So you don't want to trash the dress?
I don't blame you. Neither do I.
This dress that I wore to marry my husband – this gorgeous designer dress that I spent more than my monthly rent on – is not garbage. I don't want to set it on fire, or wear it swimming. I don't want to roll around in the mud in it or saturate it with spray paint. If you are brave enough to do that, I think it's fantastic and I hope you have a fabulous time doing it. It's just not my thing. The problem is that I also don't want to spend a couple hundred dollars to preserve it with chemicals, only to have it sit in a box for the next thirty years with the hope that maybe, just maybe, I will have a daughter and that daughter will want to wear it.
I didn't wear my mother's dress. I didn't even bother to try it on. I think it's amazing and beautifully special if you wore your mother's dress. But I don't know one person that did that. Every single married woman I know purchased a new dress. Every single one of them.
I got married in October of 2013, and I was sure of one thing. I was not going to waste my dress. I was not going to waste it by trashing it, and I was certainly not going to waste it by storing it in a box for nothing. So I decided to do the only thing that made sense to me. I decided to wear it.
The idea for my project “Trash(ed in) the dress” started as a joke. A few years ago, one of my oldest friends, Janna, who now lives in Washington DC, had an intimate wedding of fifteen guests. The guests at this wedding were immediate family only – which means I wasn't there. When I got engaged, I asked Janna to be one of my bridesmaids but eight months before my wedding, Janna called me to let me know that she was pregnant. She was not going to be able to be in my bridal party or even make the journey to my destination wedding.
Through our tearful “I'm sorry” “No, I'm sorry” conversation, we joked about what we could do to make up for the fact that we've been friends for twenty years and were not able to attend each other's weddings. We decided that we would tour DC's National Mall in our wedding dresses and make our husbands take pictures of us in front of all of the monuments. This actually hasn't happened yet. But what has happened is that I found other friends who also had wedding dresses they didn't want to preserve.
We go out in them once a month. We've been all over Brooklyn and Manhattan – drinking, brunching and enjoying the sights our beautiful city has to offer. I've made some awesome new memories in my gorgeous dress with my girlfriends and most people can't say they've done that – or anything like it for that matter.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that you picked the damn thing out because you LOVE it. It was expensive and it made you feel gorgeous on your wedding day and you LOVE it. I know you do. I love it for you. Get it out of the back of your closet and shake it off. Wear it on your anniversary in your house while your husband makes you dinner.
Chip in with your girlfriends to do a photo-shoot in the park and wear your dresses. Go bowling in it, and have some cocktails. Wear the red shoes you didn't have the guts to wear for your traditional wedding. Make your mom get hers out of storage, and if it fits her – go to the mall and get your picture taken at Sears.
Let your daughter or niece try it on – even though she's only 8. Do something with it – anything. But please, I'm begging you, just don't waste it.
Randi Seltzer is a native New Yorker who spends most of her time battling evil as a NYC High School Guidance Counselor and loving her husband and four rescue cats. When she's not saving the world, she's wearing her wedding dress wherever and whenever she pleases on her blog Trash(ed in) the dress.