Wearing your mother’s wedding dress on your big day may seem like a really good idea. But before you make that all-important decision, here’s what you need to be thinking about.

First off, what’s your mum’s opinion?

It might seem obvious, but the first person you need to talk to about it is actually your mum. She may be happy for you to wear her dress or she may have reservations.

    • She might feel that it is too dated
    • She might want to keep it just as it is without alterations
    • She might say that it’s not in great condition
    • She might not know where it is!
    • If her marriage didn’t last, the dress may not have the happiest memories for her

Updating a wedding gown

The dress in the picture above was remade by the bride and we have to say that it looks fantastic.

Some wedding dresses are so classic that they will stand the test of time decades later. Take for example the dress worn by Grace Kelly on her wedding day. On the other hand, if your mum got married in the 1980’s her gown was probably all puffball sleeves and ruffles, a real meringue!

In that case you’ll almost certainly want to alter the wedding dress to bring it up to date. You might have a different figure from your mum and need to have it taken in or let out in places. Maybe you’re taller so you need to think about the length.

If you aren’t keen on chopping about your mum’s dress too much, you could just pick out some of the fabric to have used in your own gown. For example, maybe some beading could be reworked into your bodice. A good dressmaker will be able to take a look and advise you.

What condition is the dress in?

If your mum’s wedding dress has been tucked away in a box for around a quarter of a century, then it’s not going to look as fresh and bright as the day it was worn. In addition, wedding gowns are made up of delicate lace and can rip or the netting can come away. You need to get your mother’s dress out of storage and take a good look at it. Most wedding dresses will need to be ‘wet-washed’ if they are going to be worn again and some of the fabric may have perished – which can easily happen with fine silk. Again, take the gown to a wedding dress specialist and see what they have to say.

Will wearing your mum’s dress save you money?

The answer is probably not. You can buy some fabulous dresses off the peg in the High Street these days and by the time you have cleaned and altered your mum’s dress you’ll probably have spent enough for a new gown anyway. So don’t decide to wear her gown because you think it will be the cheaper option!

Classic areas to update

The parts of the dress that are most likely to have dated down the years are:

  • The neckline
  • The waist
  • The sleeves
  • The bodice

Talk to your seamstress about how you can alter these to bring the design into the 21st century!

Other ways to use the dress

If you discover that your mum’s dress is un-wearable for some reason, then think about incorporating it into other parts of your wedding décor.

  • You could use the lace trim to wrap your bouquet
  • You could use satin and velvet to create a pillow for the wedding rings
  • You could ask your hairdresser to use some lace or beading in your hair

If you’ve decided to wear your mother’s wedding gown, let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment on Facebook.