I got married in a light blue dress I bought for about $100 at what used to be The Bon. I remember the elderly saleswoman who rang up my purchase, smiling sweetly at me and asking me if I was buying it for prom.

I had to wear these weird boob stickers under it on my wedding day, since it didn’t allow for any kind of support garment. I also wore clear plastic heels.

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So, to recap: cheap fake satin dress, boob stickers, hooker shoes. I was the classiest bride ever.

The dress has been hanging in the back of a closet ever since. Not stored or preserved or even slightly protected: just hanging there gathering dust and crumpling on the floor.

I dug it out in 2008 and took some photos, just for fun. I learned that if I needed boob stickers in 2001, I would need something more like an anti-gravity device to wear it now.

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I do think it’s pretty, but let’s be honest: I’ll never wear it again, it’s hardly the sort of heirloom you pass down for someone else’s wedding, and even if it were, I have two boys, and if it turns out either one of them wants to wear a dress on their wedding day, not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m guessing they will want to choose their own.

So this weekend, as I was neck-deep in the process of cleaning out our various storage areas, I laid the dress on the pile of junk we were taking to the thrift store. I figured I have the photos and the memories and now I could reclaim the closet space.

JB, however, reacted as though I’d pulled off my wedding ring and hurled it in the toilet. “What the hell,” he complained. “What the HELL.”

“Listen,” I told him. “This is not a metaphor. This is cleaning.”

But it was no use. Back to the closet it went. Along with, I will confess, the clear plastic shoes. Because you never know when those might come in handy, like if I need to compete in a beauty pageant or offer to blow a guy for a dime bag of coke.

Tell me, what did you do with your dress? Is it professionally stored? Being worn by your daughter? Stuffed in the back of a closet to be ignored for a decade at a time?

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crisi-tunity
11 years ago

You may say it’s a cheap dress, but I like it a lot. Good taste. The plastic heels are amusing though.

I just paid for my wedding dress over the weekend – a custom silk tea-length dress for $700 – and I haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m going to do with it after the wedding. I’m a sentimental pack-rat, so I can’t imagine that I won’t keep it…but I also don’t ever plan on wearing it again. Maybe I’ll be able to donate it or sell it someday. I just hope I don’t regret spending the money. The dress was the one thing about this wedding that had to be just so, and I was willing to shell out (within reason) for it. I hope I keep that resolve after the wedding’s said and done.

I think the ring-pillow idea is a good one. Of course, ring pillows may be completely obsolete by the time your boys get married.

Lisa B in Kirkland
Lisa B in Kirkland
11 years ago

Eight years later my wedding dress (the second most expensive thing I have bought in 10 years, surpassed only by my custom road bicycle) hangs in the front hall closet, in a plastic bag, still with the lipstick stain on the shoulder from hugging my mother. And it’s too big, which is better than the alternative, I guess. With no kids and no nieces, godchildren or large dogs to dress up, I think it will stay there in perpetuity. Or someday I’ll figure out how to donate it to that bridal gown charity, if I could just remember the name …

mamabird
11 years ago

Hanging in my closet in a plastic bag. I didn’t even get it professionally cleaned after the wedding. It was a “semi-formal” in that I ordered a $400 bridesmaid dress in an off white color.

Judy
Judy
11 years ago

I had a traditional white lace dress with a hoop skirt. After the wedding, I had it “heirloomed”, which was having it cleaned and packed into air tight wrappings. I meant to save it for my daughter, if I had one. The heirlooming cost as much as the dress, which was $50 (it was 1962).

I had two daughters. And a son. But my marriage ended in 1979, and I thought it would probably be a bad luck dress. So I had a yard sale and put it out there for $20, and it didn’t sell, so I called Disabled American Veterans to pick up all the stuff that didn’t sell, and it went along with the outgrown kids’ clothes and toys to a thrift store where I hope someone who needed it got it for a bargain price.

crisi-tunity
11 years ago

Jess, that is a hilarious and horrible story.

Courtney
11 years ago

I got married 9 days ago, in a dress that my mom’s mom wore to get married in 1951. Her friend wore it in 1953; I was the third bride the dress saw. It’s never been cleaned, only altered to fit me (shorter and much, much wider than my 17 year old grandmother). My grandmother promptle “offered” to take it back to her house for safekeeping. I don’t care if anyone else wears it… I just wonder if I should be offended that she didn’t trust me with it? Oh well… not eating up my valuable closet space!

