Wedding Dresses: Not Your Granny's Gown
One bride-to-be is torn when she’s asked to wear her fiancé’s great-grandmother’s gown — which she absolutely hates
Planning a wedding brings so much joy to friends and family. After all, who can forget the delightful memory of helping a bride choose her wedding gown? Unfortunately, stress and tension can lead to hurt feelings and wounds that may never heal. It’s the bride’s job to try really hard not to have her wedding planning include these unhappy unfortunate occurrences.
A bride asks: “My fiancé and his family would like me to wear his great-grandmother’s wedding dress from the ’20s. It’s become a family tradition for every generation of brides to wear it. I find it dated, of course, but also very unflattering to my figure. I would really hate to have to wear it, but whenever I bring it up in conversation with my husband-to-be or his family, they get hysterical and tell me that they cannot fathom why I’d even consider breaking a family tradition. I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t want to wear the dress, but I also don’t want to alienate everyone. What can I do?”
The Wedding Guru says: There are lots of compromises and concessions that you’ll be asked to make while planning your wedding; you should be sensitive enough to realize how easy it is to disappoint the people you are — and will be — closest to in your lives together. Be prepared to “give in” to as many requests as you can. That said, I believe that the one compromise you should not be expected to make is what bridal gown you wear!
The tough part is how to get out of this dilemma, and what to say to your future in-laws. Here, the upmost diplomacy and creativity will be necessary. Explain that you’re honored to be considered for their long-standing tradition, but the dress just doesn’t suit your figure and style. Rather than wear the gown, could you somehow include it in your ceremony by displaying it in the entrance to your house of worship or reception location? An explanation of the gown’s history and perhaps photos of previous brides at their weddings could be included.
You can offer to have the gown restyled in a more contemporary style, though my guess is that they won’t want you do that, so you’ll be off the hook!
You can also offer to incorporate a piece of the gown into your new dress or veil. My daughter-in-law used some fabric from her mother’s gown in the ring-bearer pillow and explained what she had done in her program, for instance.
If none of this works, ask them if you could wear it for your first dance and then change back into the gown you wore at your ceremony. Good luck!