Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress X & Re-Gifted VIII Winners!

It’s that time ladies! It’s time for one of the all time favorite things on APW – the time where we give away wedding dresses… passed from one reader to another. The first wedding dress is being given by Sarah, and the recipient is Leah, who said:

I love that dress. And it would fit me! 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). Like 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 know this sounds so cliche, but your wedding graduate post is the one I needed to read. 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.

The recipient of Melissa’s dress, by way of Kelly-who-got-married-this-weekend (long story, happy ending, wedding grad post coming soon) is LV Anna, who said:

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.

So Ladies! Anna & Leah! It’s all happening. Email me ASAP, and we’ll make the magic happen (and I think I speak for all of us when I say you better come back as wedding grads!)

Pictures: First photo by: Pierre Chiha, Second photo by Georgi Anastasov

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  • marbella

    yay! congrats ladies! can’t wait to see pics of the new dress sisters!

  • Katie

    Not only does this site spread the zen calm among people dealing with all the stresses of life in general and weddings in particular, but spreading awesome happiness too? Full of win! Sisterhood of the traveling dress is one of my favourite parts of APW. :)

    • Kashia

      “Full of win!”
      my thoughts exactly. YAY!

  • These were both wonderful to read. I wish you both the best with the rest of your planning!

  • Yay, Sisterhood!! I’m so excited to share my dress. It was SO HARD to choose, and I seriously wanted to clone my dress. Love to all the ladies who commented on the dress giveaway post; your sweet words and amazing stories really touched me.

    And THANK YOU, Meg, for giving me this amazing opportunity to share my dress with another practical, awesome bride!

  • LV Anna

    I am still floating and grinning like a fool. THANK YOU LADIES!

  • Seanie

    Leah is my best friend, and she’s currently on vacation with her man in South Carolina. I may have left her several voice mails of the “OMG YOU HAVE TO CALL ME NOW!” variety. I was so excited I had to call *my* mom, tell her to go to this site, and read the first couple of sentences…then the silence, and “…wait…OUR Leah?!?”, and cue the tears.

    So thank you, Meg, for creating such a wonderful opportunity with the Sisterhood, and thank you, Sarah. Words can’t really quite express how happy I am that you picked Leah.

    Now…since I’m tearing up again…I’ll go and try to call Leah again :-) <3

    • meg

      Ohhhhhh…. sniff! I was wondering why she hadn’t emailed. And I love your mom.

      • Seanie

        Finally got ahold of her, and I believe the correct term is “in shock” :-)

        You would, and she actually had a question regarding the Sisterhood, and whether or not she could put *her* wedding dress into the mix, because she thought it was such a wonderful idea :-)

        • My mom also wants me to offer up her wedding dress from 20 some odd years ago up to the ladies of the APW sisterhood. Meg, I’ll be in touch, if that’s something we would be interested in!

          • JEM

            aww, chills! Amazing!

        • haha, thanks for taking care of me, Seanie. I will go email Meg now :-) We are having an awesome time in SC, and I didn’t get the phone calls earlier because I’m trying to disconnect some on our vacation.

          What a great cap to an awesome night with my guy :-) I didn’t tell him about this whole thing, so I broke the news tonight. He’s pretty excited too (but he hasn’t seen a picture of the dress, because he wants to be surprised). Sarah, thanks so much for picking me! I’m so stoked. And definitely shocked.

          • Another Leah

            Ok, Leah, I just wanted to say that I couldn’t get over some of the similarities between your story (and mine!), so I had to comment! I’m also a Leah, engaged to a Matt (well, Matthew), and we’ll be getting married in December (but 2012) and I’m also a grad student (though he’s a mathematics PhD student). And we’re planning on paying for our wedding on our own as well.
            So thanks for sharing your story, and best wishes to you both! And congrats again on winning the amazingly beautiful dress!

          • Seanie

            Hey, I do what I can ;-) *lol* Sorry to have bugged you on your vacation, but I couldn’t *not* share the cool news.

          • to anotherLeah — so awesome with the similarities! You aren’t the same size, are you? Maybe the dress will have to keep getting passed on ;-) What are you studying in grad school? My Matt has his MS in physics. I’ve got an MS in ecology and am getting an MAT in education right now.

            I am so excited! And I promise I will come back and share more of my story. And details on my blog too, of course.

    • Oh, thank you for passing along the news!! And that is an amazing story, I’m tearing up at my desk. I’m so, SO excited to pass along my dress. Be sure to take LOTS of pictures for me. It feels like sending my baby dress off to dress-kindergarten for the first time. “Listen to Leah! Be gorgeous! Fit her well! Bring her joy!!” :)

      • Seanie

        *LOL*! I love the idea of giving your dress a pep talk before sending it off…I would totally do the same thing :-D

        There will definitely be lots of pictures :-)

  • Oh happy day. Congrats Anna & Leah! Enjoy your beautiful wedding gowns!!

  • K

    Oh Yay! This makes me so happy to read – today i needed to be reminded of all the everyday generosity in the world. Congratulations ladies!

  • SarahMama Kate

    Leah, your dress is sitting, all ready, in my/Sarah’s closet! I will be most pleased to help Sarah pack it up and pass it on. Congrats, wear it in much joy and happiness as Sarah did; she had quite a day. xo Sarah’s Mama

    • Thanks, Mom!! Better to help ship it up and pack it off than have it lingering in our closet FOREVER, right?? :)

      I’m excited for my mom and I to pack it up and send it off to Leah and her mom, for their happy day. Spread a little love. <3

      • Seanie

        Oh….this made me get all teary-eyed all over again.

        <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

      • aww, I’m getting teary eyed too! Sarah, you are so awesome for sharing and for being so excited. Y’all are making me feel so special (the south is rubbing off on me!). <3 I can't wait to get the dress and try it on. I hope it fits well! This is beyon exciting.

  • Hooray! So much happiness :)

  • this whole series of comments is amazing.

  • Wondering if there’s a process for donating my dress after my wedding in June. . .