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.

428615592_1ed0e60590_o

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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Ashlee
Ashlee
11 years ago

I had mine perserved and it is in my spare bedroom closet. My mom made it, so it is special because of that. She also made all of my homecoming/prom dresses all my years of highschool, so I have those saved as well. Even though no one will wear them I still want to keep them because she would stay up till 3am the day before the dances sewing away because I decided I wanted a black dress with no sleeves instead of a red dress with sleeves.

Nancy
Nancy
11 years ago

I forgot to mention when I posted about my dresses, that when I gave mine away, I threw out my mom’s dress. It had been preserved, but when I was about 16 I dug into the box and tried it on (too small for me even then, but lovely and simple). Somehow I ended up being the one to lug it around with me for years after I left home (my folks were long-since divorced and she certainly didn’t want/need it, and none of us girls ever wore it — though we did wear her veil, given to her from her dad). The dress hadn’t aged well, either.

So to preserve the memory of her dress and happier times in their early life together, I cut off all the fabric-covered buttons that went up the back of the dress. I certainly have room in my jewelry box for 20-30 buttons, maybe to tuck into mementos for all her grandkids someday on their wedding days.

This topic brings up another idea — what about jewelry? Anyone have handmedown jewelry? I have my grandgrandmother’s ring, full of very delicate opals — lovely, but too delicate for me anymore (loved it when I was a teenager!) I wore my mom’s GORGEOUS emerald and diamond ring (and wedding band) in my first marriage– loved, loved, loved it, but now view it as somewhat bad luck. I had the diamonds taken out and turned into studs that I wear every day (where else am I going to get diamonds that big?), and had the emerald mounted into a pendant — but I never wear it. Not sure why I can wear the diamonds but not the emerald. I’ll hold onto it for one of my girls or a niece, I suppose. Have been tempted to sell it, too.

kristiina
11 years ago

Mine went to goodwill a few years after the wedding…I got it for a steal at david’s bridal and figured someone else could get some use out of it.

But then, I’m not the sentimental type…

ps–my marriage is still going strong ;)

Lyn
Lyn
11 years ago

Oh I was so sad when I read your post. I’m a really long time reader/lurker/ and have never commented that I ever remember but oH!! please dont get rid of your wedding dress. I inherited my Grandmother’s (my father’s mother) wedding dress 2 years ago and it is my most treasured posession!! It holds all the family love and memories of my Grandma. You TOO will be able to make someone THAT happy with your wedding dress some day too!!!
Its a symbol, not a knick-knack.
I didnt read all the other commments before posting but I so hope you decide to clean it and store it so that some day, a family member will lovingly stroke the fabric and all loving memories of you will come flooding back!!

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

Our wedding was over four years ago now and my dress is still just hanging in the back of our closet. It is covered in plastic, but certainly not sealed or protected… not even washed! Granted it was a fairly inexpensive white bridesmaid dress. I don’t think anyone will wear it again, though perhaps something could be done with it :) I don’t have the heart to part with it just yet.

telegirl
telegirl
11 years ago

Funny you should mention it because my wedding dress on Craigslist… first $150 (OBO) takes it and the skirting that goes underneath. I thought my dress was pretty but I want my daughter to have her own memories and enjoy picking out her own dress. Her older brother? I don’t think he’ll want to wear it. Hubby agrees, it should go to its new home.

Siena
11 years ago

Mine is sitting in the basement closet at my mom’s house, uncleaned and unregarded. I was trying to do my wedding as cheaply as possible, and it was in the midst of a lot of family upheaval and fighting, and mom and I reconciled long enough for her to insist that I needed a Real Dress and to pay for half of it before we fought again and I had to pay for the other half. (Thankfully all that is behind us now, although traces of it probably linger on my credit card somehow.) I married in 1998, apparently before they had cute dresses for women of, ahem, larger carriage, so it’s big and poofy and long-sleeved and while it has its good points I don’t know what the hell to do with it now.

