Today I took my wedding dress to get cleaned and preserved. While paying the exorbitant bill – that’s right ladies and gents, the money siphon doesn’t stop even though the wedding’s over – I asked the owner how long it would take to get back. I’m thinking about selling my dress and putting the money either towards one of our bills or putting it into our savings account.
Turns out I’ll have to struggle with this decision for another four to six weeks while I wait for the dress to come back. I thought it was a pretty simple decision until for some reason I started asking people their opinions. Half of my friends were for selling it, the other half begged me not to.
It’s hard to imagine the dress I chose as not being in style one day. It’s a pretty classic, simple dress – a strapless, mermaid silhouette with a lace-up bodice and a lace overlay. But I’m sure my mother thought the same thing about her dress – a satin A-line gown with puffy shoulders and long lace sleeves (it was early spring 1985) – and boy did my sisters and I have a laugh when she mentioned me wearing it. So even though my dress is in style today, it’s likely it won’t be 25 years from now.
I’m all for selling it. But because I like to write things out and because I love lists, I started thinking about the main reasons people would want to store a wedding dress for 20+ years. Here’s what I came up with.
Reason #1: It was one of the most important days of your life and you want to remember it. I’m a sentimental person, but in a reasonable way. I only keep cards that have a personal message from someone I love. Sometimes my husband writes me little notes and I keep those. Those things don’t take up much space, and I can read them anytime I want. But my wedding dress will have to sit in an airtight box until the day someone wants to wear it – if they even want to wear it at all. If I want to remember my wedding, I’ll look at the 1,200 photos my photographers took, or read the copies of our vows and ceremony, or smell the perfume I bought especially for that day.
Reason #2: You want your daughter to wear it someday. I firmly believe that expecting something is the best way to keep it from happening. So if I save my dress and start daydreaming about my unborn, non-existent daughter wearing it someday, I’ll probably end up with all boys. Even though my husband subscribes to the plan “keep trying until we get a girl,” I’m pretty sure I’m not on board with birthing a little league team. Even if we have a girl, who’s to say she would want to wear my dress? I might find myself in a similar situation that my mother found herself in with me. And even if my mother’s dress was gorgeous, I doubt I could have ignored that little voice inside my head (or maybe it was my heart) that kept shouting, “Get your OWN dress!”
Reason #3: It makes you look and feel more beautiful than you’ve ever felt. This one just isn’t really debatable. It really was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever worn, and it made me feel amazing. It also made me look amazing, because that torturous bodice took about 15 pounds off and made me look like I have a waist. But – will I ever get a chance to wear it again? Probably not.
Reason #4: It’s the most expensive, significant clothing item you’ve ever bought and you can’t see yourself parting with it, especially since you’ve only worn it once. This is one of the ones I struggle more with. Finding this dress was like finding the Holy Grail. I’ve written about my difficulties finding a dress that I liked in my price range, and when I found this dress, it was a welcome relief. But when I think about the fact that the money I get from selling it will help us achieve the next stage of our life together, buying our first home, I can’t help but think the best decision is to part with it.
Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second – or tenth – best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way.