaSon want to wear it, it’ll be there.

I can’t quite get being attached to a crib, but suggesting that this woman ought to give up her wedding dress because it’s not being stored in a manner of someone else’s liking seems callous and unnecessary, even by Clean Sweep standards. It isn’t a teddy bear “collection” or a bunch of old National Geographics.

I kept my wedding dress. Mine came from a consignment wedding shop and was just $300. I took it to a seamstress to have it fitted, and to have the train and all the beading removed. It was my second wedding, and I wanted a really simple dress. I liked the cut and design of this one, but I didn’t want a train, and it had all these drapey strings of beads that I hated.

After our wedding, I had it professionally cleaned and stuffed, and it’s hanging in a garment bag in the basement. Right next to my husband’s first set of turnout gear from when he became a volunteer firefighter 20 years ago. :slight_smile:

Well again, I don’t want to paint the picture that the organizer was wrenching the garment from the sobbing bride’s clutches or anything. His thing with it was that if it’s something of value then treat it like a thing of value. Ultimately the show picked up the tab for having the dress cleaned and boxed.

Now what was really creepy was the 18-inch tall doll replica of the bride in a miniature duplicate of the dress…<shiver>

I’ve saved my dress - and it was the poufy white ballgown type of dress (Very plain otherwise; no lace or sequins. But lots and lots of pouf. I LOVED it!)

My mother-in-law saved her wedding dress from the 60s - her daughter, my husband’s siter, didn’t wear it in her wedding. When my mother-in-law invited me to try on her dress during the engagement, I knew then for certain that she truly welcomed me into the family.

I doubt my daughter would ever want to wear my dress and I’ve never even looked at it since it came back from the cleaners, but I’ll keep it always - I loved every moment of my wedding and I loved being that girl in that time and place. I was happy Plus I think there is something unique about clothing that I wore on a special occasion or that I wore at a time in my personal history. I’ll just like I’ll always keep my poufy white dress, I’ll also never throw out the patched, embroidered and painted jeans from my neo-hippie college days because they were so me at the time.

I’m not married, so I can’t really say for me, but my grandma kept her wedding dress. She was married in 1954. My grandpa bought the material in Japan when he was on his way home from the Korean war. Her sister sewed it into a dress. Her other sister then wore the dress when she married. Then my mum wore the dress. Then my aunt. Then mum’s cousin (grandma’s sister’s daughter), then another aunt (uncle’s wife, actually).

It was my grandparent’s golden wedding anniversary about a month ago, and we took out the dress - it’s still in great condition. All the granddaughters tried it on and I think we’ll all be planning to wear the dress. Sadly, I’m too big to fit, but one of my sisters and some of my cousins looked great in it. My grandma was too frail to try it on, but I bet she would have still fit. She died weeks later (a week ago), and the photos of her with each of the granddaughters as they tried on the dress will be such precious memories for all of us, especially as she didn’t live long enough to see any of us get married.

There’s something really special about having the dress that your grandma and mum (and everyone else!) both got married in.

Those of you who intend on preserving your dresses need to make sure you have it stored in the proper materials, or you’ll be sorry one day. Cardboard, and ordinary plastics can stain clothes, and keeping the dress hanging isn’t all that good for it either.

The ideal situation is to have the (cleaned) dress padded out with acid-free tissue paper, and laid flat in an acid-free box. If folding is a must, the folds should be padded out as much as possible to avoid the fibers breaking down over time. At the very least, wrap the dress in a clean white 100% cotton sheet before placing it in a box to keep it from touching the cardboard. Remove any pins that may be in the fabric to keep them from making rust stains.

Store it in an area where the temperature and humidity are fairly constant. Do not-- I repeat-- Do NOT store your dress in the attic or any other place where temperatures can get extreme.

For those of you who don’t necessarily want to keep the dress, but hesitate to dispose of it, I suggest that you offer it to your local museum or Historical Society. If they’re anything like the museum in which I work, they have very few examples of modern wedding dresses. (For some reason, people think we won’t be interested unless the item is fifty years old, not realizing, of course, that it will be an antique someday, and we’d rather get 'em while they’re young so we can take proper care of them, rather than lamenting when people turn the item in to us 50 years from now in deplorable shape.) Put together a nice little package which includes some photos of your wedding, a little geneaology (at least of your parents, his parents and a little biographical information) a copy of your wedding announcement, and perhaps an invitation.