Oddly enough, I know enough about fabric preservation to clean the thing myself and do a decent job of it, but then I’d have a *clean* white elephant and that’s not really any better.

lisa-marie
11 years ago

The Bon?!? Wow, that takes me back in time!

megan
megan
11 years ago

My dress is preserved in a box and stored in my parents house as we have no space in our apartment and my mom was aghast at the “humidity in the air” at our storage unit.

I am not sure how long I intend to hold on to it. I doubt my husband and I will have kids since we’re both getting close to 40 (eek) among other reasons. Plus even if I do end up with a daughter, I can’t imagine she’d want to wear it. Fashions change drastically through the years – as noted by my mom’s shock when looking at dresses with me “Wow…none of them have sleeves. They all had sleeves when I got married!” (and she had long sleeves at that!) Plus it’s a drop waist gown, and a bit different, so not something that would be considered a classic.

Then again, there is the sentimental fact that it is my wedding dress. I have only been married a year – maybe in a few years I’ll decide to part ways with it. For now, it’s safe where it is. :)

Jenny
11 years ago

Mine is in my closet, just hanging there, unwrapped, as if I might decide to wear it to work one day.

Liz
Liz
11 years ago

I walked home from my wedding in a borrowed bikini top and bottom after swimming until 5am with the majority the wedding guests.

I left my wedding dress on the pool deck.

It was, luckily, recovered and sitting in a closet (how’d you like to be THAT hotel guest?), but now I’m wondering if it matters as much.

Melissa
Melissa
11 years ago

My dress is in a box in my closet. Saving it for my daughter, if she wants its. I think I’ve looked at it once but still love it.

souphead
11 years ago

your dress is beautiful and i think it’s really sweet that JB wouldn’t let you toss it!

i’m happy to hear so many didn’t have their dresses professionally preserved. i planned to do mine, but it’s been in it’s original garment bag, crumpled at the bottom b/c it never stayed on the hanger, shoved in the back of my closet since i finally took it off around 4am the night of my wedding 6 1/2 years ago. maybe someday, but right now the thought of paying $150 to have it cleaned and preserved…not gonna happen. Besides, it’s a plus size and if i ever have a daughter, i really hope she’s healthier than i was and can’t fit into it.

Mel T.
11 years ago

Mine was “preserved” and is in this big box with a clear plastic window that looks disturbingly like a small coffin. Every time we move I think it looks like we are carting a body along with us. My two girls are young but already taller than me, so unless knee-length poofy velvet is all the rage when they get married, I’m dragging this thing around the country for no good reason. Plus my eldest will probably get married in sweats and basketball shoes. But I won’t ditch The Dress ’til my mother dies, since she’s the one who had it preserved and obsesses over whether I’m taking proper care of it.

Marolyn
Marolyn
11 years ago

1st wedding dress.. no clue where it ended up.. divorce ~

2nd wedding dress.. beautiful purple velvety number I wore to our very small wedding at home then I cut it up and made into my medievil overdress for our larger ren reception we had a few months later!

I totally love the idea of pocket squares for the boys on their wedding day ~ AND two hankys for the brides.. for their something blue!!!!
There ya go! Surely JB would agree to that? Leftover material… make some sort of art work out of it.. or pillow slip cover… together with JB !

Jessi
11 years ago

Yep, still have it in a closet (9 yrs and counting), not preserved with stains on the hem. My mother made it (and all my prom/dance dresses) so I feel I have to keep it for that reason. Other than that, I’d love to give it to someone else if they liked it.

I also thought it’d be fun to do a photo shoot of “trash the dress” but apparently that’s no longer cool.

Redbecca
Redbecca
11 years ago

i think mine is in the basement storage closet slowly acquiring the stink of a basement and nearby kitty litter boxes. I also bought mine at a “prom dress” store, and cost me about $130. Probably doesn’t fit anymore, but then again I haven’t tried it on. My shoes were white flip flops (we eloped to Hawaii) with rhinestones. I still have them and they are more grey than white now, but I do wear them around the yard, etc.

I think a) your dress ROCKS b)JB’s reaction is totally sweet c)gravity is a bitch, ain’t she?
Hang on to it for a few more years if it isn’t taking up much-needed space, and then try again. Or who knows? Maybe you will come up with a cool use for it and can snip it up/reuse. Pillows could be fun if they go with your decor.

