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.)

11 thoughts on “What did you do with your wedding dress?

  1. Phyllis

    Well, being married 3 times… I never really had a wedding dress. I was a hippy this first time and wore a long granny gown thing. The second and third times were Baha’i ceremonies, very small (like 4 or 5 people) and I wore regular clothes. Sorry I can’t help.

  2. You could frame the dress in a shadow box with the pictures of your mother and grandmother if you wanted to keep it. There may also be clothing museums that take special items like this.

    When I was getting married, my mother pulled her dress out and it was all yellowed. It never would have fit me anyway. My dress is still hanging in a closet in my parents’ house. It was a nice enough dress, but nothing heirloom-quality. I don’t really know what to do with it.

  3. My answer to the question is similar to Phyllis’s: Which dress? (Four marriages!)

    Niecy Nash (former host of Clean House on DIY Network) would approve of the pillow idea. You already have photos. On the other hand, it’s a rare, complete and beautiful piece of handwork. It would be a shame to dismantle it.

    So … I’m no help at all!

  4. do you think there would be someone in a future generation who would be able to wear it? I wore one that was almost 100 years old.

    yellowing linens – buttermilk – not sure if they are silk – best to test on a small out of the way place. This is a trick that linen people and quilter people use all the time. it is messy (I do it in bath tub) but very effective.

  5. I took my to a dry cleaner who also preserves old clothing. They cleaned it and preserved it in a special box. It was quite costly, but worth it, in case someone in a future generation wants to wear it.

  6. My grandmothers wedding dress (1932), my mothers wedding dress (1959) and my wedding dress (1983) were all purchased from the same wedding dress shop in the Bronx, NY, Madame Baldwina’s. It is gone now but all three dresses have an afterlife. My grandmother’s bodice is still in one piece in my cedar chest. the lace insets in the shirt were stretched on embroidery hoops and are now decorative wall hangings. the satin of the skirt and rosepoint lace from her veil were made into picture frames for family members. My mothers wedding dress was used to make a bassinet cover and a ‘bridal doll’ gown for my cousin’s bridal shower. My wedding dress was a size 20 and I plan to have it made into a vanity cover and table skirt.
    There are so many things you can do – and the buttermilk idea works. DId that with my grandmothers veil and it went from yellow to eggshell – beautiful.


    1. Carol Ann Kridos

      It was very nice to read your post. Madame Baldwina was my husband’s grandmother. My daughter found this after talking with her grandmother about great-grandma’s wedding gowns and how generations of families would buy them. Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. lol .. I showed mine to my daughter who said she’d never wear it, so I put it on (and after 24 years it still fit!) then took it off, and with my daughter beside me carted it down to the trash barrel and burned it. Felt so good to do that!

  8. Lori Sinden

    I’m late here but I like the ideas above AND using some of the materials to make a christening gown for future generations. It’s just a thought. Lori who can’t remember her wordpress password….

  9. Pingback: What I Did With Mom’s Wedding Dress | Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

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