The idea of wearing your mother’s wedding dress at your own wedding is, for some people, one that evokes a gag reflex. For others it’s a sweet, sentimental tribute to the woman that brought you in to the world. While I personally couldn’t do that 70′s “little house on the prairie” look (sorry mom!), recycling the old dress to the next generation is a trend that has not wavered in our modern material age.
A recent post on‘ delightful blog reminded me of an epic Bridezilla Tale involving a Bride and her mother’s dress. Jennifer’s father had died a year before she got engaged and it was important to both her and her mother to incorporate his memory in with the wedding. Barb, the mother of the Bride, knew that her late husband adored her dress from their 1962 wedding and felt that nothing would be more special than watching Jennifer marry in the same threads.
With mother and daughter living on opposite ends of the country, Jennifer received the dress in the mail along with a note saying: “Nothing would make ‘us’ happier than to pass this down to you.” Resistant at first, Jennifer knew how much it meant to her mother and decided she could make it work. She called her mother to confirm that a few “adjustments” would be tolerated and her mother gladly welcomed it.
Problem was, Jennifer and Barb had two completely different ideas of “adjustments.” While Barb figured she’d need the dress taken in here, let out there and hemmed in a few places, Jennifer went on a fabric shopping spree, borrowed her friend’s sewing machine and got to work. What ensued can only be compared to that terrible video of the Bride cutting her hair off before the ceremony (except this was no acting).
Barb’s first glance at the altered dress was an hour before the ceremony as the Bride sat nervously waiting in her hotel room. I have to admit, Jennifer did a dam good job of altering the dress to something more modern and youthful but it looked NOTHING like the original dress. Barb went ballistic. As I and the frightened bridesmaids made a quick escape from the room, we could hear screaming muffled over sobs from both women. Barb felt so disrespected and insulted, she told Jennifer she would not allow her to get married in “that abomination”.
Scissors came next. With emotions quickly consuming any rationale, Barb’s urgency to fix the defiled and tainted dress left the Bride standing in rags and tears. Patches and shreds hung on Jennifer like Cinderella after a visit from the step-sisters. It was truly the most dramatic and emotional moment in my career.
When all was said and done, this story did have a happy ending. Mother and daughter made up, the hotel had a gown they kept on hand for “emergency situations” and Jennifer’s surprise tribute to her father, a song she wrote and sang at the reception, made her mother forget she ever had a wedding dress… or scissors.