Sunday, July 19, 2009

the story of my wedding dress

little brother

I sold my wedding dress when we moved into this new apartment and tried to downsize to fit into a smaller space. Most of the few people I've mentioned this to have gasped at this sacrilege, and I understand that reaction. Wedding dresses are the symbol that women carry of the day they made a lifetime commitment of love. It becomes an heirloom, and little girls try them on in front of mirrors for Norman Rockwell-like photos.

Well, I think that my love for Normal Rockwell and sentimental country music stands in for my own lack of American traditions, because I just couldn't justify keeping the dress. I mean, we are global nomads, and who knows if we'll ever own a house, and there is just not enough space in little apartments to store a big dress. I love the story of my dress far more then I loved the dress itself, and I figure my daughters will never wear it because there's no way it will stay in style. I wore my mom's veil, and that is an heirloom that will be passed down through the family and take up MUCH less room then a wedding dress!

So... in memorium... the dress:

I got my dress on ebay. I did briefly go dress shopping with mom, but the Mecca of affordable (by American standards) wedding dresses is Davids Bridal, and I pretty much hated all of their dresses. I have absolutely no shame when it comes to bargains (actually, I'm rather proud of my cheapness), so I immediately began hunting at thrift stores, ebay, and craigslist.

When I found this dress on ebay, loved the detailed lace design that sweeps the bottom and creates sheer cap sleeves. Bidding on a wedding dress I'd fallen in love with was the ultimate in nerve-wracking bidding! My family watched from Denver while sat in front of my laptop in my dorm room in Chicago, bidding up and bidding up, desperately trying to outdo the opposing bidder. My last bid was one MINUTE before it expired, and I got frantic phone calls from my parents saying, "DID YOU GET IT??"

It was SO MUCH FUN - a family affair! I got it for $200, and it matched my mom's long veil that she wore in her wedding.

Of course, it was my attire on the day Isaac and I got married. I felt like a princess, but a Papuan princess who walked around barefoot and soiled the bottom of the dress. :) That's just me. The dress, and the story of the dress... they're just me.

There's another reason I love my wedding dress - this photo:

That's my college friend Mandy. She did all the hemming and adjustments on the dress, including taking out the zipper and creating a beautiful lace-up back. She was there on the morning of the wedding, sitting on the couch with her skilled hands, sewing in last-minute adjustments.

I'm so thankful for this picture, so thankful for Mandy doing that for me, and for the memory of her presence on my special day. Mandy died three years later, days before her boyfriend was going to propose. I mourn her loss, and although we know that there is no loss for Mandy, it is certainly painful from this side of heaven to see the loss of Mandy's story of engagement and marriage.

So yeah. I loved my dress, but I didn't need to keep it. I have the story, and that's what will last.


Niamh Griffin said...

You have the memories though and they'll last longer than the dress would have anyhow:) You looked beautiful in it!
And yes, it's funny how we get less attached to things the more we move - it's all about what will fit in the moving boxes.

Erin said...

Wow, beautiful stories, and a beautiful dress.
I love that you went bear foot, I'd love to do the same, I keep kicking off shoes I have on any way.

Annie Peterson said...

Just think, if no one had ever sold their dress, you wouldn't have gotten yours in the first place! :)

Melissa said...

i love the first picture of you and matt!

Kelley said...

My sister actually asked to use my dress for her own wedding three years later. So it was adjusted to fit her totally different body and I won't ever make it in the top of that dress again! Because of this, just the other day I was thinking, "We really should just sell it." But I'm lucky to have parents in the U.S. with a big house and lots of storage.

Troy said...

That is beautiful. Your dress is an artifact, a passed-on symbol of love and community and import with alterations and sewing along the way. I wonder where it will go next, and who'll wear it?

And that picture of you and your little brother? the b&w picture. Oh my word, I almost start crying over here, that's really touching. Wonderful picture.