Dress, Offered X

This feels mind-blowing to me, but this is our TENTH wedding dress giveaway. Which means ten wonderful ladies have chosen to part with their wedding dresses, with the hope of sharing the love they felt on their wedding day with others. Today Sarah is the one generously offering her dress. The rules are the same as always: Leave a comment about why you’d like to receive the dress. Sarah will select the recipient (with occasional lobbying from me… as hard as I try not to). The recipient pays for shipping, and promises to send Sarah a picture of them wearing it, full of joy. Hopefully the recipient will come back as a wedding graduate too, but that’s encouraged, not required (but we’ve never had a dress recipient grad post yet. Snifff!). Beyond that, remember, if you receive a dress from a wedding grad, they automatically become a small part of your bridal brigade. Keep them in the loop, send them a love note or two. Because suddenly, they are now invested in your wedding. With all that, here we go:

I am hugely sentimental. I keep ticket stubs and champagne corks and old college tee shirts; objects that become deeply associated with memories. But ever since I first read about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress, I knew I wanted to pass along my dress. I’ve been waiting almost a year to write this, and I’m so excited to share it with you all.

My dress is an Alfred Angelo #1148; an off-the-shoulder dress with a sweetheart neckline, ruching along the bodice, a corset back, and a train. It is diamond-white (i.e., ivory) taffeta, and was perfect for my super-pale complexion. It didn’t have any major stains or dirt, and has been dry cleaned, so it’s ready to head out to its new home. According to Alfred Angelo, it’s a size 14, and had some minor alterations—the off-the-shoulder-sleeves were taken in, cups added- for ‘oomph’ (I still needed to wear a strapless bra, though), a three-point hook-and-eye bustle, and the hem. The train is GORGEOUS and very bridal (I left it down for pictures and the ceremony) but even when it’s bustled, the back is beautiful.

Some relevant stats: I am 5’5”; I wore Converse for the reception, and it brushed my toes perfectly. My measurements are 39” bust, 29” waist, 41” hip, and I’m a street size 10 or 12, but this dress absolutely has some give in it for a woman with a little more curve (especially up top). The beauty of a dress with a corset back is that there is no fear of losing or gaining a pound, and if you’ve got enthusiastic bridesmaids like I did, you’ll get laced into that puppy and look (and feel) like a million bucks.

A quick aside about the “pee by yourself” dream—clearly, this dress is pretty big and especially monstrous on the bottom and back (i.e., important parts when going to the bathroom). However, I peed by myself in this dress on my wedding day (multiple times, even!). I found a trick that won me over immediately—sitting BACKWARDS. Yes, you read that right. Just use a handicapped stall (so there’s room for the train/bustle), hoist up the front of the dress, and straddle the seat. It worked like a charm (though I strongly encourage practicing beforehand).

In this rough economy, I briefly debated selling my dress, but I quickly realized that the few hundred dollars I could recoup for my dress might be nice, but not nearly as rewarding as the money and stress I could save someone else. I had an amazing night in this dress, I boogied my butt off, and I married the man I love. This dress is full of happy memories, and I can’t wait to pass it on.

Featured Sponsored Content

  • Ashley

    Your dress is absolutely beautiful! I would love to win this because money is extremely tight for us. We couldn’t afford to have the wedding up here and have to travel in order for it to be less expensive. :( Traveling does have its pros and cons though.

    Regardless of that, congratulations. It looks like you had an amazing day!

  • Meghan

    Wheee! I had the same dress and I would love to give it away too!! I’ll be in touch!

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Dress, Offered X « A Practical Wedding -- Topsy.com()

  • Denzi

    Sarah, I LOVE your practical peeing by yourself advice! :D :D :D

    And wheeeee for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress! Someone awesome will get this awesome dress with lots of love already smothered all over it. Hurrah!

    • This advice about going to the bathroom alone is genius. I will have to remember to suggest it to others who are getting married. :)

    • I second and third and fourth and fifth this comment. Peeing advice is priceless!

  • awww YAY. I just teared up, especially at the last part. you are awesome.

    I can’t wait to see who this gorgeous dress will go to.

  • OMG you are kidding.
    That is the exact dress I nearly bought! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it :)
    Good thing this didnt come out 8-10 months ago then as I would have wanted it and been in tears at it being FAR too short! :)

    Congratulations to the lucky lady who ends up with it.
    Cant wait to offer mine in about 4 months time…

  • Elisa

    Whoa! I wore this exact same dress! I LOVED IT. It was so flattering on my curvy shape and pale complexion and obiously on Sarah’s. And, like she said, I didn’t feel any pressure about gaining/losing weight because of the corset back. I especially liked the fact that the off-the-shoulder sleeves had kind of the same effect as a sleeveless dress would in the front, while preventing my back chub from oozing out the top of the dress in the back.

    Its soo cool to see how someone else wore it and I can’t wait to see one more!

    P.S. I was also able to pee alone. ;)

  • I am almost engaged, I say almost because Jeremy has yet to pick up the ring from the jewelers and he wants to surprise me with when I get it. So sweet.
    I would love this dress for many reasons, its a very similar style to what I have already been coveting. I love the simplicity, and that each details makes such a huge impact.
    Our money is incredibly tight, I just finished college and my loan paymentss are going to be huge, and as much as we would love our family to help out with costs, we will be paying for everything ourselves.
    I am 5’1″ which is a bit shorter than the bride, but plan on wearing high high heels, I want to gain as much height as possible to even the gap between me and my 6’1″ guy!
    I would pass on the love and give someone else the opportunity to wear this fantastic dress should I be selected as the lucky recipient.

    Congratulations to you both and may your life be filled with joy.

  • Jen

    gorgeous, gorgeous dress! I especially love the last part of this.

    I love the dress giveaways! Not putting my name in the hat because I come from giant stock and would be far too tall for this beauty, but I can’t wait to see who the lucky recipient is!

    And ACHEM…Meg may not require it, but dammit – that person better write a wedding grad post!!

    • Yes, we don’t like Sisterhood of the Dress and Dash. We want you to come back and tell us about your wedding! Please, please, please?

  • oh my; your dress is gorgeous. i’m not putting in for it, but it’s lovely, lovely, lovely.

  • Sarah, you have a beautiful dress & more beautiful heart! Best wishes to the lucky lady that gets this dress~

  • Ali

    Lovely dress! The off-the-shoulder straps are marvelous :)

  • What a beautiful dress! Made you look like a princess!

    I would love to ‘win’ your dress for my own wedding – but our date is set for May of 2012 – so more than a year away!

    My fiance and I are traveling 12 hours west to have our wedding in his childhood/family church. I am sure that our wedding is going to be more of a family reunion for his side than a fancy party for us, but I am okay with that. We have already discussed that the majority of our budget will have to go towards food & drinks so not spending a fortune, or finding a dress my size & style for free {omigosh like this one!!} would definetly help us out there. Plus, I really like that the style of the dress is respectful of the fact that we will be married in a church.

    This is a really cool thing that you are doing – thanks regardless of who ‘wins’.


  • A-L

    Add me in as another person who wore this dress. It is incredibly flattering (and I do not have pale skin). I don’t think I ever needed to pee in the dress, but I’m not surprised to hear that others were able to do so. And yeah, that corset thing is a big releaser of anxiety in terms of weight. If you gain some or lose some, no worries. The corset will make it all work, with no extra alteration fees! And as someone who is 5’1″ this was a dress that I wore, and that did not wear me (unlike some other wedding dresses I tried on). Good luck to the eventual winner of this dress!

  • Omg, I love that dress. And it would fit me! I’m a street size 12 and 5’4″, so I think it would be perfect. This is also quite similar to all the dresses I have been looking at (corset back, modest v-neck for the win!). We are getting married right after Christmas this year. He’s a science teacher and I’m a grad student (getting my science teaching license! we’re nerds together), so the school break is ideal for us. Like the others, we’re also paying for our own wedding. We’re actually going to hold the wedding at the boarding school where he works to save on the venue.

    Plus, can I say, I’ve been really nervous to go dress shopping. I now live halfway across the country from my family and friends (moved here for a short-term job, tried to go work other places, and just had to come back). I feel weird “imposing” on people I’ve only known for a year or two. I know they’re my friends, but it’s not the same as going shopping with the people I’ve known for much, much longer. I feel like this post is serendipity — I loved the pic so kept reading and was so excited to see that we’re similarly sized!

    Thanks so much for being willing to share such a significant memento of your day with one of us :-)

    • I am hesitant to write this follow-up because I don’t want to beg for the dress (definitely pick the right person for you!). But I want to add on to my thoughts here and say something I initially had in my original comment but then deleted. See, I didn’t read your graduate post before commenting here. I taught/had class literally all day long (8 am to 9pm) and checked APW oh-so-briefly in my dinner break and just had to comment on your lovely dress. I just revisited and read your amazing wedding graduate story.

