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Your Wedding Dress: Keep it or Not?

Submitted by on March 26, 2012 – 9:40 amOne Comment

How to Decide Whether to Keep Your Wedding Gown or Not

Weddings are beautiful and so are the wedding dresses worn by the brides. Every bride dreams of her wedding day and often spends untold hours and money to find that perfect dress. A few years ago I went shopping with my niece for her wedding gown. She made it a family event, inviting her sisters, her parents, and me, her crazy, fun aunt. In fact, now that I think about it, I went shopping with all three of my nieces to find the perfect dresses for their wedding days.

Now that a few years have passed, I visited with each of my nieces about what their plans are for the wedding dress they will never wear again.  I posed three questions to them: How are you currently storing your wedding dress; why are you keeping it; and if you inherit your mother’s wedding dress, what would you do with it?

Before I share with you their answers to my questions, allow me to tell you the story of my own wedding dress. I was a teenage bride just out of high school when I married my best friend. During my senior year, I planned my wedding with my parents’ consent and it included shopping for my wedding dress. During one of my shopping trips, my sister-in-law offered me the dress from her wedding ten years before. I quickly made the decision to take her up on her offer. Thinking back, I believe accepting the dress was more of a money issue than for sentimental reasons. As you can imagine, money was extremely tight for a 17-year-old and her 19-year-old fiancé. Her wedding dress was beautiful, and once altered, it was a perfect fit.

I have never regretted not having my own dress, and while it is back in my sister-in-law’s storage unit, I have not once asked to see it. I am a sentimental person. I have kept my kids’ baby toys to pass down to my grandchildren and I have one of my plastic reception plates used at my wedding in a box in our attic. But somehow not having my wedding dress does not bother me.

Since starting my company Get Organized! in 2007, my team and I have organized many closets, finding old, yellowed, wedding dresses, as well as ones from recent years. Many brides are not really sure what they want to do with their dress. Some consider selling it, but for sentimental reasons, most do not. Others preserve their dress in hopes of making it into a play dress for their daughter or making something from the material. Still others think that their daughter may want to wear the dress for their own wedding.

After talking with many brides including my nieces, I found that although they still have their dresses, brides rarely follow through on the reasons they keep them. Few daughters would choose to wear their mother’s wedding dress. Brides want their own dress and not many will choose to do what I did. And even if a bride hopes to one day make something from the dress, will they really be willing to cut it into pieces to make something? My nieces had the same sentiments about their dresses. One thought she would sell it, but could not. One wants to make hers into a dress for her daughter to play dress up. Another is fully aware her daughter will not want her wedding dress in 20 years but has no clue why she is keeping it. One niece did say that if she inherited her mother’s wedding dress, she would feel the need to keep it, but admitted that she would not know what to do with it.

I personally like the idea of just saving the wedding veil and passing it down to a daughter or niece or friend. The veil is small enough to store and yet has enough material to make something with it such as a ring bearer pillow or a garter. I even like the idea of taking the skirt or train of your wedding dress and making a dressy shawl for an elegant night on the town.

The decision you make about what to do with your dress should be based on what makes you comfortable. If you decide to donate your gown to a great cause, check on these wonderful organizations: Brides Against Breast Cancer and Brides Across America.

If you are interested in selling your dress, Craig’s List rarely works. I would suggest using one of these sites: RecycleBride.com and PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com.  I would also like to hear from each of my readers. Let me hear what you are planning to do with your wedding dress. I know we all have stories to share.

Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and founder and owner of Get Organized! Get Organized! is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. Get Organized! specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management. A popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Good Morning Texas, Good Day Fox, CBS11 and has been featured on various radio outlets. Additionally she has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national media, such as the Dallas Morning News, SheKnows.com, and Daily Candy Kids. Most recently Lorraine Brock was featured as the local expert with stars from HGTV and the DIY Network at the The Great Big Texas Home Show. To get more information about Lorraine, visit www.GetOrganized.ws.

One Comment »

  • jen says:

    I’m not sure…I need to have it cleaned first off. I had an amazing trash the dress session. I saw this idea I might do when my daughter gets to be a toddler or like 4. They have a cute photo session done in the dress (like dress up) the photos were so cute. After that I have no clue. Before the photo session idea, I guess I was keeping it for sentimental reasons and it cost a sweet fortune. I hated the thought of throwing it away or dropping it at Goodwill.I used to play dress up in my Mom’s dress….so who knows.

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