Seven ways to use your mother’s wedding dress on your big day – without actually wearing it

Seven ways to use your mother’s wedding dress on your big day – without actually wearing it

My parents were married during the “Princess Diana Wedding” era, and apparently every bride with a rock on her finger dreamed of being a princess that year. The ivory silk taffeta, the antique lace, and an iconic twenty-five foot train that felt like a fundamental in becoming the Princess of Wales.

She was becoming a literal princess. Who doesn’t want to feel like a princess on their wedding day?

My mom’s dress (as she has described it over the years) was “really lacy” and “had a big, long train”. It was very regal. Which is exactly what you wanted if you were getting married in 1982. But since Kyle and I were planning our wedding in 2019, the puffed sleeves and the taffeta of my mother’s wedding dress didn’t really go with my vibe.

Fortunately she wasn’t pushy. While she did offer, it was quickly followed by “We got married in the eighties, remember, so puffy sleeves were very in“.

Enough said.

Wanting to incorporate your mother’s gown into your wedding can be a lovely, time-honored tradition, but it isn’t always feasible. Maybe you’re not the same size, maybe the fabric has yellowed, or maybe it has a twenty-five foot train that you don’t want to have to lug around on your wedding day. Regardless there are other ways to have it incorporated. (Keep in mind that all of these require chopping up the dress in some fashion or another – make sure Mom is cool with that.)

  1. Use it as a flower girl dress
    Your flower girl is the only other guest that can get away with wearing white on your wedding day – why not repurpose your mom’s old wedding dress for the occasion? By altering it down, you can pick and choose your favorite details offering a unique and adorable feature of your ceremony.
  2. Incorporate it into your veil or sewn into your dress
    Just because you can’t wear the whole thing doesn’t mean you can’t have a piece of it with you on your wedding day. Not to mention, adding this touch can be your “something old”!
  3. Wrap it around your bouquet
    Use swatches from the dress to wrap around your own bouquet and your bridesmaids bouquets.
  4. Use the fabric for a ring bearer pillow
    Assuming you trust your ring bearer to walk down the aisle with your rings on a pillow, creating one out of the fabric from your mother’s wedding dress is a nice way to add a touch of ‘family heirloom’ to the ceremony.
  5. Repurpose it into a rehearsal or reception dress
    This one may take some work, but finding a talented seamstress who who can transform the gown into a party dress is a great way to honor your mother without actually wearing her dress to say “I do”.
  6. Cut it into handkerchiefs
    I’ve never been much of a “handkerchief” person, but they can be a necessary part of your wedding day.
  7. Turn it into a garter
    This is only if you think it isn’t weird that part of your mom’s wedding dress is going to be wrapped around your thigh and. your future husband could potentially take it off with his teeth at the reception. Just a friendly reminder.

Written by Jennifer Kosatka of Chicago, IL. Jennifer is a contributing Vow, Bella bride who was married October of 2019. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and their two puppies. Follow her on Twitter at @JennKosatka.

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