Camels & Chocolate
11 years ago

Because it was a champagne color with pink undertones, I had my MIL cut it off so I can wear it as a cocktail dress. (It was a $5500 dress that I bought for $500 because it was a sample, so I felt like I already got enough wear out of it on one day…but am thrilled I can now wear it forever!)

The Before: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristinluna/4771397975/in/set-72157624126924110/

The After: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristinluna/4785211437/

Pete
Pete
11 years ago

My wife’s first wedding dress, or what I assume was her wedding dress, it could have been a dried up dead body for all I knew, hung in her closet for 12 years and then hung in our closet for 10 years before it finally got thrown out. I still wear the custom Hawaiian shirt I was married in with her.

Maureen
Maureen
11 years ago

Got married in a courthouse on a day that was 60 below zero. My husband is lucky I didn’t wear carharts and bunny boots. I wore a cream colored knit sweater and skirt outfit, I used to wear it to work occasionally. Sent it off to a charity about 10 years ago. I had no sentimental value attached to it at all, so off it went.

anonmom
anonmom
11 years ago

Mine’s in one of those professionally sealed boxes. It was a beautiful unique dress, hand embroidered, imported from Spain… I was saving it for my daughter or future daughter-in-law.

Now after 10 years, we’re getting a divorce. No one will ever want to wear it; what awful luck that would be. Damn. Now I’m crying.

Christina
11 years ago

Okay, your dress? LOVELY.

Additionally — my wedding shoes were 4″ lucite heels. My dress is somewhere in my closet, or maybe the garage? Didn’t preserve it and frankly (though I’m happily married) I have no desire to hang on to it.

Kathy
11 years ago

My dress(es) (first & second weddings) are both hanging in my closet, not properly stored or what have you.

I am considering dropping my (first) wedding dress off at the local thrift shop, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet… or something.

Gigi
11 years ago

I held on to the wedding dress I bought (and NEVER wore! because we ended up eloping) for about 13 years before I gave it to Goodwill. Although I do still have the suit I got married in, although not preserved or anything. It’ll probably be the one to go next.

Claudia
11 years ago

My dress was purchased at a funky antique clothing store. It had been handmade for…I don’t know what. It’s white satin with a black velvet panel down the back and a strap that goes around behind the neck. It’s pretty and would make a nice “dress up” dress one day for one of my girls so I keep it. I’ve had it dry cleaned and it’s folded up in a box in the closet. I can’t fit in it any more. Sigh.

Katherine
11 years ago

I spent a fortune on my dress at some fancy-pants boutique in Minneaplis, and then spent an additional fortune on having it altered.

The other day I found it hanging on a hook in a travel bag from the ceiling in our garage and found it was stained with beer and BBQ sauce and covered in sticker-burs from our outside Texas wedding.

I have no clue what else to do with it but let it hang there until my daughters find it many years later.

Angela
Angela
11 years ago

My dress went back in its garment bag the night of our wedding and has stayed there for…uh…9 years this September. Didn’t get it cleaned or anything. I keep thinking I should do something with it but hate to actually spend money on something I’m never going to wear again.

Kristin
Kristin
11 years ago

Mine’s in the stuffed in the closet category, and dude, I AM DIVORCED. Clearly I have issues with Getting Rid of Stuff. (Well, not the husband, but….) I’ve been thinking of donating it for some time, it’s just one of those things I never do.

The Tia
The Tia
11 years ago

Donated my dress to brides against breast cancer – they do fund raisers in several cities by selling donated wedding dresses. I have the photos, and really wanted someone else to enjoy the dress while it was still in style!

Courtney
11 years ago

Both a and c. I bought my dress online for $800 and I really loved it, but just for the day . . . I have no illusions about a daughter wanting to wear it (seriously, who wants to wear their parent’s dress? they always looks so outdated). I was planning to sell it, and my husband had no issues about it – I’m sure he would have been happy to get the bag out of the closet.

But my stepmother was horrified – horrified! – that I would think about selling it. So I got it cleaned, and gave it to her, and as far as I know it’s now sitting in the back of her closet. I will admit, I do sometimes dream of having another wedding (and wearing it again) because the first one was so much fun, but I know my husband would never go for THAT.

