Dress, Offered XII

So you guys know Drea, right? She writes at The Maiden Metallurgist, and she was a wedding grad years ago (God, I still love her wedding), and last summer wrote a really brave post about what she learned about her marriage when she learned she couldn’t get pregnant. And then she got pregnant. (See the theme today?) And she’s having a baby… now-ish. But first, she has one little piece of business to take care of. She needs to pass on her size 6 wedding dress. A wedding dress that I love, and that Drea loves, and is the sassiest dress ever. And I really want it to find a good home. So if that home is you, leave a comment as to why you’d like it, and Drea will pick. The usual rules apply.

I have been a big fan of A Practical Wedding since 2008 when I was planning my own wedding.  I found it one night when I was frustrated with all the typical wedding websites and started googling “different weddings,”  “budget weddings,” “nontraditional weddings,” and finally “practical weddings.” It was such a boon to find some like-minded people talking about weddings in a different way- being honest about how maybe the tablecloths and the favors and the flowers don’t matter; the marriage matters.  It was this value, found here at APW that kept me reading long after the wedding was over.

When Meg did her first dress giveaway, I was delighted, and I thought how much I’d love to give my dress away.  Then little voices in my brain started saying things like “but it’s your wedding dress” and “it is pretty casual, you can wear it again, in fact I’m sure you will” and finally “I doubt anyone would want it anyway.”  The thing is, it was my wedding dress, it was so fun and pretty and so unlike anything I can ever imagine wearing anywhere else.  The only places my husband and I go where I would even get this dressed up are other people’s weddings and how gauche would it be to wear your wedding dress to another wedding?  I cringe just thinking about that.  Also, shouldn’t I let someone else decide if they want it or not?  I wanted it, I loved it.  I still do.  Maybe someone else will love it too.

So I decided to give it away here on APW, but then… well I never pulled the trigger.  Wedding dresses are just things, but they are sentimental things and as such, hard to let go of.  This dress has been cleaned and hanging in the guest room closet for over two years. Truth be told, for a while I forgot all about it.  Until…

Well, despite being told that we couldn’t, we’re having a baby.  Soon.  We are moving stuff around and cleaning out closets and there it still is, hanging useless.  It is funny, I feel like I have everything I could ever ask for and suddenly that pretty dress is just that.  A pretty dress.  One that is doing me no good hanging in the closet.  I’m never going to wear it again.  So after 25 months, I discovered I was ready to pull the trigger.

Now let me tell you about my dress. The first dress I bought for our wedding was a fantastic retro purple number from an indie shop that I took to a very reputable tailor for alterations.  I was set to pick it up a week before the wedding, and when I did I was in a bit of a panic to discover that it did not fit.  At all. I couldn’t even zip it up.  Even the seamstress, this complete stranger told me not to wear it to my wedding.  Well duh.  I sent out some panicked text messages to friends asking for any suggestions and out of desperation found myself at David’s Bridal digging through the $99 dollar racks looking for something I could possibly imagine wearing.

One of their sales people found me desperately wincing at dress after dress and suggested I make an appointment.  I started to tell her I didn’t have enough time to make an appointment and ended up kind of freaking out about my dress and the alterations and OMG-the-wedding-is-in-6-days-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-do…  and she immediately shifted into some sort of DB turbo mode, she started asking about the wedding and pulling dresses and trying to figure out what we could do in only 6 days.

Unfortunately, despite the sales woman of the year’s amazing attitude, none of the big white meringues I tried on felt in any way authentic.  Dejected, I was about to leave when I started browsing the bridesmaid/Mother of the bride/prom section.  I found this dress, a MOB dress and thought, what the hell?  I zipped it up and breathed a sigh of relief.  I was so happy to find it, I bought it on the spot.  It fit perfectly, no alterations needed. I think if I’d found it before my original purple dress I would have bought it instead, but I never would have found it, because I never would have been in DB to begin with. It just goes to show you; I know David’s Bridal is oft maligned by indie brides and the hip wedding blogs, but they saved the day for me, and I will never speak a negative word about them.

So here are the details.  It is a DB size 6, no alterations have been done.  It originally cost about $150, so it is no way a designer steal, just a dress, maybe the dress for you.

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  • I think your dress is amazing and I can’t wait to hear who gets it and hopefully see a graduate post from them too! By the way, I loved reading about your amazing-sounding Chicago wedding back in 2009, when I was living in Chicago and planning a wedding that I thought would be there. (But then I moved and we decided to get married in Quebec instead.) :)

    Congrats on your very-soon-arriving new addition to your family!

  • All your little voices? Yeah, I have the same ones too. My dress has been hanging in my bedroom for two months now, while the little voices try to convince me that I don’t want to do this. (I can wear it again! But will I? Honestly? Doubtful.) Thanks for talking about those little voices. I think it was the push I need to finally let it go.

    • I’ve been hearing those little voices for the past two months too!!! I’m just not there yet, hopefully soon. Maybe by the time you write about giving your dress away :-)

      Drea, your dress is fabulous & you’re going to make one Bride a very, very happy girl. Congratulations & best wishes to you & your growing family~

  • LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress. Can’t believe how/where you found it. AMAZING! Whoever it goes to is a lucky gal!

  • Faith

    I have loved this dress since your grad post and have not been able to find a dress in that amazing vintage style. This dress would be fantastic for the summer wedding we have planned…and I desperately want to wear thigh highs;)

    Simply amazing. Thank you, Drea, for offering this for us. Whoever receives it is very blessed:)

    • meg

      So you’re throwing your hat in the ring? Just to clarify! :)

      • faith

        Hat…in ring;)

  • Beautiful.

    P.S. Sometimes I want to write a manifesto in defense of David’s Bridal.

    • Katie

      I was very hesitant going to DB and ended up buying my wedding dress and veil there. And then went back and bought a party dress.

    • Jessi

      Please do! I only clicked through in order to comment that I am an indie bride having a freaking 80s rainbow wedding, and I bought my dress at DB! I never thought I would like any of their dresses, but I had to try on that wonderful cupcake-like PINK Vera Wang. HAD to. It was PINK.

      I’ve been to multiple David’s all over the midwest, showing the dress off to my mom and geographically-scattered bridesmaids, and I have had NOTHING but amazing salesgirls. I even contacted the regional manager about the girl that sold me my amazing pink dress (and her store manager). They’ve all been nothing but wonderful. I’m pretty hyper-critical and Type A about… er, everything… and even I wonder how DB got such a bad rap.

      • Cass

        I love that you all love DB so much. Don’t get me wrong, love, love, LOVE the Vera Wang dresses they have now!
        But I felt so dejected when I went to my local DB. I am usually a size 12 gal (the dress I ended up buying actually was a size 12) but I only fit in to size 20 dresses at DB. For a girl with horrible body image issues – this was terrible!
        On top of that, it felt like a herding of cattle, with so many other girls there at the same time on a Sunday afternoon. It just didn’t feel like a personal experience. And then they forced me to wear their undergarments, despite wearing my own, perfectly fine, undergarments. Ugh.
        Then after I left, I got a call at least twice a week asking if I’m still thinking of buying from them, and I still get spam e-mails.
        It was just a poor experience over all.

        • Sarah

          The only issue I had with them stemmed from the first sales girl I worked with. While she was helpful, she kept trying to put a big 80’s style veil RIGHT ON THE TOP OF MY HEAD, no matter how many times I asked her not to, and took it off. The other half of the issue was when she called about 6 months later to see if we were “still interested” in bridesmaid dresses … you know, the dresses we hadn’t even looked at. I told her we’d ordered them elsewhere and she snapped “Were you ever going to let ME know?!” and hung up.

          I contacted her manager and she was lovely. She smoothed the situation out, removed my contact information from the database (yes truely, they had to call my mother (who’d made a different purchase the same day) to get a hold of me when my dress was delivered as they didn’t have my number!) and discounted my final purchase.

          The second sales girl (and everyone else I worked with/spoke to) was wonderful. I cannot say enough good things about their service. Just seems like there was a rotten apple tainting things. =)

    • Yes! I have a DB dress and visited several different locations in different areas to try on dresses, and nearly every salesperson I encountered was wonderful! I got a great dress with little hassle for a low price, which were basically all my requirements.

  • oh my goodness!! i wish i was a bride to be and not already a wife, because i LOVE it. it is so fabulous and it looks like you had a fabulous time in it. i hope it goes to another fabulous woman…

  • Lauren B

    Love love love love your dress. I love the “fate” like way you got it more.

  • Ris

    I don’t need a dress but must chime in to say that this one is absolutely gorgeous!

  • A mother of the bride dress!? GENIUS!!! I never would have guessed.

  • Jo

    Ohh MAN! Drea is so rad–I adored her w/ her wedding post and I can’t wait to see what her little one will be like. :D Today is happy-making.