      I know this sounds so cliche, but your wedding graduate post is the one I needed to read (and the mamadrama comment). I am so anxious about mama drama that I am not even talking to my mom about wedding stuff yet. We just got engaged a few weeks ago. I asked him, and my mom was all put out when I called to tell her the good news. She and my dad have been going through a rough marital patch for the last year. In fact, I meant to propose last summer but shelved the idea so my intended and I could keep having good, meaningful conversations about what we expect out of relationships and life in general. I finally decided not to let my parents’ drama make me put off the wedding. I am sure that this wedding is the right thing, so I proposed (my man is super shy about personal things, not that I need to justify proposing).

      I think this is finally the time when I grow up and move on from letting my parents be such a driving force in my life. I’m 28, but I very much love and respect my parents’ opinion. And I want to please them so much that I have done things just to make them happy. And I need to be over that. So your post was the kick in the pants that has crystallized my thinking from the last several weeks — time to make a clean break. We are paying for our wedding . . . not because my parents haven’t offered to before, and not because they couldn’t help us. But because it is a chance for me to be the adult I know I can be. I’m pretty poor (grad students at my school have awful stipends), but I’ve got money put away. And so does my man. So we can do this, and we can grow up and be the lovely adults we know we are.

      I could go on and on, but it’s best that I stop now. Just . . thank you, so much, for sharing your wedding grad thoughts. You have put me so much more at ease about my wedding. I will be a little ball of stress and anxiety at times, and it’s okay. And, at the end of the day, I will marry my Matt, and that is awesome.

    • I promise that you’re not imposing on the people who are near you now if you share wedding stuff like dress shopping. I live on another continent from my family and best friends, and when I got engaged I was hesitant to even tell my sort-of friends in the place I lived because I didn’t know them very well. But I did tell one person at first, and she had *exactly* the reaction I was hoping for (but hadn’t dared to let myself expect from people I didn’t know all that well). And then I ordered my dress online and when it came in the mail she asked if I could come over to her house and try it on to show her. Her parents were visiting and when I put it on, both my friend and her mom totally teared up! Without knowing how much I needed it, this one girl ended up providing emotional support/encouraging during two important moments. She’s now one of my very good friends, even though we live in different countries. So, share with the people near you now, you may be surprised by how they react! And congratulations! :)

      • aww, thanks. when I called my mom to tell her about us and setting a date, she said I shouldn’t expect anyone to come because I can’t impose my will on people. (My mom is particularly bitter about all relationships right now given my parents’ marital issues.) She was referring to me inviting certain relatives that I really care about — I said I’d check with them before setting a final date.

        Hearing that my wedding might be an imposition was, uh, a major blow to me. So I’m working on getting psyched up about the wedding again. I’m still excited about the marriage, but the wedding . . . it’s a work in progress. You are so right to remind me that most people respond well. The people I have told here have all been really positive. Maybe I just need to get over myself :-)

        • That’s too bad that your mom has not had a great reaction to the situation. But just in case you haven’t read through the archives, check out this post (and be sure to read the comments): http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/01/you-guys/
          It’s called “Your Wedding is Not an Imposition”. Feel free to bookmark it and re-read it as often as necessary. <3

          • thanks :-) I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that my wedding might not be “perfect.” In the end, we’ll invite the people we love. If they can make it to celebrate with us, awesome. If not, we’ll still love them anyway and try to visit them at some point in our journeys (we travel a lot). We’re scheduling our wedding at the right time for us, since we’re both teachers, and that’s about the best we can do.

