Tips on Ways to Wear Your Mother’s Wedding Gown with Style for Your Own Caribbean Destination Wedding

Hello Mis Novias y Mis Novios!

I’m writing to you from back at my desk in my office on Vieques.  Tuesday was a travel day and yesterday was a recovery day.  Today I’m actually working… boo hiss!  But I’m playing hooky from paperwork by writing this blog because it’s a fun topic.  Now, I know that if you read my last posting, you probably think I’m anti-family wedding gown.  Not true.  If you like the heirloom gown that’s available to you, wear it!  I’m super sentimental and very superstitious — I believe wearing a friend or family member’s veil brings you enormous luck!  If you’ve always wanted to wear your mom’s wedding gown, go for it.  And today’s blog is about ways you can wear that special gown that will reflect your own taste and style.

Adding a Sash  If the gown has a fairly straight cut, such as A-line, a sash can be a beautiful addition.  You can choose a color from your overall color scheme, or you can choose an ivory or mocha neutral shade to highlight the white of the dress.  Or you can do what my bride last November 5th did and use a gorgeous floral sash with all sorts of colors in it.  If the waistline doesn’t permit a wide sash, consider using a ribbon instead.  I’ve seen both grosgrain and satin ribbons used, and both solids and patterns.  All of the above looked beautiful and simple.  You can reuse that ribbon in your decor, on your flower girl’s dress, and on your bouquets if you want.

Adding a belt  If you’re wearing a ballgown with a big skirt, a wide belt with a gorgeous beaded buckle could be just the ticket to update the dress.  A number of bridal stores carry a selection of different belt accessories that work beautifully.  Adding crystals always brings a dress into the future a bit, and wearing a Swarovski crystal belt is a fancy way to update the dress’s style without harming the integrity of the actual dress.

Change the Neckline  That was one of my big gripes about my mother’s dress — it had a high neck.  Nobody wears high-necked anything anymore unless it’s on a high couture model in a runway show.  In a wedding gown, it looks dated and uncomfortable.  Especially for somebody like me who has no neck.  But if the dress fits you, a good dressmaker can change the neckline of the gown.  Depending on the sleeve structure, she might even be able to make it strapless, since that seems to be what literally EVERYBODY is wearing nowadays.

Change the Length  If you’re having a destination wedding or getting married on a beach or in a more casual setting, you might want to change the length of your mother’s dress.  Most heirloom gowns are pretty long and most have trains.  The style and shape of the dress may dictate how short you can go with it because the way the waist flares will naturally dictate a good chopping off point.  If you’re cutting off a ton of fabric, you can re-use it!  You can make the flower girl’s dress with it, or make a satin ring pillow for your ring bearer to carry.  You might consider having small decorative bed pillows made for yourself, your mom and anybody else in the family who has worn the dress.

Change the Sleeves  I’ve already suggested you could just remove the sleeves and go strapless, but sometimes that destroys the bodice because of the way everything is constructed.  But keeping the sleeves doesn’t mean you can’t have them altered to something more up-to-date and fashionable.  What kind of sleeve or cap will be dictated by the design of the dress, but if you hire a good seamstress, it should look good at a different length.

As I said before, I’m a sentimental fool.  I think it’s sweet to wear family heirlooms on your wedding day.  But they don’t have to look like family heirlooms if you wear them the right way!

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!


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