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Dealing with Hand-Me-Down Wedding Dresses

If you are stuck with a hideous hand-me-down for a wedding dress from your prospective mother-in-law, you are in big trouble. How do you get out of this dilemma without insulting your groom’s mom?

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When It’s Hard to Say No

When you and your groom announce your engagement, your mother-in-law already has visions of dusting out her 60 year old wedding dress. Not that she want your groom to scrimp on the wedding budget but for her it is a matter of tradition and would like you to wear the dress her mother wore and which she wore to her own wedding. But when you caught sight of the wedding dress you wanted to scream.

Your groom can understand your dilemma and offer to let you shop for a nice wedding gown but the problem is your mother-in-law. Before you say goodbye to wedding dresses, take a courteous tack and give her the idea that you will use her wedding dress for the wedding rehearsal and have a photo shoot of you in her wedding dress.

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If the wedding dress in poor condition and needs massive gown alteration for your fit tabulate the cost of repairing the dress and let her compare it with the prices of more fashionable wedding dresses you have been eyeing for long. If the cost of the repairs can convince her that you are right, you wiggle out of the predicament without bruising her pride and alls well that ends well between the two of you.

Dealing with Heirloom Bridal Dresses

Unless it is an unbroken tradition in the family that family brides wear the 95 year old wedding dress, you have no choice but wear the bridal heirloom on your wedding day. Usually heirloom wedding dresses are cared for and kept in top condition. These are usually made by top couturiers or ordered from foreign countries. Expect the bridal gown to be stuffed with pearls if it came from Japan, or made of the best lace if imported from Belgium.

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Because of the several brides using the bridal heirloom of dress, several skillful alterations have been made. If the dress is too long for you, it cannot and should not be shortened because taller future brides may have no uses for it. If the wedding dress is too short, ask the seamstress to improvise without damaging the dress. Just as the wedding dress has been stored carefully for years, you might be wearing your groom’s family ‘crown jewels’. No problem here; jewelry of top caliber is never outdated and always go well with the heirloom wedding gown. You can compensate for wearing these family treasures with stunning shoes from your favorite Italian shoemaker or order custom-made bridal shoes.

Making Do with Hand-Me-Down Wedding Dresses

Wearing a 95 year old wedding dress has a romantic ring to it. But not all brides would give their eyeteeth for second-hand wedding dresses. But in case you cannot say no, ask your mother-in-law’s permission to alter the dress. Warn her though that the dress may no longer be recognizable because drastic adjustments must be made for a good fit. Be gracious enough to show her where changes will be made and hope she changes her mind about your mutilating her wedding dress. But if you are still stuck with the problem, make the most out of your mother-in-law’s wedding dress by altering it to suit your taste and accessorize and hope the next family bride comes soon to get a taste of a 1970 hand-me-down wedding dress.

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