What did you do with your wedding dress?

My mom in her wedding dress

Mom and I were talking tonight about her wedding dress.  My grandmother made it and my mom, her sister, and 3 other women of their generation all wore it.

My grandmother was a wonderful seamstress who actually took dressmaking courses at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn back in the 1920’s.  She made the girls’ clothes (and her own) for years, including this amazing dress.  It’s made of Chantilly lace as an over-dress that was worn over a satiny under-dress, and has dozens of little tiny satin covered buttons down the front and the sleeves.  She covered the buttons herself.

It hasn’t been worn in a very long time.  I obviously didn’t wear it, and my nieces wouldn’t fit into it.  But my mom has had it in a box for 60 years, and even has the dress pattern used to make it tucked inside the box.

My grandmother in her wedding dress

But what do we do with it now?  How to best preserve such a treasure?  Should it be donated somewhere, given away with an ad in Craigslist, taken to a consignment shop?  Maybe cut into pieces and framed?  I would love to have a pillow made of the lace with the buttons on it as a reminder of both my mom and my grandmother – but only if there isn’t a better use for the dress.

What did you do with yours?  What do you recommend for us?  I want to be respectful of the past but also realistic.

(I included my grandmother’s picture because she is totally gorgeous and I love this picture, not because we have her dress, too.)