So Would You Dare To Wear Your Wedding Dress Again ?

  1. [​IMG]
    Old newlywed: Kate Aylott only married six months ago but loves wearing her wedding dress so much she's one of many women embracing the Wedding Balls

    Catherine Rose can't say, hand on heart, that her wedding day was the happiest of her life. In fact, she describes it as something of a disaster.
    "My husband Adrian's mother broke her wrist on the journey to the ceremony and almost missed it," she recalls.

    "My father had an attack of angina during the reception and had to lie down in a quiet corner. The piano player was terrible, and it was the hottest day of the year."

    Still, she looked lovely - surely? Erm, no. It was 1990. Her dress was a huge, flouncy, Princess Diana-esque concoction, but made of polyester and inexplicably set off with a long rope of pearls.
    "Tacky," she shudders, still embarrassed at the shame of it. "I hired it for £100 - it was all we could afford at the time - but when I went to return it to the shop, the woman just gave it to me."
    In the circumstances no one would have blamed Catherine, now 40, had she binned the offending dress, or stuffed it in the loft - where so many hideous old 'treasures' go to fester - or even given it to her daughters for their dressing-up box.

    But it seems that a woman's wedding dress - no matter how gruesome, or how many bad memories it holds in its voluminous folds - is special.
    How else to explain the fact that Catherine is once again wearing hers? Some 17 years on, she is billowing along in the sunshine, a vast human meringue with a glass of bubbly in her hand.

    This time, though, she isn't the only fortysomething woman looking frankly ridiculous. To her right is a middle-aged matron in a lace affair that really should have been turned into a tablecloth two decades ago.
    To her left is a vision in slightly tatty taffeta. In front is what can only be described as a sea of satin - and much of it straining at the seams.
    Everywhere you look are brides. Big ones, thin ones, ones that could have married yesterday, and ones that look as if they've bought canteens of cutlery for at least a few grandchildren.

    All are wearing white, off-white, ivory or cream, often accessorised with peach and topped off with a wobbly tiara.
    Two of these resplendent brides are even stuck in a doorway, literally wedged together, unable to manoeuvre themselves or their ivory netted creations past each other.

    So what on earth is going on? This is an unlikely - and admittedly disturbing - social event called the Brides Ball.

    More than 40 one-time brides have dusted down the dresses that once held such promise of radiance, gracefulness and ever-lasting contentment, and pitched up at Sandown Racecourse to, well, do it all again.

    [​IMG] Brides revisited: Other brides recapturing the big day
  2. Why? Didn't they suffer enough humiliation first time round? Ostensibly, the event is for charity, but clearly that's just a ruse. They may joke about it being 'for a laugh', but about it being 'for a laugh', but strange things happen to women when they don a bridal dress, even in supposed jest.

    At the start of the evening a piercing screech drowns out even the five piece jazz band. A dress - designer, no less - has been torn by the heel of someone's smart stiletto. The wearer is distraught and throws a hissy fit.
    Did she dust down her highlystrung psyche - the prerogative of every bride - especially for the occasion? You may laugh, but sooner or later a 're-wedding event' could be coming your way.
    Days like this are becoming something of a social trend, which is a terrifying prospect for those of us who can't even remember where our wedding dresses are, still less if they fit.
    The world's first Wedding Dress Ball, held last year, was the brainchild of Gail Mercer, a 33-year-old housewife from Scotland.
    She set out to organise a charity ball, but wanted a quirky theme, so hit on the idea of asking those attending to wear their wedding attire. Altogether 80 brides (and their husbands, but who cares about them?), obliged, and they raised a whopping £8,000 for charity.
    Now, things are threatening to get out of hand as organisers seek to take the concept worldwide.
    This particular ball at Sandown was inspired by a terrible tragedy.
    It was organised by Alice Austin, 66, whose 31-year-old daughter Gillian died from meningitis three years ago.
    Shopping for a wedding dress for her daughter-in-law two years later, Alice was struck by the transient nature of the wedding dress.
    "My daughter-in-law said how sad it was that brides never got to wear their dresses again," she recalls. "It was like a light bulb switching on in my head. I thought: "What a wonderful way to raise money.""
    So the concept is heartwarming enough. But, for those who agree to buy tickets, is it altogether a good idea to revisit history in such an audacious way?
    Clearly, you're unlikely to pitch up at one of these balls if your husband ran off with his secretary and your wedding dress holds truly painful memories.
    But tellingly, those who seem to be most enjoying this event are those women for whom the real memories have not had time to fade, or be battered into oblivion by decades of ironing his underpants.
    "I think these events are brilliant," says Kate Aylott, 29, who has been married to designer John, 30, for just six months.
    "I've loved wearing my wedding dress again. Because John and I only married such a short time ago, and some of our friends are with us at the ball, it feels as if we are celebrating our wedding all over again."
    She struggles to think of a difference between this day and the real one. "My hair is much shorter and I had to do all my makeup myself," is the best she can manage.