  • Sarah d

    Dear Sarah,
    I feel like this is fate. At the risk of sounding utterly sentimental and sappy, I am in love, not only with this dress but with your post as well. To be honest, when I read both your posts, I felt like I was reading something I had written, because there are so many similarities in the way we think (and what I hope for my wedding), and in our lives in general.
    For starters, the dress!! This is THE dress that I have been dreaming about since I was a little girl dreaming of my princess wedding. Unfortunately, this type of neckline is not widely available in stores where I am, and after trying on a few dresses, I’ve been feeling as though I may have to settle for something I don’t really want (strapless is all I can find ). But this dress – the off-the-shoulder straps, the material, the gathering, the neckline, the length, the simplicity! This dress is perfection to me!
    Then throw in the fact that I’m seeing this beautiful dress on a woman who looks great in it, and who so closely resembles me in many ways! You are only an inch taller, we have the same general body shape (delightfully curvy!), we both have pale skin, we both have a tattoo on the back of the neck, and we even have a similar facial shape. To top the whole thing off, we even have the same name! Sarah with an H! It’s uncanny!
    Not to mention, my fiancé is also doing post grad work in a science field! He will start his PhD in astrophysics this September and I’m so proud of him. We also met in high school, although we didn’t start dating until two years later.
    In terms of other similarities, you spoke of fearing to inconvenience others: we would like to have our wedding on a Sunday of a long weekend, so I have grappled with this same fear. But, if we marry on Canada Day, there will always be fireworks on our anniversary!  We are also set on DIY for many things, keeping in mind the stress that this may cause. And finally, you have convinced me to get a veil! I’ve been waffling over whether to have one at all, and I love how you have it attached at the back. The style of the veil also suits the dress perfectly.
    Having already felt numerous stresses over money issues with our wedding, stemming from the fact that both my fiancé and I are up to our necks in student loans, getting the dress of my dreams at any sort of discount would be my dream-come-true. But if I were chosen as the recipient of your tremendously generous offer, there would simply be no words to describe my teary thank-yous.
    Your decision to help out another bride in need is inspiring. A few years ago, my sister-in-law did the same. She was going to sell her dress, but upon seeing the excitement when it perfectly fit one of the women who tried it on, she decided to just give it away. What a selfless act, particularly over something most girls dream of from a young age. I have been excited to follow this example ever since I became engaged to my wonderful fiancé a few months ago.
    In any case, thanks so much for sharing your story, fellow Sarah with an H! And thank you for this opportunity. I wish you success in your studies, and much love and laughter for all the years of your marriage. 

  • Genevieve

    This dress is lovely! Thank you for giving some lucky bride the chance to wear it!
    I am a bride to be and costume designer who discovered this blog through get rich slowly. My fiance proposed shortly before I left for grad school and our engagement will be completely long distance (but he visits in a week!). Being apart has been hard, but we sometimes deal with the strain by talking about what our upcoming wedding is going to be like. These conversations are comforting but also bittersweet since we will be getting married right after graduation and will not have much money to spend on our nuptials. We don’t want anything extravagant, just a few close friends and family in an art gallery – but even the thought of having to find the money for these little things is causing me stress and the wedding is still years off! I came to this site for a dose of reality and because it makes me feel not so alone in my fears. I know we will DIY a lot of our wedding elements because we are creative and can pull it off. But despite the fact that I have the skills and time to do it, I can not bring myself to sew my own wedding gown. As someone who sews for a living I can be extremely critical of my work and I do not want to look at my dress and see nothing but the mistakes that I have made or the style lines that could have been better placed or whatever. I have *never* purchased a special occasion dress. My prom dress, my graduation dress – even my special date dresses have all been made by me. And while I am proud of the skill and effort that went into making them, I want something to be made FOR me and not BY me for a change. That is why it is important for me to have a *real* wedding dress. I’ve never been the princess type, but something about imagining myself in that dress made me feel like a queen.
    Thank you for providing this opportunity. This dress is going to make someone very happy.

    • Genevieve

      I as so excited about this giveaway that I regretted to notice the height of the bride! Somehow I don’t think that my 5′ 10″ frame will do justice to a dress with a 5’5″ hem. Oh well. I may not get the dress but I feel kind of great after getting all of that off my chest. Maybe I should comment here more often!

  • Kendra

    I want to thank everyone Meg, Sarah, and everyone who commented on this post for teaching me something just now.

    I got engaged in December and I stumbled on A Practical Wedding in one of my first (alas, not the last) late-night internet-fueled wedding-planning freakouts: I was googling in a haze and landed on the infamous budgets post (thank you–so much–to every single person who shared their numbers). Since then, I’ve been checking in almost daily to hear more from not just Meg and Alyssa, but all the women (and men!) willing to share so much of themselves, and yet to uphold other people’s words, opinions, and decisions, too.

    When I saw this Sisterhood post, I found I was talking myself out of commenting. “What? A competition? You don’t want to out-want the other brides in the comments.” No fear there–most of the comments on this post are just happy this dress is being shared! “You’d upset your mom so much if she couldn’t go dress shopping with you.” My mom remembers when I was a curvaceous fourteen-year-old, mortified in my own skin, trying to find double-D bras, jeans, and swimsuits that fit. She loves me, but she does not want to relive that in taffeta any more than I do. “You really should leave this to someone in greater need.” Folks, I’m a graduate student in the Bay Area (like others in the comments, yay) and I can’t contribute one dime to my own wedding.