Kelley O
Kelley O
11 years ago

I saved it for all of the 20 years I was married to him, and then, once I’d decided to leave, it went to Goodwill. Along with the white satin shoes with the pink satin bows on them that are SO NOT ME. And the hairpiece. *shudder* I just didn’t tell him. I did keep the silly shirts we had made for our rehearsal dinner, mine AND his, and I’m not really sure why. Maybe because they have our first names on them? Hard to say. They’re in a drawer I think. I’m not big on keeping things usually.

JennB
11 years ago

My dress still fits and I like to put it on and parade around the house, usually on our anniversary. My daughter loves it. I had it custom-made, a knock-off of a $2500 dress for about $500. I don’t know if my daughter will want it some day for her own wedding, but I have it, smooshed back into the “preserving” box, if she does.

Also, I think it’s sweet that JB not only remembers your dress, but that he wouldn’t let it go to Goodwill. It’s just one of those things. Keep it.

Gnometree
11 years ago

I just had to comment on your wedding. You had an inexpensive dress and hoochie shoes. SO WHAT! You have a great marriage!!! I think you did it right (IMNSHO). You had a basic wedding and worked hard on your marriage. Better than working hard on your wedding and then having a basic marriage. And that is what the dress represents. You started small and built it up to be something wonderful – like the millionaire that keeps his first dollar. Keep the dress – ask them to bury you in it.

Amanda
11 years ago

Mine is in the exact state as yours…hanging in my closet, no protection, no heirlooming, nada! It’s a light aqua 50s inspired dress that I absolutely love. I thought about having it dyed black so I could wear it again someday, but when I suggested it, my husband almost had a shit fit. So there it stays, in the closet with a tiny lipstick stain from when I was putting it on for the ceremony and it flipped up and hit me in the face after I’d already put my lipstick on. Of course I’ve also contemplated taking it to the cleaners to get the stain removed, but 5 years later I still haven’t done that either.

Jen_Ann_W
11 years ago

I’ve been trying to sell mine to free up space. I know I’ll never be able to squeeze into it again, and no kids so I’d rather see someone else enjoy it than see it collect dust. When I asked B if it was okay with him, he got kinda sentimental too, but then agreed when I pointed out that I was storing it in *his* closet since mine wasn’t tall enough to hang it.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

One of my friends turned hers into a baptism dress and also into a dress for her daughter to play dress up in. That’s what I plan to do with mine.

Mrs Soup
11 years ago

It’s such a pretty material! You should make pillows or something out of it.

My dress was made out of pieces from my grandma’s and my mom’s wedding dresses, so it’ll be sticking around. :) Hoping to use bits to make my daughter’s, if she wants. We’ll see!

Evelynne
11 years ago

My wedding dress was my mom’s, slightly altered, and I dearly love it both aesthetically and for the obvious sentimental reason. A friend of mine gave me a dress dummy so it’s on display on that in “my” room (the guest room). It’s a very simple A-line princess seam dress in a pretty ivory brocade, very classic, so it’s holding up so far.

You look great in your dress, and it looks like it would make a great cocktail dress if you wanted to shorten it and put some of those boob cup thingies in it for support. I love how it showcases the dragonfly on your back. But maybe JB wouldn’t want you to cut it. :P

Amber
Amber
11 years ago

Ha! I love this. I’m getting married in about, oh, 19 days to be exact. I bought my dress pre-owned (aka used). It’s beautiful, but I also do not develop emotional attachments to things like this, so I think after the wedding I will take it to a tailor and have it re-purposed into a cocktail dress that I may actually get some use out of :)

agirlandaboy
11 years ago

Damn, JB. You win at husbanding.

My mom borrowed her wedding dress from a friend, and I’m kind of sad I never got to see it. That said, I’m not the one who had to store it in a closet all those years, so who cares what I think.

Holly T
Holly T
11 years ago

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about this subject and have been so glad I rented my wedding dress. I was only 19 at the time and it was a beautiful, fancy dress. It cost me $350 to rent. I was a little sad to give it back at the time. I just can’t imagine having it sealed in a big box, taking up space for the last 13 years. And yet I’m sure that’s exactly what it would be doing if I had bought it. I have a son and 2 daughters and I look forward to helping my daughters look for their perfect wedding dresses some day. And if one of them wants to rent, all the better.

