Thursday, July 26, 2012
I am thinking of donating my wedding dress.
Somewhere in southern NJ my mother just gasped, clutched her heart and sat down. Don't worry, Mom, as of Thursday afternoon its still in my possession.
Despite the vast amount of stuff we have in this house, I am not all that attached to things. I have lots of things, but not because of sentimental attachment. I tend to keep things because they might come in useful one day. I come from a family that takes "use it up, wear it out" seriously. My mother still has nearly all of our toys from 1974-1990 (as I write this my daughter is playing dress-up in a clown outfit from 1978), and a large selection of items from her own childhood. My father comes from a family of eleven children, and you can rest assured that nothing was ever wasted in that family.
I have moved ten times in ten years, and I am loath to throw things out--will this fit in the next house? I never know what I might need, what will fit, and what won't. Moving is expensive without adding buying new furniture to the mix. For a few years, our basements and garages looked like a furniture consignment store; full of stuff that doesn't fit but I didn't want to throw away.
I am getting tired of hauling all this STUFF around. I want to own less stuff. Since Jules started her William Morris Project last year, she has inspired me to bring this chaos into order. I have been purging and purging and organizing and purging again. I have gotten rid of baby clothes, furniture, trinkets, anything and everything that isn't nailed down. Yet still there is more.
One of those "more" things is my wedding dress. I know, many of you are reading this thinking "are you INSANE? Get rid of your WEDDING DRESS?"
I got married in a frothy meringue-y pouf of a wedding dress.
While I felt beautiful in that dress, I don't think I'm going to be wearing it again. During the reception my sister stepped on the back of my dress, putting a very large, 20 inch horizontal rip in the top two layers of the skirt. When I had the dress cleaned, I inquired about having the rip fixed, and it is not repairable. The top two layers of skirt wold have to be replaced, for nearly as much money as I paid for the dress in the first place. (So I paid a lot of money to dry clean and box a dress that can't be worn.)
For the past ten years I have lugged this dress from house to house, storing it in attics and basements. Heaven knows what it looks after having been stored in such inhospitable climes; the box is too thick to store under a bed or any other out-of-the-way spot you might think of as a cool, dry place. I can't open the box without breaking the seal to check if the dress is even still in good shape. Currently the box is taking up a lot of space in my closet.
If the Mister and I were to renew our vows, I would a) ahem not fit in that dress without a liquid diet, and b) would probably want something a little more form-fitting this time around, as that dress was a mile wide, weighed a million pounds, and I couldn't visit the bathroom by myself in it.
My wedding day is one of my most treasured memories, but the dress itself...isn't. If the house burned down it is not even in the top 100 things I would grab before running out the door. The reason I keep it is because its my wedding dress, and aren't you supposed to keep stuff like that?
The point of the William Morris project is to make sure that the items in your house have meaning to you. The dress doesn't really resonate with me, at least not the way that the red dress I wore on our third date does, or the locks of hair I kept from the childrens's first haircuts, or the pictures from our wedding day. I don't feel "oh, that means so much to me, I must keep it."
On the other hand...it is my wedding dress. What if Princess wants to wear it thirty years from now? That's unlikely, given her independent streak, but that is the traditional thinking--keep it for future generations. And.....that's all I have in the "keep" column. I'm keeping it because I feel guilty about getting rid of it, not because I want it.
So...to recap, give it away because I will never wear it again and it is too damaged to wear and too expensive to fix just for it to sit in a box and I don't really have an emotional attachment to it, or keep it, because its my wedding dress and that is a sacrosanct item that belongs to future generations? Your thoughts, please. (Auntie June, I'd love to hear Grandma's take on this.)
I am linking up to Pancakes and French Fries William Morris Project.