KB
KB
11 years ago

I love my dress. LOVE. It’s hanging in a garment bag in our basement. When hubby’s tinkering down at his workbench in the basement, I put it on and sit and talk to him and feel beautiful. This frequently happens after I’ve watched too many episodes of Say Yes To The Dress. I wear it a few times a year. I love my dress and our wedding. We know we can’t recreate that day, but I can wear it and remember fondly. I would have a trunk of dress up clothes if I could justify the expense, so instead I’ll just have to make due with Best Dress Ever.

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

I think your dress was awesome…and you looked even better in it in 2008 :) My dress went to the dump (at the hand of my husband) the day I was packing to move into my own place because I was leaving my husband. It was just a separation and two years later we got back together…but I don’t regret getting rid of it. I just wish it could have been donated to someone who could have used it rather than tossed. Who knows…maybe some homeless woman has gotten years of use out of it!

Brenda
11 years ago

I think mine is in the bottom of my mom’s hope chest in their attic. I’d prefer it stayed there. It wasn’t anything fancy and cost $50 and $50 to have it dry cleaned. it was only worn by bridal models. it would have made a fun dress-up gown for my girls, but I didn’t need to store that.
You do look great.
Sneek it out one day. space is a premium.

victoria
victoria
11 years ago

When I got married, my husband and I were broke graduate students in Berkeley, California. I had not two dimes to my name.

I borrowed a book called “Teach Yourself To Sew” from the Berkeley Public Library. I bought a needle and thread and taught myself to sew, page by page.

I chose a short, Donna Karan shift dress pattern. I practiced with cheap muslin, and then, when I was ready, I used ONE YARD of pale yellow silk shantung from the remainder table for $10 to make my very tight, very short, dress. By hand. It took weeks.

I made myself a necklace and earrings, by hand, using seed pearls from a local bead store.

I got my shoes from a local thrift store for less than $20.

Meanwhile, some guy whose dog I voluntarily walked every day (I like dogs) decided to thank me with a $100 gift card to Nordstrom. I bought my stockings, bra, and panites there for considerably more than the cost of the whole dress + shoes + jewelry.

I cut my hair myself.

That was fifteen years ago. I actually looked really good, judging by the pictures our friends took. I can still fit in the dress, but I would never show acres of thigh like that in public any more.

The dress hangs in a garment bag in my closet as a testimonial to my determination and inventiveness, if nothing else.

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

Mine is folded up and stuffed into a shoebox, sitting in my closet where it has been for the past 7 years. I never even had it cleaned. Originally I thought I would have it cleaned, repair the tear in the hem and then sell it. Clearly, that is not going to happen.

Oh, and my wedding shoes? Get this: our cat peed on those the day after the wedding. SYMBOLISM? WHAT SYMBOLISM?

Christine
11 years ago

So many responses! I only got married less than a year ago, and it hangs in a dry cleaning bag in our closet. Not preserved, or cleaned. We were supposed to do an hour shoot after the wedding w/ our photographer, maybe in August? I guess I should see if I can squeeze into it, since last time I tried in June, I could get into it, but the last inch of zipper would not give. I guess the girls have gained some weight? I don’t even know.

Very sweet that JB wants you to keep it, but I am planning on donating mine after I’m done with the August shoot. I would sell it, but it has a nice hole in the back from when my new husband stepped on it, ripping out the bustle and making a nice lil hole. Oh well!

Alison
Alison
11 years ago

It’s been “cleaned & preserved” and sits in a box under a bed in my mom’s house. It’s still dirty from my husband stepping on it all night and there is a small hole where the bussell ripped, again, when he stepped on it. I would love to have it made into something, a christening gown maybe. However, I have one boy and am pregnant w/ another, and we are done after that. So, chances are, nothing will be ever be done with it. Maybe if I have really awesome daughter-in-laws that want to use it for that someday….

Shawna
11 years ago

Huh, I read this and got this wierd sense of deja vu… and then realized I’d answered a similar question over at Swistle’s blog recently. (http://swistle.blogspot.com/2010/07/reader-question-decluttering-wedding.html)

Because I can’t possibly be so clever twice, here is my recycled answer:

I never got why people would keep a dress when they could just re-sell it not long after the wedding while it’s still in style.

