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Saturday, 13 August 2016

Conversations with a wedding dress

The importance of a wedding dress is magnified beyond it's function. It is purely the outfit you choose to wear on the day you alter your single status to a unified couple. These days, you have more likely than not been together for awhile before hand, or at least dating seriously, so you're not really altering that much. So the dress, especially if you already live together, is purely a decorative frivolity that is part of the celebration of marriage.

The wedding dress used to be a means to show the family wealth and display status in good light, important in marriages where it was more a political match, rather than love. I understand the need for an impressive dress when countries or businesses were uniting through marriage. Poor and 'unimportant' people often just wore their best church dress, the act of marriage being more important than the wedding.

Interestingly, the tradition of white came late in the day, and as often with tradition, quite by accident. Prior to 1840, wedding gowns were often bold colours. When Queen Victoria got married, she wore a white gown to incorporate her favourite lace. The wedding portrait was published and the copycat brides followed suit. Thus the most misinterpreted wedding tradition was born. (In those days, blue was the colour of purity - and dead sparrows represented loss of virginity but that's another post). Isn't it funny how traditions start and become magnified quickly after their humble beginnings?

The wedding industry in Australia generates over 2 billion dollars a year, with only 50% of weddings being first time marriages. I find this a staggering amount of money for a country this size, which indicates our enthusiasm for the act of marriage (at least for heterosexual couples, but again that's another post - maybe the wedding industry should take on the ACL because imagine the boom to the economy?!).

As for me, I didn't follow tradition. Not for a particular protest, I just don't look so great in white. I chose a beautiful dress that was really just an evening gown, but with a price tag that I would never normally spend on an item of clothing (however as a wedding dress, it would be considered a steal!). It is my only dress that ever came in a box, that detail making me feel very much like Paul Gallico's Mrs Harris. And I like that it still makes me feel that way - special, decadent and a little like a fish out of water (or an Eliza Doolittle before the transformation is complete).

The upside, I've worn it many, many times. I wore it on our honeymoon (twice). I've worn it to every ball I've been to. I hope to wear it again soon, should the occasion arise. I love this dress.



I like that my partner likes to announce to people that it's my wedding dress when they compliment it (which they do). I like that it reminds me of a day 17 years ago. I like that it reminds me of the 17 years and all the changes in my life since I first got. I like that I can still fit into it (though with degrees of appropriate body shape). I like how I feel when I wear it. I just like it.

That to me, is the perfect wedding dress. Not just for one day, for one audience. It's for a life time. A life time together and many audiences, as many people turn up later in your life. And it's timeless if you love it.

"If you wear things you adore, you just look better." —Margherita Missoni

What did you wear to your wedding?
Linking with #ConversationsoverCoffee on the prompt Wedding Dress at Always Josefa

The historic information above was discovered here. Australian Statistics here.


14 comments:

  1. I love how you just threw in a phrase like: I've worn it to every ball I've been to. I've never been to a ball. SUCH a bogan. Sigh.

    Anyway, I've posted my wedding photo a few times on my blog. It was quite traditional. I still love it, though. My mum made it for me, so it's very special to me. I can't believe that 2 billion dollar figure, though. WOAH.

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    1. Just call me Cinderella ;) Actually, they were more through work kind of affairs and a lot less glamorous than they sound...

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  2. I wore a dress that I purchased from a boutique (not a wedding dress store), so it was a lot cheaper. White in colour, nothing too over-the-top but still very nice.

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  3. I always wanted to wear a cheap hippy dress on the beach on my first wedding. And second. Both times they were hijacked. I still found a really cheap dress. $300 with VAT off in the UK first time which well-meaning relatives sold for more than I paid for it. About $150 which my in-laws forced me into second time round, despite my protests. I found the dress I loved for $50 in a shop a few weeks later, but my now ex wouldn't let me buy it, saying it would be ungrateful. I appreciated the thought, but I wanted to feel beautiful on my day. I also wanted to get married on the beach, but that wasn't allowed either. I would advise doing what you want. One of my friends wore a bright orange dress and married in a park by the river. Another wore a stunning blue dress on the beach. If I ever marry again, I'll do exactly what I want. (

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    1. It's amazing how many people buy in on what should be done, and how....

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  4. I wanted to wear a pale blue strapless column dress with no veil. I found a dressmaker, was looking for fabric, and bought the most gorgeous lavender raw silk embroidered with rosebuds for accessories.

    I went BM dress shopping and my BMs were horrified I'd never even tried on a wedding dress.

    I tried on the first one I saw (and loads of other ones that my BMs pulled). It was an ivory full skirt with a train, teamed with a cross over embroidered bodice and a 2 metre double layer veil. And I loved it!

    I had the lavender silk made into a ring cushion, an evening bag, pocket square and a wrap. I made some leftovers into a cushion.

    I paid the $500 deposit but it was the full price! It was a try on model that had been discontinued before it hit the floor. It hit the sale rack as we walked into the store. I was the only one to even try it on.

    I will never wear it again and I don't care. I loved it for what it was, for what it represented, for what it meant.

    http://www.kimbalikes.com/may-the-fourth-be-with-you/

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    1. My mum did that - she had the wedding dress cut shorter into a cocktail dress and the train made into dress pants. Eventually it made it into the dressing up box for us (and she made a wedding dress for one of my dolls out of the material). We tore it to shreds but loved playing in it...

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  5. As long as we do what we want I don't think it matters what dress. The history of the wedding dress is interesting and I always find it amazing what other cultures customs are. I have yet to have a wedding dress but I must say I am heading in the white/ cream direction but because it is what I want. It is great that your dress has been used and loved so much.

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  6. Great story and we all do have wedding dress stories it seems!! Mine was a simple white one bought in the bridesmaid section of a bridal store. A-line and no fancy stuff at all. I still have the dress after 45 years but no-one other than a then 4 year old granddaughter tried it on once for an afternoon of pretend play.

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  7. That's impressive that you still fit into your wedding dress 17 years later enabling you to wear it again to balls etc.

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  8. I didn't follow tradition either. Just couldn't see the point throwing so much money at one dress, one day. I opted for a pale magenta formal style dress, picked up in the sales for under $200.

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  9. Ohhhhh I love that you can wear your wedding dress to other important events. I wish I had been less traditional in my choice although I did love it at the time. Not likely to wear it again though. Thanks for linking up with me on Flat Bum Mum this week. Bron x

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  10. I love that you have worn your wedding so many times - that is something not many of us can say. Your love for this dress shines through your words and perhaps that speaks volumes, more so than any other dress ever could. You have given me food for thought in this line "the act of marriage being more important than the wedding" I can see another post swirling in my head....maybe marriage and weddings are not even the same thing? Thank you for linking up to #convocoffee xx

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