    Hilariously, John has been duly despatched to re-hire the same morning suit - but Kate vetoed a complete social re-enactment.
    "The night before our actual wedding he stayed up until 3am drinking with my brother. They were so drunk they overslept, and almost didn't make it to the church on time. I told him there'd be none of that this time."
    For Sammi Latter, 37, a budding actress who got married four years ago, the event offered an answer to that old problem: what do you actually do with your wedding dress?
    "Mine has beautiful red flowers embroidered on the corset and I considered cutting it off from the skirt so I could wear it with trousers, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. This was the perfect solution."
    Maybe putting your wedding dress back on is addictive. Sammi is now talking of wearing it again within months.
    "In the next play I'm acting in there is a bridal scene. What better excuse?" Some brides, it has to be said, have taken this whole re-wedding thing just too seriously.
    Chloe Butt had almost as much of a nervous breakdown over the rewedding as she did over her real wedding six months ago. She earnestly reveals how she was plagued by anxious dreams for two weeks before the ball.
    "I'd wake up in a sweat having dreamt that the dress was too short for me, or it had turned a completely different colour.

    "You see, my wedding dress had meant so much to me. The day I bought it I almost cried. I was so worried about wearing it again, though. I didn't even try it on again until I was getting ready.
    "I wanted to remember my dress as it was on my wedding day - absolutely perfect - and I feared if I wore the dress again, it might ruin my memories." And did it? Of course it didn't.
    She jumps up and down with the thrill of once again being in the limelight - albeit crammed in with 43 others.
    "As soon as I put it on, I had one thought: "I want to wear this dress every day."" Others are excited in a different way.
    Maybe it's the romance of the occasion. Maybe it's the fact they have managed to get a babysitter for the night. Whatever, at one point two 're-newlyweds' are spied in the men's loos, rushing into one cubicle together. Her white pumps are clearly visible as passion is rekindled.
    But those heady honeymoon days aren't always so easily retrieved. What's perhaps surprising amid all the traditional wedding behaviour, like *****ing about the catering and doing a rowdy conga on the dancefloor, is that there are a few less-than-happy faces.
    Those dresses, it transpires, really are capable of summoning up powerful emotions.
    Charlotte Cavey, a 43-year-old mother of four, would - with hindsight - have been perfectly satisfied to leave her memories back in the Eighties.
    She had her dress dry-cleaned the day after her wedding and put it in a box where - if she'd had her way - it would have stayed. Instead, she was convinced that it would be 'fun' to dig it out again. She looks thoroughly miserable.
    "When I took it out of storage, I was quite horrified," she admits. "Although the material was white silk, the dress itself is high-necked, long-sleeved and looks like something from the Victorian era. When I tried it on a week ago, I didn't feel sexy - just frumpy. My kids were horrified.

    "My son said: "You didn't really wear that to your wedding, did you?" When I told them that I'd kept it in case one of my daughters wanted to wear it, they all guffawed with laughter."

