I loved and still love my wedding dress. I remember the day I found her. I was living in Virginia at the time, my home state, and my mom and I went to a local bridal boutique. I was 23, a baby, and newly engaged to my college boyfriend. I walked into the boutique confident as I knew exactly what I wanted. Little did I know that “the dress” would be nothing like my idea.
Strapless with beading cascading from the bodice down to a pleat in the front, with a mirrored beaded pleat in the back and a fuller skirt, my dress was a style that I had originally no intention of trying on. As I started pulling dresses that I wanted, the owner of the boutique pulled what would be my dress out and told me to try it. She said that I might be surprised. In my mind I didn’t want to look like a bell ringing as I walked down the aisle, but I begrudgingly added it to my pile of dresses.
The first dress I tried on was sleek and fitted with a slight halter and sweetheart neckline. It was nice, but it didn’t feel like the one. I had the same reaction with every dress that I had pulled for myself. Nice, but not the one.
When I realized that the dresses I had wanted weren’t working, I took the strapless dress to try on next. As soon as I put the dress on, it was the seventh dress that day, I knew it was the one for me. When I walked out of the dressing room towards the mirrors, my mom put her hand to her mouth and started crying. The boutique owner had an all-knowing glint in her eye and a slight smile that screamed “I told you so” as I made my way to the mirrors.
When I finally stood in the middle of the room with mirrors all around me and looked at my reflection, I started to cry too. I didn’t look like a bell, I looked like one of the brides in the magazines that covered my coffee table. She was perfect and she was mine. I loved the way I felt that day and on the day I wore her as I walked down the aisle.
I wish I could say that my marriage was as perfect as my dress, but it wasn’t. Years later, as I moved out of my marital home, I took my dress, which I had preserved after the wedding with me. Safe in its’ box, my perfect dress spent the next four years bouncing around from a storage unit, to a rented condo and finally to the attic of a duplex.
After almost five years of being tucked away, I had moved on from my divorce, but there was one thing that remained — my perfect wedding dress. It was time to say goodbye, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. So I did what most Charlotte women do when they want solutions to a problem… I posted about my dress on the Girl TribeFacebook group.
The responses ranged from photographers interested in a trash the dress shoot to prop stylists who wanted it for potential photo shoots and everything else in between. All were great suggestions and options, but like my original experience dress shopping, ever option was nice, but not right.
Just as I was giving up hope, I got a response from a member who suggested I donate my dress to the Murder Mystery Company of Charlotte. I always thought my dress was a showstopper, so how fitting for her to be the star in a show. They perform the play ‘Til Death Do Us Part occasionally and need costumes for the actors. This idea felt right. I knew this was the perfect goodbye to my dress.
On a beautiful day in May, I handed over my perfect dress perfectly preserved in a box to folks from the theater company. They thanked me and I thanked them in return. As they carried her away, I knew I had made the right decision. It was time to let go and to move forward. I just didn’t know at the time that moving forward from my divorce and letting go of my wedding dress would eventually lead me to becoming the editor of Carolina Bride. It’s funny how things work out sometimes, isn’t it?
We’d love to hear what other brides have done with their dresses post-nuptials. Email us at email@example.com with your story.