Dress, Re-Gifted (VIII)

Here is the thing about The Sisterhood of The Traveling Dress. Sometimes, when you give a dress away, it works out perfectly. But sometimes, it works out imperfectly. Which is why I always warn people who want to give their dresses away that they need to be willing to let go of the outcome. That the action of gifting has to be the reason that they are doing it.

But, as we talk about a lot on APW, sometimes the beauty of things is in their imperfection. Melissa, who you’ll remember from her kick-ass brewfest wedding, gave away her wedding dress last year to Kelly. Over the last year, Kelly got very ill, and her wedding was pushed back. Because Kelly is adorable, she kept emailing Melissa to ask if it was ok, could she still keep the dress? And of course Melissa said absolutely yes. Keep the dress, and wear it in good health. But, recently, Kelly emailed us to say this:

I am, thankfully, in better health than I was. It was scary there for awhile and I’m glad to be well again. But I’m also 30 pounds heavier than I ever thought I’d be. Which means that while Melissa’s dress is still just amazing as always, the whole look is so less cute when it doesn’t fit over my ass. Sigh.

Last week, I ordered another dress and I pick it up in a few days. It’s beautiful, even if it’s not draped in the same karmic goodness as Melissa’s dress, and I’m just thankful at this point to have something to wear. It’s strange, how much seems to work out that way. Our caterer called Friday and said they couldn’t honor our contract. Which I’m thankful for too, because yesterday, I complained loudly enough in this little natural foods cafe I like, and the two women who run it were all “Oh, honey, we’ll cater for you. Don’t you worry about a thing.” Hooray! They were certain it was meant to be this way and I am too.

And frankly? Melissa and I are just thrilled that Kelly is WELL, and GETTING MARRIED (next week!!!!!!!! Eeeeeeeeee!!!!) But that means that Melissa’s dress needs a new home, that it will hopefully find in one of you. Here is the story of the dress:

The dress is a lovely champagne color (perfect for fair skin) and is a true-to-size 16, with measurements of 45 bust/37 waist/49 hip. I’m 5’7″ and wore a 1/2″ heel, with the skirt just brushing the floor.As for alterations, aside from the skirt coming up a smidge, the tailor also removed unnecessary boning in the bust. The only other things to note is that it needs a good cleaning and the black shrug doesn’t come with it.

This dress is an Eden Bridesmaid dress and it is sans train, petticoat or any of that other stuff I didn’t want to be bothered with (not that they aren’t lovely…they’re just not me). It is a workhorse of a dress that is just the right balance of elegance and no-muss/no-fuss. And ladies, this is a dress you can pee ALONE IN!

So, perhaps, is this dress meant for you? If so, you’d get happy wedding wishes from Melissa, Kelly, and me (lucky you!). The rules are the same as always: Leave a comment about why you’d like to receive the dress. Melissa will select the recipient (with possibly lobbying from me and Kelly). The recipient pays for shipping, and promises to send Melissa (& Kelly) 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.

So with that, Cheers to Kelly, as she finally reaches the other side. May you wear your new wedding dress in good health, knowing that we’re all rooting for you!

Pictures by Georgi Anastasov

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  • Jen M.

    I have nothing to add other than even a year later, the line about being able to pee alone still makes me giggle.

    • ka

      Hah, seriously. I just bought a dress Friday, and realized in a panic Saturday that its mermaid design will force me to strip down completely for any visits to the loo. And then I realized, hell, I’d rather be walking around the bathroom in my undies than have 2 women in a stall holding up my skirt!

      Happy re-gifting!!

  • I’m so glad Kelly is well & found a new dress for her wedding! Cheers to them~

    & good luck, ladies- Melissa’s dress is beautiful!!!

  • Wow. What a beautiful dress! I am getting married in October and am right about that size!

  • Melodious

    This just means the dress is steeped in double goodness now!

    • Ali

      That’s exactly what I was thinking :)

  • Jen

    I remember reading this post when reading through the archives and drooling over this dress! (and that fantastic wedding!) I love that second photo so much.