I got married in 2003. GUESS WHAT’S HANGING IN A BAG IN MY CLOSET RIGHT NOW?

In my defence, it’s an A-line in a luxurious peau-de-soie fabric, without a lot of embellishment, and has spaghetti straps, so I could easily see my daughter using it by either wearing it or using the fabric.

Anne
11 years ago

I hemmed mine to knee length so I can wear it again (it’s a sheath dress, so not very “flouncy”). Unfortunately, for the past 4 years I have been either pregnant, breastfeeding, or losing pregnancy weight after stopping breastfeeding, and therefore I think it has only fit for about a month within that time period. Plus, I have a toddler and a preschooler, and we all know that leaves TONS of opportunity to go out in fancy cocktail-type dresses.

But, I haven’t given up hope. Or the dress.

Someday….

Jess
Jess
11 years ago

What, no pics of the shoes? Mine still has grass stains on it…..ohhhh yeah!

Velocibadgergirl
11 years ago

My mom made my dress, and I should probably have it cleaned and stored, but it’s in the closet at my parents’ house. I can’t imagine getting rid if it, even though nothing short of a breast reduction is gonna get me into it ever again.

Meli
Meli
11 years ago

My dress is hanging in my closet too. Unprotected,uncleaned, and I’ll be darned if that thing didn’t just shrink over the years. I tried it on about 5 years ago and the damn zipper wouldn’t come up. Weird.

Anyway, if I had thought of it in time, I would have had someone use the fabric from the dress and turn it into 2 little Baptism outfits for my boy-girl twins.

Now I don’t know what I’ll do with it. I will likely save it for my daughter to use for her wedding either as it is or use the fabric to create something of her own.

Maria
11 years ago

Mine is hanging in the closet. It has never been cleaned. This kind of terrifies me as there are um, organic, stains on it.

*Katie
11 years ago

Sadly, I have no idea where my dress is…and I’m afraid to ask about it. I loved my dress, I felt so beautiful in it and I’ll probably never look so beautiful again in my entire life.

Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last and the divorce was terribly messy and it even led to an extremely rocky relationship with my parents for quite a while. Last I saw the dress, it was hanging in a garment bag off the closet door in my parents’ office. After not talking to my parent for a year after my divorce, the dress is no longer there and like I said, I’m afraid to ask them about it…

Rookwoodmusic
11 years ago

I donated mine to Brides Against Breast Cancer. It hung in our closet for a yr and I never preserved it bc I didn’t want to get it cleaned. We had our photo shoot outside so there were leaves stuck to the bottom of it. BABC clean it for you and we got a big tax write off! Funnily, my husband was not upset at all. Now, I’m hoping it wasn’t something I just didn’t notice. Doubtful but I’ll ask him in the morning. :)

Josefina
Josefina
11 years ago

I told my mom to just hang onto it a while and I’d take it when I had room. Of course, I will leave it at my parents’ house for eternity.

cheyenne
11 years ago

Some friends of mine get together every year and do the Bride Float down Some River in Alabama. They don their bridal gear, drink a few beers, float down the river for a spell, then go eat some barbecue. Last year they raised a whole bunch of money for breast cancer research. I’m so going next year.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
11 years ago

We had a super small informal wedding, and I wore a dress I already owned. It now sits in a box in the attic full of other clothes that are too big.

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

Don’t throw it out! One of your kids might want it made into something for his wedding.

Mine is preserved in a box with a little clear window so I can still gaze at it. :) It’s sitting in our basement as unfortunately the box is a smidge too tall to fit under the bed. Storage convenience fail.

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

I should also add that the pastor that married us had a stole (that he only wore for weddings) made from lace or fabric from his mother and grandmothers’ wedding dresses. During the ceremony, he wrapped it around our joined hands. It was a nice symbol for us.

Melissa
Melissa
11 years ago

I’m glad to read that I’m not the only one who never had her dress cleaned after the wedding. Mine is hanging in its garment bag in the guest room closet – the bottom still filthy from walking through parking lots. I wasn’t happy with my dress anyway, plus I only have a boy, so I don’t even know why I’m hanging on to it.

