A couple of weeks ago marked my eleventh-year marriage anniversary with my husband. We have three small children – a six year old, three year old and an eight month baby. Celebrating can be difficult at times - but this never took away from how special the day is in retrospect.
We celebrated as a family with our favourite home cooked meal – super crunchy fried chicken wings, eating in our comfy clothes with the kid’s movie Pets playing in the background.
Anyway, earlier that day to celebrate the occasion, I decided to dive into the depths of my cupboard where my wedding dress has been hanging there for over a decade since I got married. When the celebratory day was over, my dress was sent to the dry-cleaners and has resided in the same place in the cupboard to this day.
Many countries around the world are in sporadic coronavirus lock-down and if you happen to be in this position and looking for something to do while home because of pandemic, here’s an idea.
Try on your wedding dress!
On the morning of June 19th I went to my spare room to take out my wedding dress. Inside in the corner of my cupboard storage hung a zippered garment bag. Inside was a strapless white lace wedding dress with an accented beaded bodice. My reception red silk evening dress also accompanied my white dress. Both dresses have been hanging in the same spot since the day I moved into my house and left there to commemorate the special day.
I hung the dresses up and slowly unzipped the garment bag to reveal the dress I wore on this day...eleven years ago to date. A rush of excitement washed over me as the day’s memories came rushing back to me.
Once out of the bag, I noticed some colour transfer from my red dress to the white one. It didn’t bother me because the wedding dress was still beautiful. It was still exactly as how I remembered it.
Trying on my wedding dress again
I was at my bridal store in between bridal appointments, I got to experience my bridal feels again. The experience turned out to be so much more meaningful and nostalgic than an activity to kill time and provide a little entertainment.
When I stepped into the gown, the first thing I noticed was the dress’s simplicity and train length. Did I appreciate the elegance when I first wore it on my wedding day? I don’t think so – I think I caught up in the day’s festivities and exhilaration it kind of slipped right by me to truly appreciate my wedding gown.
Time to zip up the dress.
I guess it was time for a body truth check, I had three kids and eleven years of marriage under my belt now. I was shaking with anticipation as the dress is zipped up, barely containing my excitement to see if it still fits.
My sister in law (and also bridal assistant) exclaimed "Nope! I can't zip it up any further."
I felt a bit dismayed for a split second because my dress didn’t zip up fully. Then, surprisingly enough, that moment of disappointment was driven away when I realized how fortunate to have had the opportunity over the past eight years to exercise regularly.
I had dedicated a fair amount of time with shoulder and back exercises - seated rows, pull ups, lat pull-downs, shoulder presses, deadlifts...just to name a few. You know the whole fitness tactic for achieving that more tapered look – hinging on the optical illusion of having an amazingly small waist by building your shoulders and lats.
I reminded myself that my fitness efforts have paid off rather than the fact that I can’t fully zip up my dress.
Fitting into my wedding dress - that was a big deal to me, as I suspect it would be for any former bride turned mum years later on.
As I stood in front of the mirror, I was enthralled by the beauty of the dress once again.
The dress’s features – like the beautiful iridescent lace...the button up look at the back with the statement silk bow tie made me feel like the excited bride once again.
My mind drifted back to that wonderful time when my husband and I started the beginning of our lives together. Newlyweds with an abundance of time and only ourselves in a quiet house. Don’t get me wrong - we still have just as much joy, love, happiness and laughter in it today even though in the last six years we’ve continually welcomed new little members to our lives and household – each of our wonderful boys.
On any given day I'm juggling a million things and it feels like I never get to take time for myself. Even when I do, my mind is always in the future or past thinking about what's coming next. So it was nice to take a few moments to relive and enjoy being in the moment wearing my wedding dress.
I see many brides these days sell their pre-loved wedding dress online at some point. Whatever reason that may be – the tangible dress is now just taking up space, they no longer want to hold onto the dress because perhaps it’s too painful to keep or maybe their anger and hurt made the dress feel toxic to have in the house... or maybe trying to recoup the cost of the wedding dress because they paid big bucks for it and there’s no point in keeping it stored away. Whatever the reason may be, I totally understand and respect that.
Rounding this up, I’d like to suggest to you a try on your wedding dress challenge.
I had such a delightful experience trying on my wedding dress again after all these years. It really brought back beautiful memories and feelings, almost like it was yesterday.
If you are still happily married, I am so happy for you! You’ll probably feel the bridal elation all over again as you did when you wore your dress for the first time on your wedding day.
If you are no longer married, I am deeply sorry. What I'm trying to say is that your wedding dress was a significant item; symbolizing an exceptionally beautiful time in life. At the time when you wore your dress, you were likely in love as only a bride can be.
You probably went on and had the child or children of your dreams too!
So, take your dress out from storage, try it on.
It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t zip up all the way. Let yourself feel all of those wonderful sentimental feelings come back to you. Enjoy the emotions that you may feel. Laugh...cry...smile, because you probably experienced at least one of those feelings at your wedding.
Regardless of where you are today, tears might be imminent. Tears of joy or sadness? Maybe both! Crying is healthy so don't worry about it too much - just let the tears flow. If you have the guts to try on your wedding dress, go for it; this experience may offer something more than physical beauty - a path to healing and acceptance.