20 September 2008

Going to the chapel

While the months of June and July seem packed with weddings to attend, the actual height of the wedding season is considered to be from May through September. But the planning stage begins, for the most part, a year or more in advance. Being engaged apparently means being flooded with time schedules informing me at what time I need to complete each task. Most of the items outlined seem unnecessary for a frugal or uncomplicated bride, but these lists sometimes include useful information. The wedding planning task can be daunting, but there's one thing that I of course truly became excited about, buying the dress. Buying a vintage wedding gown can be a bit of a different process. While some traditional wedding stores carry vintage dresses (see Sewly Yours & Once Upon a Bride in Burlington VT) most of these dresses can only be found online or by scouring the racks at vintage clothing and thrift stores. This often means that vintage dress buyers don't have the same experience of trying on multiple gowns. Many brides don't stop to consider the vintage wedding dress, perhaps envisioning froths of degraded lace, puffed sleeves, and high necklines, but the truth is there's some beautiful dresses out there.

Current wisdom states that a wedding dress is a one time use garment. The idea of keeping a wedding dress for a future child is now also out of fashion. I do whole-heartedly advocate for the donation of wedding gowns and other formal dresses to women in need (see the amazing organizations Brides Against Breast Cancer and The Bridal Garden for wedding gown donation; see The Glass Slipper Project, The Ruby Room, Operation Fairy Dust, and The Fairy Godmother Project for prom and formal wear donations). While there's the growing Trash the Dress movement which creates some admittedly stunning photographs of brides well, trashing their dresses, the donation route seems to be the better path to head down in terms of feeling great about what you've just done. Still, I sometimes wish I had a passed on dress from my mother or grandmothers. None were the wedding dress type, in fact if I remember correctly my mother wore a pink mini skirt suit ensemble to her court house elopement.

Left to my own devices, I've already purchased a dress. In an uncharacteristic move, I ended up buying a much more "bridal" dress that wasn't vintage. It's a gorgeous Christos gown I got at a deep discount and certainly has a vintage tone to it. Although I love the dress, I am second guessing my decision. Is it the right one? Should I have waited to find a vintage gown? At the same time, I know it will work. But still, I can't seem to break myself from the habit of dress shopping. So here's some things that I wish I would have bought:

Early 1930s Maison Doucet gown constructed out of beige lace. Available at Antique Dress for $1,885.

1950s fully lined chiffon dress with streamers. Available at Posh Girl Vintage for $325.

Late 1960s/early 1970s polyester lace dress. Available at etsy seller GoodEye for $165.

1950s Ceil Chapman dress with open work lace waist lined with brown. Available at ebay store Mission to Mod for a starting bid of $299.99 and a Buy Now of $650.

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