The Wedding Gown


Dear Bridal Becky,

I recently became engaged to my childhood sweetheart. Both families are ecstatic about our upcoming marriage. We are both only children.

I have dreamed about my wedding day since I was a little girl; from the flowers to my wedding gown. The problem is both my mother and mother-in-law want me to wear their wedding gowns. I would love to wear either one, but there are serious issues with both.

My mother was a size 2 when she got married and my size 10 rear end cannot fit into the dress. There is not enough altering in the world, nor Jenny Craig to make it fit…even over my knees.

There is neither a train nor any additional material to add on. There are also discolorations throughout the dress.

My future mother-in-law got married in December and I’m getting married in July. Her gown is beautiful, but it is made out of heavy beaded satin with long sleeves, a train and enough lace to span the Atlantic Ocean. There are several large areas that have rust spots from age. My future mother-in-law remembers how hot the gown was to wear on her wedding in December. Can you imagine in July in western New York?!

I love both of these women, and would not hurt them, but the idea of me wearing either dress, even with alternations, is just not happening.

How do I tell them that I do not want to wear their wedding gowns? Also, how can I incorporate their wedding gowns into my wedding, honoring these two wonderful women? I want to keep the peace in both families and have a beautiful wedding day.


Wedding Gown Worrier in Dunkirk


Dear Wedding Gown,

Choosing a wedding dress is one of life’s most pleasurable dilemmas. Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. Just for one special moment she becomes Cinderella, wearing a beautiful gown, marrying the man of her dreams. This wedding is about your day, your dress and your memories. Be honest with yourself, is either gown your style? Is it the wedding gown you dreamed about?

A wedding gown is a direct reflection of a bride’s personality. It becomes the most important dress that you will ever wear in your life, and the most expensive. Weddings bring strong emotions to the surface, particularly for the mothers of the bride and groom. The nostalgic idea that a daughter or daughter-in-law would one day walk down the aisle in the gown they chose, so many years ago for themselves, puts a lot of emotional pressure on all parties involved. The key words here are, “the gown they chose for themselves.” Every bride should be able to choose her own wedding gown-whether a family heirloom or a new modern dress.

Talk to your mom and mother-in-law. Be gentle, be kind, be respectful, but most importantly be honest. Tell them you think that both gowns are beautiful, but due to the size and condition issues, you feel that you would like to choose your own wedding gown, but with their help and guidance.

There are many ways that a bride can incorporate a family wedding gown into her wedding day:

1.  Heritage Bridal Bouquet- Use the fabric of the gown to make beautiful roses for a one of a kind bridal bouquet. Incorporate small family photographs in the bouquet with special family remembrance heirlooms charms. This a wonderful way for you to spend time with your mom, mother-in-law and bridesmaids to create this one of a kind vintage bouquet. For more information on how to create this spectacular bouquet, visit the DIY section of

2. Bridal Reception Table Beaded Overlay- Most trains from wedding gowns are spectacular, with appliqués and massive amounts of beading. Even if they are less than perfect. One can recycle, these beauties into one of a kind table overlay for your wedding. After the wedding, you can use it as a fabulous coverlet for your bed. For more information on how to create this spectacular beaded table overlay, visit the DIY section of

You have one opportunity to have your wedding, your way, with all your wishes and desires.

But, although you are a grown woman, you will always be your mothers little girl…standing in front of the mirror playing dress up. Both your mom and mother-in-law love you and want you to be happy…whatever wedding gown you choose.


Rebecca Rosen is the contributing writer and DIY expert for Chautauqua Wedding. She has been in the bridal industry for over 15 years. For more information about bridal articles, tips, directory of local bridal experts, and fabulous DIY projects, please visit: