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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Wedding Dress

One of the things a woman (or a man) needs to take into consideration when getting married is the wedding dress.

Now, it used to be that the bride would wear her favorite dress she owned. Some wealthy women would go out and buy as much fabric and fur (clearly, I am not doing that!) as they could afford, and drape themselves in that. But then Queen Victoria decided to go and change the world and wear white at her wedding to her cousin Albert in 1840.

Given the hemophilia in the royal line, it was probably not a great idea for these nuptials to go forward. But it did (for better or worse) set the stage for one of the most lucrative industries in Western civilization: the white wedding dress.

The wedding dress was something I was not super excited about. I didn't like the idea of wearing something once, and, on top of that, spending so much money on it. And let's face it, what bride don't you see futzing over her dress, hassled by the train, keeping her boobs in the now-trendy strapless dress, and other clothing woes?

So, I decided I would not spend money on a new dress. My first choice was to wear my favorite American Apparel dress. Comfy, versatile (I could style it however I was feeling the morning of the wedding), and made in the USA. But pretty much every woman in my family put the kabosh on that pretty quickly, including my mom.

But then I had another idea: Why not wear my mom's wedding dress? She wore it when she married my dad, and my grandmother had preserved it in her basement. My grandma Audrey mailed it me, and I could not have tried it on at a more perfect time: my friend Amanda was visiting from St. Louis, and she took a picture of me:

It definitely needed altering, as wedding dress styles have changed a bit since 1971. Plus, my mom was 19 when she got married, and let's face it: as I am pushing 30, I am seeing some differences in my body from when I was 19.

Just as we magically found our amazing local, sustainable and humane caterer, Eat & Smile, a friend recommended two women who just opened a re-purposing store. The idea is to have vintage or out-dated clothes altered so as not to buy new stuff.

Ginger Root Design seemed to fit in perfectly with how we live our lives and how we want our wedding to be. A big celebration without the waste and new traditions that can define weddings.

The dress is going to be altered in several fittings. They are first going to create a scoop-neck (see the safety pin outline below).

And they have some other great ideas too: using the fabric from the sleeves to make a sash, lowering the waistline, and taking some of the buttons from the sleeve and putting them down the back.

My mom and I can't wait to go through this fun process together!


  1. Oh my gosh, this is such a beautiful idea. And more generally, I love how so many aspects of your wedding fit wonderfully into your ideals! This is so great to read about.

  2. wow how exciting! i love that you are re-purposing a dress (totally your style) but even better is that its your ma's dress and i can only imagine that the creativity and fun involved in the re-purposing will be a special experience for you both!! Big time congrats!