Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the dress, post-wedding

Tonight I had a dress rehearsal for the first Christmas concerts of the season at the ASO. During the break between pieces, I went to congratulate one of my fellow chorusmates who recently got engaged and ended up in a little gossip circle of sopranos talking weddings. (Somehow it still hasn't gotten old... go figure.) Celia, newly affianced, had just found her wedding dress the day before Thanksgiving; it was her first day of shopping, the last shop she visited. She passed her camera around and we all oohed and ahhed at the beautiful gown she'd chosen.

One of the girls (Erin, my chorus bride-buddy who got married the weekend before we did) told Celia how much she had loved her own wedding dress (at right). So much so, in fact, that she puts it on probably twice a week, just to sit around in it and feel pretty. Come home from work, take a bath, put on wedding dress. (Yes, she admitted, her husband thinks it's weird.) "It's so comfortable!" she exclaimed. Plus, why would you spend all that money just to wear a gorgeous dress once and stash it away? (Plus plus, Erin says, her husband wore khaki slacks with a navy blazer for their wedding and gets to wear his wedding-day attire "all the time." Why shouldn't she get to do the same?)

She asked me what I had done with my dress since my wedding day -- actually, I think she asked me how many times I had put on my dress since the wedding (that would be zero) -- and I told her that it's still at the cleaners. Cautious person that I often am when it comes to expensive things, I went the opposite direction from Erin and had my dress preserved. Why would you spend all that money and not take care of your investment? I suppose that's what I thought. I didn't really know what else to do with it. Besides, the cleaning was going to be so expensive that I figured I might as well cough up the extra for the preservation treatment and fancy box. (What's another couple hundred bucks at this point, really? AGH.)

(Note: I dropped off my dress in July, and they told me it would be ready in about two months. Last week I realized it had been much longer than that and called to make sure they still, uh, had it. Turns out the fancy boxes are on backorder. I'm just glad they didn't lose it!)

Now, my dress was not uncomfortable, but it's not exactly something I'd loll about the house in. It's a ballgown with a whole lotta skirt, and it's also hemmed to wear with 3.5-inch heels. Add to that the fact that I've got a cat with claws and now a crazy puppy, and we're quickly heading toward shredded-dress territory. Erin's dress, on the other hand, is a slimmer A-line cut -- much easier to slip on and off and fairly normal to move around in, I gather. Still, it has lace and some beading on it, which I'd worry about messing up. She also has cats, but I guess they must be very well behaved...

At any rate, all this got me thinking. Former brides, what did you do with your dress post-wedding? Is it in the back of your closet, cleaned and packed away? Hanging on the back of your door, waiting to be cleaned? Have you put it on since your wedding? (Have you even considered putting it on since your wedding?) Will you hang onto it or try to recoup some money by selling it? Offer use of it to friends who want to save money on their own weddings?

There are, of course, countless possibilities, as there are countless types of people out there. So I wanted to do an informal survey: what did (or will) you do with your wedding dress once it's had its big debut?


  1. I'm with you. I had my dress cleaned and preserved after our wedding, and now it sits in a fancy box in our closet. Though I did consider slipping into it on our first anniversary!

  2. Such a great question...cause I've been wondering the same thing!

    Let's see...I first had it cleaned (not preserved)...then it hung on the back of our bedroom door for 4 months...then finally I put it in our closet..folded.

    Honestly I have no idea what to do with it! I haven't put it on again since the wedding...although I def feel tempted :)

    My other married friends and I have talked about having a "wear your wedding dress" get together...just for an excuse to wear them again!!

  3. My wedding dress is not traditional but not really a day-dress either. I'll probably have it cleaned and then save it - or possible keep sewing it since I didn't QUITE finish it to be the way I wanted!

    The weird thing is - it was so NOT pretty-pretty-princessy that now I want to buy a huge princess party dress to wear all the time. Go figure.

  4. I think I'm going to donate my dress. It's very hard to imagine wearing it again.

    But if more of my friends had weddings on the horizon, I might hold onto it, for a goofy photo shoot with all of us in our wedding dresses. But that possibility isn't worth a few hundred dollars in preservation and losing the opportunity to give the dress to a bride in need.

  5. You're my kind of girl-I would preserve that sucker! If my daughter wanted to wear it, or someone else, then it would be in mint condition!

  6. My cousin had hers preserved for the same reason you did. My mother had hers made into a christening gown that all 4 of her children and all 5 (so far) of her grandchildren have been baptized in. My MOH has hers in a black garbage bag that's now in her hall closet.

    Yeah, so my dress is still in a heap on the chair in the corner of our bedroom, but that's neither here nor there.

    I've heard tell of an acquaintance who does this. At a b-day party in her parents home she got a little tipsy & went upstairs into her old bedroom & put her dress on. Apparently it's not the 1st time. I don't mean this to sound snarky but there's just something so childish & immature about the act to me. Like a little girl who doesn’t want to take off the costume from her ballet recital.

    I could possibly see the appeal of doing it in private, or even having a little party with all your girlfriends to be silly (like in that ep of Friends) but other than that, it just seems to be along the same lines of putting your prom dress on again & prancing around the house trying to relive your HS days.

  7. I love that she wears her dress. Love it. In fact I may have to go put mine on and eat a sandwich!

  8. Kathleen, your blog IS "kick ass" (as that badge suggests). It's quite unique. :) To participate in your survey, I am of the group that preserved their wedding dress in a box and have never worn it since (nearly 8 years now). Sadly, I think. There have been many times I have wanted to tear into the box (which has a "window" through which I can see the bust of my dress) and dance in it around the house. Your question has made me think again about doing just that...