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What's Up Weddings

Wearing My Mother's Wedding Dress

Mar 16, 2012 04:13PM ● By Anonymous

Without saying too much, (because my fiancé is allowed to know nothing), I can tell you it's beautiful.

If you've tried on a wedding dress before, you know the first one can feel awkward. The sheer size of a wedding dress is not something we're used to seeing on our bodies, but the pros say that when you step into yours you know. When I first tried it on it would have been easy to say "never mind." It didn’t fit, the color had yellowed and the detailing was lost in the overwhelming amount of material.

Still, I knew.

My parents have been happily married for almost 40 years. I remember looking at a picture of their wedding day when I was little (and now…) and thinking that they were the cutest couple in the world, and my mom, the prettiest girl. So to me that dress is more than something I'll wear on my wedding day, it's the perfect way to begin a lifetime of happiness.

(This was the cover of Bride's Magazine the year my parents got married.)

I absolutely understand the value in finding your own dress. My older sisters wore their own dresses, and shopping for them is one of my fondest memories. I can only imagine how giddy the memory makes them. They both looked gorgeous so if the shopping memory isn't enough, I'm sure the wedding photos are. And maybe their daughters will go on to wear their dresses and a similar tradition will continue. It's a tricky thing, wearing an heirloom. It's kind of like buying the first and only dress you try on. I can imagine for most in that situation you're happy you found the dress, but you wonder if you wouldn't have enjoyed trying on others, even for the laughs.

So I flipped through magazines and even tried a few other dresses on so I could decide on the alterations. We're having the sleeves changed and the neckline, too. We had it cleaned and restored and dropped the dress off with the seamstress last summer, and this past December we went back so I could try it on. In the car on the way there I kept saying "I can't wait to see what my dress looks like!" One of my sisters thought I was nuts. She said she could never just go willy-nilly back to the shop without a solid image of what to expect. I'd told the seamstress what I wanted to change, but I'd never seen a dress, much less tried on a dress, with the same specifications that I was requesting. And with a slight language barrier, I wasn't one hundred percent sure that the seamstress and I were on the same page. This fitting really could have gone either way.

Maybe it would have been easier to start from scratch and find the dress I wanted in a store, but when I put on the dress after the first round of alterations I knew I’d made the right decision. It was awesome. The small alterations had made a world of difference. I think everyone with me was pleasantly surprised, but what I was wearing was what I had seen the whole time.

There is a little bit more work to do on the dress to make it perfect, but I’m confident it will be. And it will feel even more special to have my dad walk me down the aisle in it.

On our way home my mom asked, “Do you love it?” And I responded, “Love it! I’m so excited that it looks so good. It’s going to be perfect!”

And I am excited that it looks good. The truth is I would have worn it anyway.