  • april

    Totally not related to dress giveaway but I just gotta say:

    Awwww, baby belly. :-) CONGRATS!!!

  • Carreg

    Deeply amused by the image of someone in Dave’s Bridal turbo mode. And we don’t even have DB over here (though it’s probably only a matter of time). I love the travelling dress posts, especially the stories that involve finding a great dress at the last minute.

  • Really Grateful for this Community

    I hope I can keep this short enough (never a good sign at the start of a post).

    I’d like to be considered for this dress. First of all – I love it. And I know my intended would like it as well -it’s cut very similarly to the dress I borrowed from a friend and wore to his sisters’ rehearsal dinner 3 years ago- that he still mentions.

    I love that it’s a Mother-of-the-Bride dress and Drea has magically become a mother, there’s something beautifully symmetrical in those coincidences.

    I have a thing about David’s Bridal I haven’t been able to work out in my head. Those that hate the WIC and those that love the WIC can often at least agree on hating David’s Bridal. But everytime I try to figure out my own thoughts on it (a store!) it becomes this logic knot in my head that I can’t unravel.

    Most importantly to me though is the Bridal Brigade aspect.
    I feel a real connection to Drea’s Graduate post – she looks like someone I could be friends with, her wedding philosophy was the way we try to live our lives: support small-businesses, eat, well, drink well, be merry. Our relationship motto is actually from a Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” – “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

    And so here’s the deal – we’re planning a secret wedding. By planning, I mean we’ve agreed we’re getting married in secret sometime in 2011, we’re in the midst of our version of pre-marital counseling – and he’s going to propose first (because he strongly wants to give me “at least one grand gesture”). Sometime after that, we’ll announce our engagement and about a year later have a ceremony and time for our families and loved ones to gather together. I know the idea of that can stir some strong emotions, and I’ll explain our rationale below. But in terms of planning, other than that and the fact it will be very simple, likely in NYC as we live in NJ, nothing has been planned.

    I know I want to hold his hands and promise our lives to each other, and I’ll throw a dress in a suitcase and do it as soon as we’ve finished our mental deep breath. I have no qualms about that. But knowing this is happening and keeping it a forever secret from everyone is very lonely in its own way. Having a dress ready to go, and feeling like I have a silent cheerleader in the background is just the little extra support I could use. It will give me the inner zen to allow this year to be yet another beautiful adventure for me and my intended and calm the goblin voice in my head that occasionally tells me if this is something I have to hide, it must be wrong.

    But because this goblin voice consistently fills me with a sense of a guilt, I want to be completely transparent and list out the reasons you might not want to give this dress to me:
    1. I’m short-legged and small-boobed, so I’ll probably end up altering it.
    2. I just referred to a “goblin voice”.
    3. We don’t have a date set. And although he introduces me to strangers as his fiancé and we both already consider each other family, we’ve been together for 5 years and have lived together for 2, we are not in any way “official”.
    4. We are planning a secret wedding.

    Here is the secret wedding deal. I have a very challenging mother. Not in a “we’ll never agree about the colors of the wedding” challenging way, but in an extremely emotionally manipulative way. Planning the wedding, the wedding day itself and the first year of marriage and working out the fact that by my being married I have obligations to others beyond her – will be extremely difficult for her. As in tears, expletive-laced screaming at me phone calls, creating lies and spreading them – difficult. I know this, I saw it happen with my brother, I lived with her from time to time as a child. This is what will happen.

    I always hear how challenging the first year of marriage can be, and I want to protect us as much as I can during that year. If I am already married , I will care much less about what happens at the public wedding (I know I’ll still care, it’ll be our public declaration of love and I’ll want things nice for friends and family, but I won’t feel the weight of negative energy on our personal commitment to each other as much). And more importantly, I know she’ll be worse the couple of years after the wedding, so to bank a year in where we can navigate our own challenges first just feels very important to creating the foundation of our family together.

    I don’t see eloping and announcing it later as an option either. It would hurt too many people in his family. I also have 3 nieces and a nephew to whom I’m a role model. In their minds right now, I’m the closest thing to a Disney Princess. I want to have the experience of having a wedding with them. I know they’re at the age where they’ll remember it and it’s such a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate healthy love and balance and moderation with pretty flowers, because goodness knows – they’re not seeing it very many other places.

