Tag Archives: wedding dress

Something Old, Something New [Part 2]

1 Apr

Cocktail wear? JK

The idea to rip apart my wedding dress came to me while I was completing one of my tasks for Chapter 1 of Walking in this World.  Julia Cameron calls it What the Hell, You Might As Well. Not unlike Chick Peggy, my list of “20 small, creative actions you could take” started out looking a lot like my to-do list:  1.  Repaint the baseboards and doorframes.  2. Wash the cat.  6.  Upload/order new pics.

I progressed to the more titillating:  8. Ask friends for favorite easy recipes and make one a week.  11. Learn all the verses to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride song.  12. Buy new kitchen towels.

Thus warmed up, I resolved to throw caution fully to the wind, which led me to:  15.  Cut up wedding dress and make pillows.

Who will need the pillow first?

Perhaps you’re thinking I mean bed or sofa pillows. Alright, I admit I did consider that first.  But then the Muse whispered to me, “pillow…wedding dress…think, Tracey, think.”  That’s it!  I would recycle my beloved dress–Coco’s dress–into a ring-bearer’s pillow for my children to use at their own weddings.

My dear spouse fully supported this inspired idea, that is, once he understood it.  My straight-faced jape about wanting to pair the bodice with jeans for my next Girls’ Night Out prompted his asking if I had really gone mad.  It was a rhetorical question to the positive.

Okay, so I wrote this idea on my task list.  But what came over me to actually do it?  Why the sudden, uncharacteristic urgency?  Well, like other reckless and unreasonable actions which I have undertaken, including this blog, I blame it fully on Chick Eva.  She was over the night of the wedding dress massacre, dropping her girls off for a sleepover.  When I told her about my no. 15, her support and enthusiasm had an intoxicating influence on me.

I used the top layer of tulle for stuffing.

The next thing I knew, there was a ripper in my hand.  As Eva took my picture and I prepared to make my momentous first rip, we were both laughing uncontrollably.  It felt like we were conducting an illicit middle-school prank and not an important creative experiment.

As soon as the initial damage was done, however, it was as if a weight had been lifted, one even greater than those twenty-something layers of tulle.  Liberation wasn’t just at hand; it was in my hand, one carefully torn stitch after another.  This was a thrilling sensation I had not anticipated.

I envisioned my grown daughter and son, their teary eyes following the precious pillow being carried down some church aisle by a yet-to-be-born nephew or once-removed cousin.  Even more, I envisioned my bedroom closet–freed of the Great White Snowball–and like my artist soul, cleared for room to move, to walk and to create.  I think Coco would understand.


My old dress bodice is now a new ring bearer’s pillow.


Something Old, Something New [Part 1]

30 Mar

My new husband, my new dress and I in 1996.

This is the story of how I ripped apart my wedding dress last night–and why.  No, I’m not getting a divorce or even seeing a marital counselor at present.  The truth is, while my husband and I are dancing in the minefields like every other married couple, I’m probably happier than I’ve ever been throughout my almost fifteen years of marriage.

This story begins with the dress itself.  I was just 23 when my mom walked me into the storefront of Victoria’s Bridal Shop on Ft. Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard.  I honestly can’t tell you anything about the five or so other dresses I tried on.  This one was the first.  When I came out of the dressing room, the store’s owner–a charismatic man named Coco–magically material-ized and told me in his low-spoken, dulcetly accented voice that he had personally designed this dress, which he authoritatively pronounced was made for me.

Even if my less secure younger self wanted to disagree with such an artist as Coco, I really couldn’t.  It was that simple.  I swooshed around the store happily.  My mom cried. I was measured.  My mom paid the $1,400 (causing my dad to cry later that evening), and then we left, the whole blearily memorable experience comprising only about an hour.

One last look: me and my "middle-aged" dress.

Since my wedding day, the voluminous dress has lived in cramped quarters–first my parents’ vacuum closet and most recently my bedroom closet.  In between, it holidayed for two years in a lovely vintage clothing store on Orlando’s historic North Orange Avenue.  No buyers.  When the store moved, I had to pick-up the dress.  Subsequently, I learned of various excellent organizations that accept worn wedding dresses to benefit women with breast cancer, among others.  However, none accept “middle-aged” dresses like mine–and like me–those too old to be considered modern yet too young to be considered antique.

What’s more, as I mentioned in my Grout of Control post, we are contemplating selling our house.  Hence am I on a rampage of obsessive cleaning and purging.  The wedding dress was occupying a lot of real estate in our walk-in closet; I had to push around it daily to reach my actual wardrobe.  And although I donate frequently to the vets, I couldn’t quite bring myself to just dump it in a bag and set it outside my door to go who-knows-where with who-knows-whom.

My husband, ever the practical one, insisted we should save my dress for our daughter to wear, you know, someday.  My ten-year daughter herself was noncommittal; her only firm position was to object to the notion of discussing anything to do with kissing a boy, you know, someday.  As for my mom, I think she’s still just happy to have her vacuum closet back.

"Let her rip!"

So what possessed me to mutilate Coco’s masterpiece?  Why did my husband ask, “Have you really gone mad?” last night at midnight?  And will we–the dress and I–find our happily ever after? Of course we will.  This is a story, after all.  Forgive me for “threading” you along, but you can learn the answers to each of these questions and more on Friday, no April foolin’.


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