A Dress, A Veil, A Bouquet

Every day is a gift and a chance to start over…to try new things, meet new people, have new adventures. I don’t dwell on the past much, but sometimes it’s nice to reflect on happy times. Our wedding is one such day.

Unlike so many brides, I didn’t stress out about my wedding. I simply enjoyed the process. I know. It’s easier said than done. Things seem more complicated now then they were 30 years ago, don’t they?

Our wedding took place just in the knick of time, as shortly after several key people passed away, including my father, grandmother and 35 year old brother-in-law.

Our daughter Sarissa and I decided to see if my veil might work for her so after more than thirty years I resurrected my wedding dress from the confines of the box it was lovingly preserved in. I didn’t know what I would find. It’s been in a hot and humid attic for most of the last 30 years, and part of the seal had been broken. 

wedding dress

Except for some yellowing on the bodice, it’s in perfect condition. Our daughter may wear the veil if it looks good with her dress. We will find out today when she goes for her first fitting. The veil is very long, but the end of it is ripped so it will have to be shortened about a foot, but that’s ok.  I placed it over the canopy of our bed to ease out some wrinkles and it seems to be working.





The dress is very 80’s, and I guess you can tell I liked ruffles (still do!). I first saw the dress at a bridal fashion show and fell in love, but it didn’t have the back I wanted or enough ruffles so I had it custom made. Our daughter tried it on for fun and it fit almost perfectly. I can’t believe I was ever that thin! In my weight loss journey these past few months I’ve realized I will never be the weight I was in my 20’s, nor do I want to be. I think my face would look haggard, not to mention my butt would end up being flat enough to play cards on. So for all you young ladies reading this here’s what you can look forward to: look fat or old. It’s your choice. For you older ladies, you know what I’m talking’ about.  Aren’t I just a little ray of sunshine today?!


I spent most of the weekend finishing up the brooch bouquet. It came out lovely and I can’t wait to show you, although you will have to wait till June. I showed it to Sarissa today and she loved it. I wasn’t sure if she would like it because she’s very picky and she has impeccable taste, if I must say so myself. But she did so now I don’t have to disown her since it took me nearly a year to gather the brooches and about a thousand hours to wire them ;). 

The future is always uncertain, isn’t it? I wonder what it will bring for us and for Sarissa and her soon to be husband. They live on the other side of the world, far removed from friends and family. I suppose that makes their relationship unique and perhaps stronger than most. 

Do you still have your wedding dress? I’m wondering what to do with mine now. Placing it back in the box isn’t really an option. What’s the point? Should I donate it to Goodwill? I did some research and came up with the idea to make a Christmas tree skirt. I kinda like that idea, but I’m not sure I can pull it off. Any ideas or suggestions?  What did you do with your dress?


  1. cynthia keeley says:

    I’m just seeing this now, but wanted to mention what I finally did with my gown. Even tho I had to take a REALLY deep breath once I decided to do it, I cut off my train and used it to cover my daughter’s cardbox. Mine was completely different from yours…not a ruffle, piece of lace or any embellishment in sight. My only concession was covered buttons down the back and on the bodice. Guess I was a little fashion forward for the 80’s, as it was off the shoulder (but annoying to wear), and the seamstress who made it couldn’t quite figure out how to keep the sleeves from sliding. lol

    I hope she can wear your veil. I opted to not have one, so I hope yours gets some use!

    • I can imagine how you felt when you cut the dress Cynthia! Maybe you’ve seen that show where the bride decides between a new dress and a makeover version of her mother’s? It always kills me when the dressmaker cuts into it, and it’s not even mine! lol

      It looks like the veil is a ‘go’, but she feels it’s a bit poofy so we are going to have to do something about that. I took it to a seamstress and one option is to cut the fabric so it’s not as wide therefore less gathering and another is to get rid of the top layer. I don’t think she’s wearing it over her face so that might be the way to go.

      I still don’t know what to do with my dress…leaning toward a Christmas tree skirt but I’m not sure.


  2. My mom made both my wedding dresses (not cool, I know). I definitely like the second one better (husband, too). My second dress is a 1930s style, and for a while, my daughter said she wanted to wear it when she gets married. I think she’s over that and I won’t hold her to it. Or I guess she could wear MY 80s dress. 😉 I still have both.

    And old or fat is such a sucky choice.

  3. You must be flying! How exciting for you and Sarissa to be spending such sweet and precious moments together before her wedding day, mother and daughter time that will become part of your sentimental journey. I have to say, your veil looks pretty darn good as a canopy, even!! Doreen, your dress is beautiful, yes, in all its 80s ‘elegance’, only something those of us who donned such styles can truly understand, like moi. Mine was a Princess Diana dress, and like you said, for that decade, it rocked! If I could go back, I’d definitely do something very understated, simple, off the shoulder, short sleeved, no lace, less dress (i.e., shorter/no train); all of the things my dress wasn’t. The only thing I’d do the same is the tight bodice. You are SO right about the 80s – a decade of major fashoin faux pas!

    I hope you don’t give the dress away. After all, it is a part of you, something you wore only once, but took you forth into the future, one of forever love, family, and now, part of it, may begin your own daughter’s footsteps into a wonderful future, unveiling the start of the next stage of her life.