    I also selfishly want everyone I love in the same room. I want my hysterical best friend and book worm aunt to have a tipsy conversation about Nascar or theater. And I want them to know that I value their contributions to my life and their blessing on this enormous step.

    Although I’ll be pulling the wool over their eyes a little. So I’d also like to be considered for this Bridal Brigade. To have someone I’ve already begun to respect through her posts in my corner will represent an assent from the minds of those I love but have to keep this from.

    And I will definitely submit a Graduate Post. It just might involve some sort of mask. Maybe Nixon?

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      I just wanted to chime in to give you an e-hug and some solidarity. We had a secret wedding (albeit for entirely different reasons, and our immediate families know) three months ago. While we’re privately whispering “we’re married!” to each other and navigating our first year of marriage, to the rest of the world we’re still “fiance/e” and planning a wedding for next year. Do what’s best for your baby family. Good luck!

      Oh, and it’s certainly not selfish to want everyone you love in the same room to celebrate with you. They get something out of it too :)

      • Aine

        Good luck and virtual hugs! I hope your wedding (both secret and public) is everything you hope for, and that you get the most you can out of your year to nurture your baby family.

        Hypothetical Sarah is right- don’t feel guilty about wanting the big celebration- its FOR all those other people as much as for you. Its your gift to them- your chance to say “I love you all and want to share this with you”.

        • Really Grateful for this Community

          Thanks, Ladies! That is really helpful for me to remember. I shouldn’t feel guilty about making people travel and also guilty about having a wedding without people – I’m just asking for a complex before any of the hard stuff has even started!
          *hug back

    • Mistakenly Called Melanie

      I’m a little late joining the party, but I can’t resist responding to you. My husband/fiance and I had a secret legal wedding about seven months back, and we’re still planning the Wedding. Our reasoning was entirely different from yours (almost purely economic reasons for us), and while a few people know about the legal ceremony, some other (very important) people don’t. And I have to say, this secret-marriage thing can be lonely sometimes. It’s impossible to find other women in similar situations when all of those situations are secret! So I’m really glad you were brave enough to post about this. Not only do I feel less lonely, but maybe it will help you when/if you feel lonely. And when I’m not feeling lonely in my secret, I try to look at it this way: we’re lucky because we get an elopement and a big wedding – the best of both worlds!

      I really hope you get this dress. I had so little notice for our legal ceremony that I just pulled a dress from my closet. It was blue, and the dress for our Wedding will be too, and I like that symmetry (and the color blue). But it would have been nice if I had had the opportunity to buy a ‘real’ wedding dress to wear instead of a year-old sundress.

      Also, please please please do a graduate post! Maybe even before the public wedding. I’m considering it, but I haven’t come up with a good way to keep it a secret while sharing enough detail to really talk about it. Whichever one of us comes up with a good way first should definitely let the other one know!

      • Edelweiss

        Aww – hi secret-sister!
        (FYI this is “Really Grateful For This Community” I decided if I’m going to be switching from lurker to actual poster I needed a less cumbersome handle)

        I feel you on the loneliness – that’s why I love APW so much. I’ve already found myself in points of conflict thinking”What Would APW Do?” – whether it’s with my intended and advice from Reclaiming Marriage posts (like the chores post – so helpful!) or just realizing I’m letting emotions overtake sensibility a little too much, this has become the girlfriends I can’t confide in. (For a variety of reasons not necessarily related to secret weddings. We’ve moved a bunch and some of my friends don’t know my intended that well – I don’t want their only image of him to be the hard stuff.) That’s what is so cool about this site – we all have stuff that’s hard to talk about whether it’s difficulty conceiving, finding a new committed identity – whatever. There’s ladies that are willing to be honest and smart, sassy ladies that will weigh in, give good advice and make you laugh.

        But it’s the high-five stuff that makes me lonely. I’m proud of the structure we have for pre-marital counseling, I love some of our non-extravagant romantic gestures, I think we rock at side-stepping minefields – and I want to celebrate! Sometimes I end up all jazzed up with nowhere to go and that’s sad and lonely.

        So high-five to you for being married. That’s awesome! Good job at resolving your fights and I LOVE that you’re keeping the dress theme at both events. Any milestone you hit, close your eyes and picture a short, white girl doing a cheer for you.

        PS I don’t know what Meg looks for in a Graduate Post, but I bet you could write something with stick figure illustrations and code names like Snuffaluffagus and Elvira!

  • Shotgun Shirley

    Love love LOVE this dress! Makes me want a wedding re-do (not really). Super cute retro, just my type… Drea, you are smashing, darling!