Dana
11 years ago

I paid less than $100 for mine too. It was a bridesmaid dress but I loved it. It’s stuffed in the back of the closet and NO WAY would I try it on in front of an operable camera.

Sarah
11 years ago

My (not kidding here) 4 THOUSAND dollar dress and matching veil are hanging in my guest room closet, unwashed and just as they were the night I took them off after our reception. I expect they will be there in their garment bag, bustier still hurriedly sewn in, until I have a daughter who wants to wear it for her wedding day or until I die, whichever comes first.

elizabeth
elizabeth
11 years ago

My dress was cheap and the wedding was small. I stored the dress in it’s original plastic wrap and 4 years later and one move, realized the gown had turned yellow where it touched the plastic. After reading about how to clean it, I grew bored so I never tried. I felt guilty for a while even though I know that should I have a girl, she’d never want to wear this anyway.

And then my guilt was absolved! My husband went to India and purchased a bedspred that is basically a quilt pieced together with the decorative edges of dozens of wedding saris. Indian weddings involve lots of costume changes and the women don’t place the same importance on “saving the gown”, so they turn them into beautiful quilts. I realized that saving a gown is an American tradition I’m under no obligation to observe and can freely, like you, subsist off of the memories and pictures, and rid myself of the mocking dress with yellow stains taunting me about not taking better care of it.

Brenda
11 years ago

my first wedding dress was bought at JC Penney in the formal section for about $100. I threw it out not to long before the marriage ended–it had been in a closet that got moldy–ewww! For my 2nd marriage, we got married by a Justice of the Peace at my sisters house. I forgot my dress at my apartment and didn’t have time to drive back so I bought a skirt and blouse at the local Walmart. I was 6 months pregnant so my choices were limited. I had a black skirt and grey top. I still have them hanging in my closet and I’m still married. I doubt the husband even remembers what I was wearing that day.

Nancy
Nancy
11 years ago

The first one (the “real” white, foofy one) that I truly loved, I had professionally cleaned, but left on a hanger. After lugging it around for 6 years post-divorce, well past the point of it no longer fitting, I donated it. The second time around, I just wore a floaty, feminine top and a pretty skirt. I still wear the skirt now and then, and the blouse sits in the closet just in case there’s an appropriate time to wear it. These days, it’s all just clothes — I think I’m getting better about just taking a picture and clearing out the storage space.

Dana
11 years ago

Holy smokes! I just grabbed it out of the closet and tried it on and despite saying I wouldn’t do it in front of an operable camera, I did. IT FITS! After four kids (including twins), the damn thing still fits. You’ve just inspired a new blog post.

Mel
Mel
11 years ago

I took mine to Goodwill only mere months after I got married. I had lost 20 pounds since my wedding and I have to be honest, it was so big on me now…and it just is a reminder of how unhappy I was at that weight on that day. But it was a pretty dress!

anhinga
11 years ago

I loved this post and your writing and thinking. Your photos prove you don’t have to spend wildly to look elegant. Of course, the shoes are covered. :-)

VirtualSprite
11 years ago

For my first wedding, I wore my mother’s dress. It was gorgeous with all this incredible lace and a cathedral length train. Only she wanted to tart it up a bit because when she wore it she didn’t think it had enough bling. So she sewed on another 15 pounds of beads and sequins. I’m 5 feet tall and at that point weighed 98 pounds. The dress weighed more than I did.

For my second wedding we got married in our backyard and had a pig roast, so there was no way in hell I was wearing a big white dress. I bought an Izaac Mizrahi halter dress from Target and wore silver sandals with 4″ stiletto heels. It was awesome! I still wear it. In fact, I wore it to my sister’s wedding.

jenna mccarthy
11 years ago

My dress also hangs squashed (it may not actually need a hanger) in my everyday closet, with no preservation whatsoever. I do have two daughters, but I also have HORRIFIC memories of my mom wanting desperately for my sister or I to wear HERS, which was god-awful ugly and wasn’t going to happen. I still think mine is lovely, a lot like yours–simple and straight and classic–and if one of my girls wants to wear it, great. I can save a few bucks on a dress. But I could NEVEREVEREVER get rid of it. (I pretty much can’t get rid of anything, so I’m a lame barometer.) I try it on occasionally, and bask in the satisfaction that I can still zip it up after 10 years and 2 kids. I figure that’s worth an inch of dowel space. :)