    The fact that it still fits to perfection seems besides the point.
    "I've not been comfortable wearing it, no," she says. "My husband has been very sweet and told me how lovely I look, but in comparison to some of the beautiful dresses on show, I don't feel that great."
    Still, at least her husband looks as though he is still happy to be by her side. There are a disturbing number of men here who look as though they'd rather be anywhere else.
    The invitations did make it clear that men would also be expected to dress as they did on their 'special day'.
    This seems to have posed huge problems for those who can't remember what they wore - perhaps they attempted to blot out the memories of the day with wedding champagne.
    Even those who can remember haven't been able to easily slip back into it.
    "I sold the suit I wore to my wedding," confesses John Staunton, 49, an IT manager married to poor Barbara - who was presumably less than chuffed that such a coveted memento had been flogged by her husband for a few quid.
    "It was expensive, and I figured I'd try to make a bit of money back because I wasn't exactly going to wear it again. I can't remember how much I got for it, but I'm sure it wasn't bad.
    "It made it a bit tricky when Barbara said she wanted to come to this. To be honest, I thought she'd sold her wedding dress, too. She could probably have done with the money from the sale."
    What an old romantic. He scratches his head when asked about why couples like this feel the need to relive their wedding days.
    "I don't think the men do," he says. "I'm a practical person and certainly didn't feel any overwhelming pangs to be back at our actual wedding."
    But all weddings - even revisited ones - must end. This one does so in inimitable style, with a stagger from the dance floor and a fumble to cram endless white court shoes back onto swollen feet.
    Some of the brides appear to be planning never to take their dresses off; others are clearly going to be stuffing theirs in the bin as soon as they get home.
    Somehow, Vicki Curtis, 34, seems to have achieved the impossible: finding a sensible balance. She looks down at the wedding gown she first set eyes on six years ago, and strokes the silk.
    "My daughter, who is three-and-ahalf, was so excited to see her mummy all dressed up. I had to promise her that she could try on my dress and shoes as soon as I get back.
    "What today has taught me is that nice as it is to remember my special day, my dress is for my children now, like my life. I've moved on. This dress has to as well." And so, like a fleet of ghosts drifting through the darkness, these brides slip away from their fairytale moment and back to the shuddering reality of family life.

  3. ther is something very creepy about that.
  4. Eh, no. I wouldn't fit into it.
  5. I think its a natural thing for a Mother to save her wedding dress for her daughter.. I'm not sure how many daughters would wear it though.
  6. I still fit in mine. Would I wear it again ?... NO :heart:
  7. Considering I sold my wedding dress on eBay the week after we got back from our honeymoon...I wouldn't be joining this. :smile:
  8. ah I absolutely loved my dress AT the time! but times change, I certainly wouldnt choose the same one now, but I still have it and will keep it for always. I wouldnt want my daughters to choose it, a, as they are both gonna be alot taller than me, and b, because nobody should miss out on the pleasure of a day in a bridal store choosing the gown of your dreams, it really was up there as on of the best days of my life.
    My headress, phew, thats a whole different matter entirely lol (WTF was I thinking :roflmfao: )
  9. Perhaps if me, the dress and DH are still around, I'd consider dragging it out for our 50th wedding anniversary.....but only if I had enough lycra & corsets to squeeze me into it!:roflmfao:
  10. Across the pond in the UK and other countries they do seem to love to play dress up. They seem to enjoy wearing these dresses, more power to them. Some of my relatives live in England and some relatives from the states have lived there too and the stories they say of how dressed up one can get for any occassion would make them laugh. My cousin said she never saw so many unique prints and hats at any party. I myself had a beautiful tea length wedding dress that could be worn again, but I never wanted to wear it again. Some girls just love to play dress up and any costume will do but one would hope they realize that they can look horrible. I have also heard of the ugly bridesmaid party and I am sure they have uglier dresses.
  11. See... I am odd - because I :heart: my wedding dress and would happily wear it again... I had a great time at the wedding and it was fun, because in a family that is usually divided (because of both sets of parents being divorced and some remarried)... it was WONDERFUL to have our whole immediate family in one place, at one time...

    Also, I was in love with my dress... I actually got it about 2 weeks before the wedding and had my sister do emergency length alterations to it. (Luckily, she has a clothing & textiles degree, and the rest of the dress fit like a glove...) I had my "first dress" for at least a few months, but when I found this dress, I HAD to have it... and never regretted the switch...

    NOW... ask me if I still love it 10 years from now. We've only been married about 2 years... ;)
  12. well, i was pregnant when we celebrated our wedding, so the dress now (thankfully) would have to be taken in. but it is lovely,my husband chose it (!, yep that is right) and it is not white/white, rather gold/champagne. I could chop off the train and make it a lovely evening dress... but don't think I ever will.

    just kept it to look at it. btw, getting a £100 rental dress is a waste IMO, you could get something on sales etc.
  13. i heard about someone somehow making their wedding dress into their baby's Christening gown..I would love to do that!! like somehow use the fabric to make their gown..
  14. Huh...I couldn't wear mine again. I rented it!
  15. I LOVED my wedding dress. It is strapless with a drop waist with a crystal buckle and princess-style bottom and it is PINK! I thought about having it cut off to be tea-length, maybe dying it black and I could wear it to a formal event. i just hate to sell it!