    I figured out why I didn’t want to jump in after reading more of the Traveling Dress posts. Each and every one of the women in these photos looks not just pretty, but fantastic, because they’re so happy. I’m Sarah’s size, shape, and height, and I’ve never been comfortable with my body. (Sarah–you look fantastic too!) As I get older, I feel less bad less of the time, but it’s mostly because I’ve learned to redirect my mental energy towards things that really matter. (Recognizing that my fiancé is not crazy for liking the way I look helps too.) I’ve been avoiding thinking about what I might want to wear, what I could possibly wear that would make me feel beautiful, and instead focusing on the “more important” stuff–say, table linens, or flowers, or the reception playlist. But what’s more important than figuring out how to approach my wedding day feeling good about my body, instead of simply pretending it’s not there? These posts, and their comments, are so sincere, so full of joy and affirmation. Sharing a dress turns it into a talisman with all sorts of good wishes and memories and healthy vibes inside, and you all amplify that within this community. I didn’t know it, but this was exactly what I needed.

    So I want to thank you all for a) reading this ridiculously long comment and b) being here. I would love to wear this dress, because I want to be part of the Sisterhood. But reading this blog makes me feel like I already am. Sarah, congratulations to you and your husband, and thank you for doing this.

  • Cassandra

    I’m not putting myself in the running but had to say you are *stunning* in this gown! This is one of the few bridal-y wedding dresses I’ve seen that I love the look and shape of – especially for its unusual feature of actually covering up cleavage and still looking hot. Beautiful woman, beautiful dress, and how lovely that it’ll be passed on to someone else :)

  • Yay Sisterhood!!

  • Stephanie

    I already have my dress, but I just wanted to thank you for this: “In this rough economy, I briefly debated selling my dress, but I quickly realized that the few hundred dollars I could recoup for my dress might be nice, but not nearly as rewarding as the money and stress I could save someone else.” It warms my heart to see your kindness.

  • Desiree

    To begin, I am a long time reader of APW. I do not need this dress as I have already found and worn mine. I did want to say that these dress give aways have been an inspiration to me. Although I am not doing this type of dress give away, next week I will be dropping my dress off at my local Sexual Assault Center so they can sell it and use the proceeds for their organization. This cause is very dear to me being a survivor myself, but I wanted to give a shout out to the wonderful women out there giving their dresses to someone else! It’s a great feeling!

    • Desiree

      Aaaaaand… You looked gorgeous! The pictures tell such a story, and the story goes that you have so much love in your life and had a fabulous wedding filled with joy!

  • Hooray for the traveling dress! And hooray for this dress in particular, which looks so beautiful on you! I would like to throw my name into the draw because I love the idea of the traveling dress, big-time recycler that I am. I would love to have a pre-worn dress (especially a pre-loved, still-loved, good karma dress that just happens to be stunning) for a variety of reasons ranging from personal (karma!) to financial (I’m broke!) to environmental (pass it on!). I have looked for pre-loved dresses, but the ones I have seen and loved in the past have all been far too wee for me. And this one would fit me! And would look beautiful! And it would be a real wedding dress! You see, before I got engaged, I used to joke that, were I to wed, I would make a dress out of an old sheet. Now that I am engaged and staring down a fall date and grappling with the having-no-money, wanting-to-recycle, stiving-for-better-body-image, and feeling-overwhelmed-by-shopping issues of wedding dressness, I am seriously considering making a dress out of an old sheet. Seriously. Not a bad plan in theory, but my sewing skills are not good. Please save me from myself.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the giveaway and for paying it forward.

    If you give me the dress, I promise I will do the following: I will wear it, love it, send you pictures, tell everyone there the story of the dress, and I will pay it forward myself with a future giveaway.

    If you do not give me the dress, I promise I will do the following: I will continue to send out heaps of gratitude for gals like you who choose to help those who could maybe, just maybe, use a leg up, be that the slight easing off of financial burden, the relief from dress shopping anxiety, or an extra, unanticipated-but-indispensable member of a bridal brigade. There are some really sweet responses here, some really deserving ladies, and I will be thrilled for the winner and psyched about the giveaway however it shakes out. And I might just make a shoddy dress out of an old sheet.

  • kyley

    Your advice about peeing backwards? Might be the best thing I have ever read on wedding blog, ever.

  • When do we find out who the winner is?

  • Pingback: Skate and Bear at A Practical Wedding! | bonding carbon units()