  4. This is such a great memory! I am only recently married- September of last year! I didn’t have the option to wear my Mom’s dress (and truthfully, may not have thanks to the style from the 1940s–she wore her Mom’s dress!) but would have loved to do something like have a piece of it for my flowers, or something. I was able to use the same handkerchief as she did for my wedding, and wore the same jewelry my mother in law wore at her wedding. It is so wonderful to have these memories and pass them on.

  5. Have it made into a christening gown for your grandchildren.

  6. Cheryl binder says:

    Our daughter asked if I could cut apiece from my dress so she could have the florist wrap it around the stems of her bouquet. It looked beautiful. My dress had yellowed so I bleached he arm. Our younger daughter may do the same thing. Cutting up the dress was trematic but since there was no way they were wearing my 1972 dress, at least they used a part of ot.
    A friend of mine cut her skirt off, sewed elastic to the waist and her daughter wore it to the rehearsal….quirky but cute!

  7. Oh, your daughter looks stunning in your dress (I love her pretty name, it it a combination of names?). I remember you posting an anniversary picture of yourself in that dress and it was stunning. I got married in ’86 and I really shocked myself and everyone else with a long ivory, off the shoulder mermaid style dress. Very simple but sparkly. A few years later my younger sister asked if she could wear it for her wedding as they were short on funds. I took that as a compliment and never thought about the future. She was about 1 size bigger than me so her future mother in law was able to open the seams and alter it to fit Chrissy. When I got it back I realized it wasn’t true to me anymore (the way we want to remember our young little selves anyway). When Emily got married last May she had no desire to wear the dress anyway although it is still quite “with the times”.

    This is a beautiful post. And I laughed…you ARE a ray of sunshine because you are the real deal! :)


    • Awwww, thank you Jane! That’s very sweet of you to say. Sarissa is really a name we came up with, not a combo of anything. We wanted something a bit different but not too out there (like ‘Apple’ lol).

      The fact that your dress was worn in 86 and it’s still ‘wearable’ says a lot about your style, and it’s all good!

  8. Doreen how touching. I wanted t o wear my moms veil but it got ruined in a flood. I hear about the 80’s been there done that sad to say. What were designers thinking then?? I mean really everything was so puffy and headband veils galore. My dress was pretty to me at the time but I would have chosen a slim fitting dress that hugged my body if I had to it again. My mom wanted me t o get that believe it or not. Did I listen to her, NO, I listened to my sister-in-law. So foolish but it is what it is and my mother did always know best. I can’t wait to see the bouqyet.


    • I agree Cynthia. Of all the decades, the 80’s was by far the worst for fashion. Think about it. When most of us look at our parents on their wedding day, I don’t think we want to laugh out loud they way our kids do when they look at ours. The fashions of the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s were far more sophisticated and flattering.

  9. It would make a lovely tree skirt with all the ruffles, but as said above, you might have a granddaughter who would have so much fun acting as a princess dressed in it!

  10. I got married in the 80’s too so I can relate to the “more is more” look of the wedding dress. Mine had a lot of lace and poofy sleeves. But my veil was very ornate and long. I think that is the biggest giveaway of it being dated. I too was very skinny when I got married. There is NO way I will ever be that size again unless something is very wrong with me. LOL! I never had mine professionally stored, so it’s just hanging in a closet yellowing away. Someone borrowed my veil for their wedding once. It was nice to see someone else get to use it. All that expense for just one day. Seems a little sad. Your dress was pretty though. I’m a ruffle kind of girl myself.

  11. I couldn’t get rid of mine…it’s not as elaborate and fits in my cedar chest. I’m more concerned about being healthy now that I’m older! lol But I don’t want to gain weight either so I stay active. I was 100 pounds when I married YEARS ago! lol Enjoy your day my friend and this special time! Hugs!

  12. Your wedding dress is beautiful…as is your daughter in it!

  13. I still have my dress. It is in a box in my cedar chest…not sure what I will do with it…wait until my daughter marries and see if she wants to incorporate it somehow, I guess. I doubt she will want to wear it; it too is very 80’s style. Lots of lace. Yours is lovely. I hope you can find a way to repurpose it. Let me know what you do with it, ok?
    Glad your daughter likes the bouquet! Can’t wait to see it.
    Have a good rest of the week, Doreen!

  14. Doreen
    Your wedding dress is lovely. with all it’s ruffles I bet it would make a very nice tree skirt.
    I agree with you about aging. It’s inevitable so it’s better to go with the flow. Even though it’s hard!!
    Congrats to your daughter on her wedding too.

  15. I still have my dress and hat in one of those boxes as well…I don’t think it’s my daughter’s taste so I’m not having visions of her wearing it, but I did keep it just in case…if she doesn’t wear it I thought I would have Christening outfits made for any grandchildren that may come along! That might be something you could do with yours!! Can’t wait to see that bouquet!

  16. I’m so glad she loved the brooch bouquet! I can’t wait to see it! You and I had almost identical wedding dresses! Now, I wish I could find mine! I have no idea where it is–bums me out!~~Angela

    • Oh my goodness Angela! Say it isn’t so??!! How is that possible? Don’t make me come over there and bop you over the head Missy! You have to find it!

  17. Would love to post a picture of my daughter in her grandmother’s wedding dress, taken last summer! Is there a way to attach it to a post? Loved your blog today. Your wedding dress was stunning! Diane

  18. I didn’t have a very fancy dress so I did not preserve it. Save it ! There will be a grand daughter wanting to try it on and be a princess someday : ) It’s beautiful / save it.

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