Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Worthy Wedding Gown

The wedding dress at yesterday’s royal wedding was tasteful, lovely and plain.  Meghan Markle asked for an unembellished gown and Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy gave her exactly that.  Meghan is a beautiful young woman and a woman glows in a tasteful, fitted gown.  Marketers of gowns don’t seem to understand marriage is a sacrament.  They confuse the wedding ceremony with the wedding night, confusing sacramental attire and lingerie.  If the bride walks up the aisle and appears to be topless, there is a problem.  We’ve all pitied lovely buxom bridesmaids constantly adjusting straining, halter, spaghetti straps which won’t stay up on their backless, frontless cocktail dresses.  You wonder who sold them those dresses.  What were they thinking?  Indeed the world has lost all sense of the sacred seen clearly at the MET Gala recently, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”  They had bodies and fashion of a sort but the "Catholic Imagination" of beauty and purity was nowhere to be seen.

Twenty three years ago I wore a wedding dress.  It was the most beautiful thing I have ever worn.  As a mature bride, I knew exactly what I wanted.  It was very hard to find.  My Matron of Honor chose a stunning plain burgundy gown with a matching bolero jacket.  That took a lot of looking.  “We’re the plain girls,” we told an inquiring saleslady over the rhinestone covered bows.  My mother and I went to several boutiques on the Main Line with no luck.  You would think they might have a few tasteful dresses.  However, the styles they carried only differed from warehouse gowns in price.  We were told by one haughty boutique saleswoman, “we have go-juss dresses.”  She showed me dress after dress covered with rhinestones, bows, lace, and artificial flowers.  The dresses had everything but sleeves and a neckline.  I asked if they had anything which covered the bust and had long sleeves.  She was astonished.  I said my wedding is going to be in a church.  She still didn’t understand why a dress cut down to the waste which evoked "Elvira Mistress of the Dark" would not be suitable to wear in church.  And sleeves?  What kind of a bride wears sleeves?  The haughty saleslady grimaced.  I was hard to please.  My mother had an idea.  Why not have a dress made?  We had 6 months.  So we found a dressmaker and started our adventure.  The seamstress gave us directives.  We found a vintage pattern with long sleeves, high neckline and a full skirt with a train.  Similar to the pattern shown in the photo with the neckline squared off.  We chose white satin.  I was literally the satin doll.  We paid about the same or less for this tailor made dress as the fancy shops charged for the topless, plastic encrusted wedding gowns.  The only trim were white satin buttons on the sleeves.  I found a full veil in a thrift shop.  I had a dress worthy to wear to receive the Sacrament of Marriage.  

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