Rewearing A Family Wedding Dress: Yay or Nay?
While many brides embark on the search for the perfect wedding dress, others may decide to wear a family member’s old gown on their big day. If you aren’t sure if this is the best option for you, here are some pros and cons of wearing the wedding dress that has been passed down to you.
Yay: Staying Rooted
For many who choose to wear a family member’s gown, it comes with something of keeping with tradition. Perhaps it’s a gown that has been passed down from mother to daughter and to wear it on their big day is an honour. Others may have mothers or grandmothers who place special importance on their wedding dresses and hence, would like to pay homage to them by wearing it, bringing a unique significance to their own weddings.
Yay: Emotional Significance
In other cases, the original owner of the wedding dress may have already passed on or may not be able to attend the wedding for a multitude of reasons. To some, wearing the gown may help them feel as though they are able to bring a part of that family member with them to this special ceremony. Despite the family member not being able to be physically present at the wedding, wearing their dress is a symbolic way of having them there!
Nay: Styling Considerations
As with many other things that come from previous generations, a wedding dress that has been handed down may rank high on the fashion spectrum. Depending on what you like or how different you look from the original owner of the dress, the handed down gown may not be what you consider fashionable and it may not suit you as well.
Nay: Bye Bye, Dream Dress
In the same vein, opting for a handed down gown means that the bride would not be able to browse and pick out a dress that she likes. For the more sentimental reasons, she may override her own style preferences to wear the family member’s gown. For many brides, the wedding gown may be one of the highlights of the wedding and giving this aspect up may be rather painful.
Finding a Balance
It’s not altogether impossible to have your cake and eat it too, and you may just be able to wear a dress that’s been handed down to you without compromising on your stylistic preferences. Tailoring is a great way to work with the old dress and rework it into something more modern, and more importantly, that you like better. Alternatively, you can choose to custom make a dress in a similar style but in a fashion that you prefer. A slightly more drastic option is to take the old dress apart and pick out elements (sleeves, embellishments, ribbons) from it to add into a new gown so that you can still have a piece of it with you even as you wear your dream dress.
It’s not an either/or when it comes to wearing a family wedding dress and regardless of reasons that you choose to or not to wear it at your wedding, keep in mind that there are a variety of options available to find an in between. It’s completely up to you how you want to do it so get creative!