Your Mother’s Gown – A Delicate Matter

You have seen your parent’s wedding portrait hanging in the house for years. As a little girl, you probably thought your mother’s gown was the most beautiful thing you had ever seen. As a teenage girl, you probably thought it was dated or possible hideous. As a newly engaged woman, the idea of wearing your mother’s gown has probably entered into conversation at least once. She ‘saved’ it, had it heirloomed or preserved in acid-free tissue so that you would one day be able to walk down the aisle in the gown she chose so many years ago.

Just a few problems with this scenario: 1) She chose it for herself, not a child that had yet to be born. 2) It probably is dated. 3) You are more than likely not the same size. 4) What if you have sisters? Are you all supposed to wear her gown… all of you wearing exact same gown?

Let’s face it – you probably don’t want to wear it. You probably have an idea of  how you want to look on your wedding day and it doesn’t involve anything from your mother’s closet. It’s not vintage enough, it’s not retro enough, its just not enough!

So what do you do when she brings out the giant heirloom box and starts to talk about how beautiful you are going to look? Be gentle, be kind but, be honest.  tell her your exact feelings as nicely as possible. You should definitely try it on, tell stories and laugh! When the time comes, just  tell her that you want a different style or color or whatever the case may be.  you may be shocked at how easily she takes the news. You see, as a mom, I can tell you that when you save these things for your children you are really saving them for yourself.  
A compromise may be to use parts of the gown for something on your wedding day ensemble. Adding some of her lace to your gown is a beautiful sentiment and it leaves other elements for siblings to use as well.  Putting the edge on a handkerchief or using some of the fabric for a purse or to decorate a card box is equally nice.

Your wedding gown is probably the single costliest clothing item you will ever own, you will be photographed more wearing this gown than anything else you ever wear, you will hang your wedding portrait in your house and probably keep it in the same spot forever.

Whatever gown you choose, make sure to include your mother in the process ( and not just her wallet) so that she feels as special on your day as she did on hers so many years ago.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago