This month, Chris and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary! That means for 11 whole years that ivory box has been sitting in a closet undisturbed. By “That box” I mean the box that holds my wedding dress. Right after our wedding, I had both my 1920’s-inspired dress and my cathedral length veil… preserved. A preserved wedding dress (in theory) will remain in pristine condition for generations to come. I imagined that one day I might have a daughter, who might want to wear my classic dress.
It’s Taunting Me
It’s easier to ignore the box when it is sitting in a closet you hardly go into, but since we sold our house in Texas, the box has been front and center in our garage here in Colorado. I pass by that box every day. I’m wondering… is it still white? What shade of white was the dress? Will it still fit me? Does it actually stay preserved? What happens if I open the box?? This inner dialog has been going on for WEEKS. I even asked what your thoughts are on social media.
Let’s Get Real
Well, after weeks of staring down the box, I finally decided to open it (as you might have already guessed based on the pictures). I came to the conclusion that no daughter is going to want to wear her mom’s wedding dress. And even if Elizabeth wants to cut it up and use part of it, I can still keep it nice enough for her to do that.
The exciting news is…that after 11 years and two kids… it STILL fits!! The not so great news is… it’s a wrinkled mess. I don’t care, I could have taken the time to steam it before snapping these pictures, but I decided to put it on, and stand on my living room coffee table instead. Cause…why not?? The poor thing has been living in a box for 11 years!
There are gloves that come with my preservation kit so I can wear those to handle the dress. Although admittedly I took those off after about five minutes. I haven’t opened the veil yet. I might keep that one preserved for Elizabeth. It’s far more likely that she may want to repurpose my veil.
You Might Be Surprised to Know That…
I was not the type of bride that wanted all eyes on me. I felt uncomfortable with that kind of attention. (Yes, I understand this is confusing...I’m a walking contradiction) I literally had a 10-foot stroll down a grassy path and a 15-minute ceremony by a justice of the peace named Cinderella!
We got married at a resort ranch in West Texas outside Marfa called Cibolo Creek Ranch. It’s where Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, and where one of the Dixie Chicks got married.
The Story of My Dress
I was at Mark Ingram Atelier in New York trying on dresses. The woman helping me mentioned a trunk show.
“Would you like to try on any of the trunk show dresses?” She asked. “They are 30% off today.” I was already debating between two gowns, but I told her sure. The woman brought in a dress. This one is called, “The Rose. I think you are going to love it.”
My mom and I were discussing my grandmother’s dress. I never had the chance to meet my grandmother. She died of cancer at just 31. But, I’ve heard so many stories about her, and how stylish and elegant she was. I have always felt very connected to her. I used to play dress up in her wedding dress, and I loved it! It was all silk, very simple and classic. A gorgeous gown that would never look dated, or out of style. I told my mom that I would love to wear a dress like that.
I slipped on “The Rose,” turned towards the mirror and froze. It was exactly what my mom and I were just talking about… an elegant, classic, silk gown.
I opened the dressing room curtain and asked the woman, “Who designed this dress?”
“Elizabeth Fillmore,” She answered.
Tears starting welling up in my eyes, My grandmother’s name was Elizabeth.
To Preserve or Not to Preserve, That is the Question
So… should you preserve your dress?? Oh, I don’t know. Do what feels right for you. I kind of regret not opening that box sooner and enjoying my dress all these years. But, I DO plan to make up for lost time and enjoy the heck out of it now. Wouldn’t it be a gorgeous red carpet gown?? Maybe something will come up and I’ll chop off the train. Did you preserve your dress? Have you opened it?? Please share your story in the comments below.
You might like this post featuring what to wear to a wedding as a guest. And below you’ll find some of my picks for wedding guest dress options.