    My fiance and I got engaged at the end of January and are planning a wedding for June 2012. If I’m being completely honest – I’m dreading the dress process a little bit. (a lot.) I have visions of being poked, prodded and jerry-rigged into a dress that’s 5 sizes too small and leaving in tears. *shudder*

    This dress? It’s gorgeous, it’s my size, it doesn’t involve jerry rigging of any kind AND it is draped in a certain karmic goodness, as Kelly said. Plus, having Melissa and Kelly as automatic parts of my bridal brigade? Hello? Amazing.

    • meg


    • Richelle

      Hi jen,
      I hope you get the dress if it’s the one you want, but if you don’t I wanted to write to say the shopping might nit be as bad as you think and might be fun. I was s
      Afraid of shopping. I’m a size 12/14, like lots of women, and didn’t think anything would look good and I’d be hugely disappointed. What I found is talented sales associates make ALL the difference. A wedding dress works like no other dress I’ve ever tried on, maybe you too. So I did t know what to look for. Some thi gs looked great, some didn’t. But some did! The chic chic shops were not fun. Too snotty and too many tiny figures. I found a shop recommended on local message boards, and an angel of an associate who made everything right. It was fun, and I felt pretty, and literally jumped up and down on the sidewalk with my mom after we found my dress that I loved loved loved. So just wanted to share and give you another perspective and encouragement. Good luck!

      • Jen

        Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been trying to get a feel for some of the shops in this area so that I can (hopefully) avoid a crappy situation. I’ve gotten a couple of good leads from some ladies that I trust. And then of course there’s the APW ladies!
        Hopefully I’ve just gotten myself worked up over nothing.

        • Richelle

          Oh good! I’m so glad to hear. You don’t happen to be in the Boston area do you? If you are, I highly recommend precious memories in Malden. Just regular folks, with awesome dresses at reasonable prices. Anyway, good luck!!

          • Lauren

            I’ll second that shopping for a wedding dress may not be as bad as you anticipate. I rarely think anything looks good on me when I go shopping (I know, I know) but surprisingly, I though that a lot of the dresses I tried on looked flattering on me. Try on a bunch of different styles, even ones that you don’t like. And bring someone with you whom you can laugh with at how silly some of the dresses look (cause there are bound to be those, too!).

  • LV Anna

    I have been lurking in APW regularly since January. Although I have posted very infrequently, the wit and wisdom of the site – the APW team AND commenters has been a ray of sanity and sunshine in the oft-terrifying Wedding World. I really love the fact that APW isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues surrounding marriage, gender and identity, a hot button issue for me.

    You see, I am a second-time bride. I didn’t wear a wedding dress the first time around – it was what I wanted at the time, but I also secretly felt the loss of that wedding dress dream, and quite a few others. True to form, I didn’t let myself acknowledge or grieve for those little dreams, and as a result, I’ve found a lot of those little dreams I didn’t know I had as I prepare for this wedding. The journey of self discovery through wedding planning was not one I expected, but one I fully embrace. The other option is the afore-mentioned sticking my head in the sand, and thankfully I’ve pretty much given up on that as a life tactic. Who likes eating sand?

    Because he is awesome, my intended has quietly listened as I work through the realizations that marrying again has for me, and held me while I cried. He has helped me wrestle with the past, and stood by me as I put it into its proper place – treasured yes, but past none the less. I am 100% confident that he is the man I want to make my life with, have fun with, and make babies and help them grow up with.

    Which isn’t to say that life is all sparkly hearts and bubbles – we are both imperfect people and we irritate each other from time to time, and my always supportive mother has terminal cancer and may not live long enough to see us married (which is its own epic wedding issue, but I digress). Life is precious, and it is that experience of life that I so-greatly look forward to sharing with him from now on.

    One of the few things I want for this wedding that is wedding-but-not-marriage related is a wedding dress, and time is getting short. Our wedding is in May of 2011. I think this dress is gorgeous, and would be honored to be the next bride to wear it.