Linda, I love your dragonfly.

shelie
shelie
11 years ago

When I divorced – I cut my wedding dress into a million pieces and burnt it in the fireplace and cried like a baby.

Lylah
11 years ago

You look lovely! Then and now.

I swiped a sari from my mother’s closet to use as my wedding dress. It’s in my closet now, and it still fits, only because 6 yards of silver-embroidered silk will always fit if you wrap it loosely enough…

Sunshyn
Sunshyn
11 years ago

I wore an off-white hippie dress (in 2002!), and it’s hanging in my closet, even though I’ll never wear it again, except maybe for an anniversary party or something like that. I doubt I’ll ever have a florist re-create the Mother Nature floral wreath for my hair again, though. WHAT was I thinking??

Jennifer
11 years ago

Still have my dress, but didn’t get it preserved until it was done by the insurance company after a fire in my kitchen (we were out of the house for 3 months!) I doubt that my daughter will wear it; she is on her way to be tall and thin, the polar opposite of me. However, my mom didn’t have a wedding dress per se, and for some reason, that makes me want to hang onto mine all the more.

Molly
11 years ago

I had my dress dry cleaned (not preserved in any way) and then I sewed a bag to put over the hanger and it is in the back of my closet. I haven’t looked at it since I got it back from the cleaners… and I KNOW I’ll never wear it again. my hope is to make my son’s bar mitzvah tallis out of it.

simon
11 years ago

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

Kristen over at Camels and Chocolate found the answer, I think. A little snip, a little cut, etc…

CharChar
CharChar
11 years ago

One thing the preservers never tell you is that they actually shrink the dresses.
That’s the only rational explanation as to why mine will never fit again.

April
11 years ago

The first dress, my ex-MIL bought for me – without me even having seen it. I was 19 and afraid to tell her how much I hated it. It was absolutely hideous, but extravagantly expensive. Giant poufy leg-o-mutton sleeves that I had removed, crystals dropping off of it everywhere – ugh. It was professionally cleaned, and still stored in my in-laws guest room when we divorced a year later.

The dress I wore this time? A simple, black a-line dress from JC Penney that I wore with a blazer when we got married at the courthouse on a Thursday afternoon. I’d picked the dress out the night before, and was six months pregnant with our son and it was the only thing that fit. I don’t even have a single picture of me in it – but I never regret not spending a ridiculous sum on a dress I will never wear again. The memories we made that day are far more important.

bacioni
bacioni
11 years ago

I have one b/w picture of my parents standing on the steps of NY city hall on the day of their marriage. My Mom says the suit she was wearing was a pretty blue–I’ll have to take her word for it; she says she had to get rid of it because fireworks caught the skirt on fire! I wish she had saved a snippet of the fabric at least, so I could see the color of blue she said it was.

My own wedding dress was just a fancy day-dress, for my own (color) pics standing in front of city hall…

Alissa
Alissa
11 years ago

I’d personally love it if it were my husband who were the sentimental sap, and not me for a change. It would be nice to think that there’d be something he clung to like that for memories. Alas, he is just not the type. But I still hold out hope that maybe once we have kids, he’ll become attached to some random object like I always find myself doing. :)

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

Gads. Mine was professionally (and expensively) cleaned and stored in an archive quality special dandy cardboard wedding dress box with a clear plastic window so I can see it. When I choose. To pull it down off the closet shelf it barely fits on.

Yeah. Not sure what I’ll do with it long term. It was pretty plain, strapless, (supposed to be) floor length (except I’m tall so it hit my ankles), ivory, three ivory satin ribbons at the waist (maybe one at the hem). It’s not like I’ll ever wear it again, but I’ll probably hang onto it.

willikat
11 years ago

My dress is in a paper bag in my trunk. I keep meaning to take it to be cleaned and whatnot, but I just don’t….to be honest, my dress was a great deal at $75 on clearance at J. Crew (and very pretty, though plain as all get-out) …. but strangely doesn’t hold sentimental value for me. Other things from that day certainly do, so I’m not totally hard-hearted. :)