    • meg

      SHOTGUN SHIRLEY YOU OWE US A WEDDING GRAD POST and that is all. We don’t accept “a baby” as our excuse ;)

      • Shotgun Shirley

        Eeeek! Time for a deadline – by the end of the month I will write it!

  • Kathryn in VT

    This post makes me so tickled! Warm thoughts and good wishes to you and your soon-to-be-slightly-larger family, Drea. I remember noticing and loving this dress back when I was perusing wedding grad posts. The thigh highs kill me. You rocked this dress like no one else — though I bet the next lady who gets to wear it will do it justice, too.

    Sadly, we’re a few sizes apart, so I can’t vy for this lovely little number. This post came on just the right day for me, though. This weekend my fiance and I decided to scrap our plans for a relatively long engagement and a moderately sized wedding. Instead we’re getting married in July with 15 guests. I’m feeling buoyant about our new plan. I’m also relieved to know that if you could find such a fantastic dress with six days to spare, I’ll be fine with three and a half months.

    This dress looks like it has some seriously good karma.

  • Erica

    Congratulations, Drea! What amazing news–and you look so lovely “with child.” Your dress is awesome–yay for the lucky recipient!

  • Marisa-Andrea

    Awww, Drea, congrats, congrats, congrats! I know some lucky bride will enjoy your dress. And again, CONGRATS! Lots of love!

  • Moz

    No hat in ring, I just wanted to say how much I loved Drea’s blog and her whole story. Drea was actually how I found APW, I’ve been reading her forever. You all should too.

  • Irene

    Best, most beautiful dress ever. I’m not in the market for one – but just to say yay Drea for her generosity and yay the lucky bride who gets this one! I’m bookmarking the style for the day I get married!


  • Michele

    What a lovely post, and congrats on the baby! :)

    This also just spurred me to email Meg last night about an unworn wedding dress I have to offer to another APW bride. The relationship didn’t work out, but it is OK, really! :D I’m a practical chick that would much rather see someone use the dress than it hang in my closet taking up room (I bought it way too early…).

  • BABIES! That is all!

  • Andee

    Hi Drea and all the APW Readers!
    I would LOVE to be considered for this dress. I’m in a bit of a dress mess if you will. I can’t fathom spending anything more than $150 on a dress I will wear only once. I also want a short dress because we are getting married outside on a mountain side. I don’t wear long dresses in my everyday life and I’m not fuffy. We are going for a vintage feel, and this dress felt very vintagy. I previously purchesed a dress for $30, and called it good. I’ve lost some weight and I can’t get it to fit properly now and I’m debating how much do I struggle at fixing it before I just look for something else. Also my Mom saw the dress for the first time this weekend, and she hated it. She didn’t say she hated it but I could tell. More to the point I broke down in a hardware store while getting parts to fix my toilet with my fiance. He comforted me and held me while I cried in the hardware store because my Mom didn’t like my wedding dress. This is hands down my favorite memory from wedding planning so far. My fiance is so kind and generous that I realized it doesn’t matter one bit what I wear. So if this dress needs a home where it will be appreciated but not idolized – I’m your girl! I would of course pass the dress along after I wear it! Congrats on your baby!


  • Muister

    Congrats on the baby news! You look so happy and gorgeous and glowing!!!

  • Chelsea

    I’m a few days late to this party, but I just wanted to say congratulations! I cried the first time I read your post about not being able to get pregnant, and cried again rereading it now. And now you look so perfectly pregnant, it’s wonderful!!

  • OMG, I love that dress HARD! You rocked it so much. I know it would fit me, but I also know I have a dress waiting to be altered, so I guess I’ll have to pass.

  • Kristen

    Maybe it’s no designer steal but it comes with the magic you put in it and you can’t put a price on that!

  • Renee P.

    Wow. Drea, that dress, the wedding, you and your husband, and that little cupcake in the oven – beautiful.

    I am new to A Practical Wedding, but since a friend showed it to me I feel like it’s the island of sanity in the midst of the tsunami of over-priced-under-personal wedding options out there. I do not know how the sister gowns work, but I would love to be considered. I am going for a day and style that is retro meets preppy, with an early church ceremony followed by a lunch of pizza, pasta, and dancing. I see this dress and it’s exactly what I would love to wear when I celebrate the big day with my husband-to-be and would hope to pass it along to another woman who can see the same in this dress.