    • Kendra

      Thank you for sharing. That was beautiful. Very best wishes to your mom and to you both.

      • LV Anna

        Kendra – Thank you for reading, and for your kind wishes. I can honestly say that life is the best it can be under the circumstances, and that is very good indeed.

  • Kelly

    You guys! You guys are amazing. A-mazing.

    Thanks for all the love. I’m so excited to have a part in something so beautiful. I think Meg once said The Sisterhood of The Traveling Dress was one of her favorite parts of APW. I can see why. It’s easy to feel alone planning these weddings, but with a traveling dress hanging on my bedroom door, I’ve been given this tangible reminder that someone out there has my back.

    (And as an aside, if we can just talk about the pretty for a second, this dress is beautiful. THE perfect color if I ever saw one.)

    One more thing. Months and months ago, I am certain I wrote something snarky about not being interested in shopping for a gown at my size, thus the reason I lobbied for Melissa’s dress. Well I ended up needing to shop for a dress anyway (ahem, a size 20 dress, two full sizes larger than I was when I received Melissa’s dress) And you know what? It was okay. I’d even say I had fun. Which is something that people told me would happen but I never believed until I experienced it myself. So take it for what it’s worth, but plus size brides? It’ll be okay.

    Okay, off to get married Saturday, woo!

    • Congratulations! I’m so thrilled for you that you get to make your wedding happen, and that you are approaching it in good health with new knowledge under your belt. Happy wedding/marriage!

  • Kristin

    Oh, oh, oh! I love this!!

    My dress has a great story and I am getting married May 26. The first thing I said to my fiance, Denver, was that I was DEFINITELY giving my dress away to someone on APW after the wedding. His response was, “Yes, but only if I can help you write the post.” (!!! Love him!) How do I do this? Just contact you, Meg, after we are married?

    I love love love it that ya’ll do this!!! Gives me goosebumps!

  • Kendra

    These posts are the awesomest. It’s like your favorite heartwarming movie ending–this time, twice! Or two fuzzy puppies! Or two hugs from your bestie! I love it here.

  • Heya everybody, it’s Melissa :)

    As much as it broke my heart a little that Kelly wouldn’t be able to wear this champagne wonder, it made me ecstatic to know she was healthy and happy and had a new dress in line for her wedding this weekend. I was even happier when she agreed that this dress needed to go back in the community to find it’s second home.

    I’m sure whoever receives this dress will receive double the blessing and love from both Kelly and myself.

    Good luck!

  • crystal

    Wow, after commenting on the wrong post, here I am to try again!

    Oh my, this dress is so beautiful, and the story so rich.

    My fiance and I were just engaged in December. We are in the midst of planning our August 2011 wedidng (quick, I know. being high strung a bit, I didnt want to allow myself too long to obsess and lose my mind over the wedding. I wanted to ride the engagement high directly into the wedding ceremony and arrive smiling, happy, and glowing). We too are homebrewers!!! We are planning some Holy Matrimony homebrew to be present at the wedding, and I love the brew-experience that this dress would bring.

    I have to also admit – this is the first time I’ve seen a dress, thought to myself, oh my that is stunning! And then read on to see that it is just about my size. I was lamenting yesterday that it would be much easier to shop online (browse even) if the girls looked anything like me! That dress is made for someone with curves. I’d be honored if I could fill it next. I hope you’ll consider my Maine evening wedding in a field with homebrew!

  • Robin

    How would I contact you if I wanted to find a bride who could wear my dress? Also, would I be able to get my dress back after it was used? I spent a lot of money on an amazing dress for my wedding which was just a few weeks ago. It cost more than the whole rest of my wedding and I feel like it’s such a waste to have it only be worn once. I would need to get the dress cleaned as my fake tan rubbed off under the arms, but as long as that comes off and could be returned to me in the end then I would love to pass it on to another bride. Of course I realize by donating it I am running the risk of the bride not returning it anyway, but if there’s a chance I could get it back then it’s worth a try.