The house I bought came complete with a wedding dress. That wasn’t one of the selling points, of course, but I found it in the attic crawlspace a few months later. I obviously have no need for a wedding dress and no way of contacting the old owners (who moved out of state and I’ve no clue where they are) but I’d still feel like a cad throwing it away or anything. So except for a few jokes made about using it to lay under the car to catch oil it sits still in the attic. Not as if it’s taking up any room up there.

I guess the previous owner couldn’t have cared all that much about the dress if they never bothered to contact me in the past year about it.

I should point out here that mine is only a “wedding dress” because I wore it for my wedding. To people who weren’t at my wedding it would just look like a typical '70s unbleached-muslin hippiewear prairie skirt sort of thing. If I hadn’t overworn it I could probably sell it on eBay as a '70s artifact. Saw a similar one for $250 :eek: Mine cost about $50. Now, that’s appreciation.

My wedding dress is still hanging in my mom’s closet. It’s a lovely shade of pink, with a big full skirt and tons of seed beads on the bodice; I have a nefarious plan to cut it down and make a bellydance costume out of it, but when I mentioned this to my mother she almost had a heart attack. “You need to hang on to it in case mini-Marli wants to use it!” she shrieked. (“You need to hang on to it in case…” is my mother’s favorite phrase. I found a pack of unopened Hong Kong Phuey napkins in her china hutch the other day.) Now, it’s already obvious mini-Marli is going to grow up to be at least a foot taller than me and several inches thinner. I don’t think I’m going to be depriving her if I put my wedding dress to good use instead of letting it mildew in a closet for 20 years. But Mom’s big on “sentimental value”; periodically she goes through a major house-cleaning wherein she pulls items out of closets and drawers, waxes nostalgic for a few hours, dusts them off, and puts them back. I’ll admit I inherited some of her pack-rattedness, but I’m trying to get better. I’m keeping my velvet Elvis, though.

I saved my wedding dress. It was a thing of beauty, and was only about $250. After the weding I had it professionally cleaned and stored. Two years later, my sister wanted to wear it. Great! I loaned it to her, she had it altered to fit her stick figure and never bothered to give it back, even though I asked. Of course, I didn’t consider it mine anymore, after all, it would never fit.

My father built a cherry cradle for my firstborn. It became tradition that the cradle was used by the newest baby. I haven’t seen MY cradle that my father made for MY daughter in over 12 years. I have asked and it is currently being used to hold stuffed animals at my brother’s house. I asked for it and I got incredulous looks all around, then told it wasn’t mine to ask for. :rolleyes:

Issues, yeah, I got issues.

:smiley: If I didn’t know better, I’d swear we were sisters. That’s my mom’s favorite phrase, too!

That was a sweet story.

My younger sister recently celebrated her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and the guests were expected to wear either their wedding gowns, or clothing from the era.

The Lovely and Talented Mrs. Shodan wore hers and looked lovely beyond description. My daughter went nuts and wants to wear the same dress to her wedding. Most of the female guests still had and wore their wedding gowns - my younger sister wore hers, my mom wore hers (after 56 years), and my big sister wore the suit she wore to her wedding (she was married by a justice of the peace). They all looked beautiful.

I, on the other hand, had rented my wedding tux, but I borrowed a white tuxedo with a bright orange ruffled shirt, ruffled cuffs, shiny shoes with huge knobbed toes, and an enormous pouffy bow tie. My brother referred to the look as “Superfly Goes to the Prom”.


PS - We gave our crib to my nephew and his wife, although my mother has a cradle my grandfather made which four generations of our family have slept in. But all the baby clothes had barf on them, so esthetics won out over sentiment. Into the dumpster as soon as they were outgrown.

A local charity has come up with a good idea on re-using wedding dresses. This charity ( associated with the Nottinghamshire police force ) has close links with an orphanage in Russia. The idea is for people to donate their unwanted dresses here in the UK and the charity takes them to Russia. The orphanage is running a business renting out these dresses to the local population. The residents of this orphanage mend and alter the dresses to modern needs where necessary. This way the orphanage raises some much needed money while improving the life-skills of the residents . They will learn not only needle-craft and tailoring but how to run a business.

Since this scheme was announced on local TV the charity have been overwhelmed with donations of dresses and a large van is going over there in the next few weeks. My wife donated her dress which has been residing in various attics for the last 33 years.