Last week I did something very odd.
After almost 23 years, I opened up the box that held my wedding dress (it was vacuum sealed and taped), and let my youngest daughter try it on.
It was a little wrinkled, but still looked pretty much like it did that day 23 years ago!
We tried to steam it a bit and then we headed outside for some fun photos.
Here’s the two of us wearing it:
I was 21; Katie’s 17.
So why did we do this?
Well, as much as it was fun for Katie to try it on, it’s a very 90s dress:
…and neither of my girls wants to wear it for their weddings. And that’s honestly okay. The bodice is nice, but they aren’t overly enamoured with the puffed sleeves or all of the lace.
And, you see, my mom headed back for the seventh time to a children’s home in Kenya last week (we’ve been there as a family 3 times). We love it there. The Mully Children’s Family has rescued over 2000 abandoned or orphaned children from the streets and from prison, and given them a home, education, and love. They even raise money so that the kids who are able can go on to post-secondary education. They also have a program where they rescue teenage moms and put them in a 3-year intensive training program so they can acquire skills to get a job or start their own business. And they supply these girls with micro-business loans upon graduation. My mom and I have been involved with setting up knitting enterprises with many of these girls.
And one thing that often happens when you have loads and loads of young adults living in close proximity is that some will fall in love and want to get married.
And they don’t have wedding dresses.
So I decided that since my daughters would not be wearing it, I would send it somewhere where it could bless a number of young women. And in Kenya, they don’t mind the bows and the lace! They like it!
(My mom has beautiful pictures on canvas of some of the women from Kenya in her backyard.)
After my reunion with the dress, then, we put it in a vacuum bag,
sealed it all up,
and stuck it in one of the many hockey bags my mom is bringing over there.
I prayed over it that it would bless some young women, and that their marriages would be wonderful, godly ones. That they would raise the next generation to love God and to support each other.
It’s really neat at Mully Children’s Family, because all the different tribes in Kenya are there, and often marriages that happen are cross-tribal. For those of you who understand the history of tribal violence, this is a really big deal. And it’s nice to think I may play a very small role, and that my dress can have another life.
It occurred to me that many of my readers may also have wedding dresses that, like mine, won’t be worn by their children or grandchildren.
And so you wonder what to do with it. Mine was in that huge box and moved with us about 5 times over the years. It was time for it to go.
If you’re looking for something to do with your wedding dress, I saw an absolutely lovely news item about a group of women in Fort Worth, Texas, who take wedding dresses and transform them into beautiful gowns to put on babies who never make it home out of the NICU. They can be laid to rest in something beautiful that symbolizes love.
I dare you to watch this news item without tearing up. It’s so lovely. (I can’t embed the video, but please click through and watch!)
Here’s a shorter video of what they do:
I was going to send my wedding gown there, but I have such a connection to Kenya it seemed better to send it with my mom. But for those of you wondering what to do with your wedding dress, I think this is a beautiful opportunity.
If you would like to send your wedding dress, or volunteer as a seamstress, or make a donation, or RECEIVE the gowns for use in a hospital where you work, all the information is right here (along with lots more videos). They distribute the gowns to NICUs throughout the United States and Canada.
My son was buried in his christening gown that his grandmother made, but many families don’t have that option. I think this is such a wonderful way to touch a family that is hurting, and bless them with something tangible. If you’re interested, please look into it–and let me know if you do! In fact, send me pictures of you sending off your wedding gown (or starting to sew some gowns), and I’ll put them up on Facebook!
And now I have said good-bye to my dress for good. And I’m honestly okay with it.