CharChar
CharChar
11 years ago

One thought that comes to mind with this post is my Mom never kept her dress, my Dad died when I was two, and I have no photos of their wedding. I would have loved to have had touched her dress, or even seen it.
Also, (happy stuff here) I never met my husband’s beloved uncle who died about a decade ago. His widow made a quilt for us as a wedding gift, incorporating his uncle’s favorite flannel shirt. I love that quilt.
So I guess my point is life is unpredictable and if I leave early I want my loved ones to have something I loved.
That being said, my dress, preserved in box in closet. Spent more on the preserving than the dress. But damn I had a good time at the wedding and it got FILTHY :)

emily
11 years ago

My dress is hanging in the back corner of our closet. It’s my one cat’s favorite spot to sleep. It doesn’t have any sentimental value for me- it was the first dress on the bargain rack at David’s Bridal that fit well and I could afford. I’d actually hoped to do what you did- just get a nice dress at a cheaper store, because $400 being CHEAP for a dress WTH? I do kinda wish I’d gotten the $800 one that I fell in love with so I could pass it down to whoever wants it.

kalisa
11 years ago

Mine is stuffed in the back of the 3rd bedroom closet. But since it’s an 8-month’s-pregnant maternity dress, I can’t imagine that my son (should he choose to be married in a dress) (not that there’s anything wrong with that) will want this particular heirloom.

SJ
SJ
11 years ago

I still have my dress, it’s preserved in a box that’s stored in my basement. I only wore it one time, and well, I know for a fact that it won’t fit me now but that doesn’t really matter to me. I held onto it thinking maybe I’d have a girl that would want to wear it for her wedding, but I have two boys so that didn’t work out as planned. And who knows if ‘she’ would have wanted to wear it anyways. Maybe my boys will want it for their future wives, or maybe a niece of mine might want it. I really haven’t given it much thought until I read this post! But obviously for whatever reason I haven’t been able to get rid of it, I’m sentimental like that I guess.

cpuangel
11 years ago

You’re hilarious as usual and you rock that dress.

Libby
Libby
11 years ago
Jenn
Jenn
11 years ago

I spent a whopping $350 on my dress and I still love it. Simple, off white and elegant…I will never regret getting married in that dress. But, it sits in the bottom drawer of my dresser…I KNOW. I don’t have any daughters that may wear the dress one day but I do like the idea of taking a piece of it to sew into my boys’ wedding day suits. Kinda fun to try it on every few years to see that I can still pull it off, too!

Bianca
11 years ago

Agree with the first commenter. A friend of mine founded this org. Czech it out!

http://princessproject.org/

They say they want post-2005 dresses but your dress is gorgeous and I’m sure someone would love it even if it was made before 2005.

Carrie
Carrie
11 years ago

My dress was preserved by a fancy-dancy textile company in New York and was returned to me in an acid-free box, via Fedex and included white cotton gloves meant for wearing when I remove it from the box and carefully unfold it, once a year, as recommended by the preserver to ensure wrinkles don’t set.

And now it’s sitting in that same box under a spare sofa in my mom’s basement. I do hope it’s dry down there.

But that’s not my point. About eight years ago, I was cleaning out my closet and I put the shoes I wore on our wedding day in the “donate” box. My husband promptly returned them to the bottom of my closet with much the same response as JB’s. I teased him for about two weeks for the somewhat uncharacteristic sentimentality over shoes.

A few days ago, I was cleaning out the same closet and found them…there was more than a small part of me that was happy he saved them from the donation bin. We just had a daughter, our second child, and I think I’d like to show them to her someday.

Bobbie
Bobbie
11 years ago

I did the unthinkable-I rented mine. A gorgeous designer gown with lightly off the shoulder drapes, fitted, beaded bodice and puffed skirt with long train and draping bow at the back. I know, I know, what disneyland movie did I just step out of. However, it was the best $300.00 dollars (12 years ago) ever spent. Even included dry cleaning and now it is taking up space somewhere else without guilt. I should add, at my bridal shower I was not interested in pretty lacy things–I asked for a leaf blower and lawn mower. Priorities!