« What Did You Give Up? | Main | Muriel »

Friday, 14 December 2007

I Gave My Wedding Dress Away

By Grannymar of Grannymar blog

Eileen Reid sang with a group called the Melody Makers in Dublin during the early Sixties before joining the Cadets with whom she made the above hit record. She has continued to act in films as well as on-stage. I last saw her portraying Imelda's mother in Alan Parker's The Commitments.

The song, I Gave My Wedding Dress Away, is very much in my head at the moment. You know how it is – you think of a line and you find you are singing it all day long!

Well now I will be able to say "I Gave My Wedding Dress Away" and mean it. For the past eighteen months I have worked on (when health allowed) a very special wedding dress. In fact I have always referred to it as “Elly's Wedding Outfit”. That is because it was not really a dress at all. For most of her life my daughter REFUSED point blank to wear a dress! Jeans are her usual choice of apparel.

No way would I let her wear jeans walking up an aisle, no matter what building she chose for the wedding.

We did go out one day a lifetime ago, or so it seems, so Elly could look at and try on dresses, even though she had already asked me to make her special outfit. I wanted her to be sure and not commit until she had tried several different styles.

There were one-pieces, two-pieces, meringues all frills and flounces, slinky little numbers and the more traditional with big skirts. She tried while I looked. My face sometimes told more than the mirror even if I was slow to comment. One she liked had a rather full skirt with mountains of underskirts to support it. I reminded her of how she disliked being restricted and she agreed that yes it would slow her down far too much. "Anyway Mum, your arms would not hack all that weight of material" she said. I think I was secretly relieved.

Since Elly's graduation outfit (which I made over ten years ago) really pleased her, she hankered after a similar one for her wedding. I hunted out ideas and we settled on a boned bodice, trousers and a train. Detachable sleeves were also an option. We ditched the sleeves last month and the train unhooks for dancing.

I set to work on the train as it would not be affected by a change in Elly's weight. Next I did the sleeves and then the trousers. I left the waistband and hems semi-finished for the second fitting. The bodice was the last piece to be tackled as it was boned and the most difficult to alter.

All this was going on some 125 miles apart from each other. Each time we met, her weight seemed static and her shape & measurements remained the same. I took a chance on it and went ahead with the boned bodice.

In February, work decided to interfere with the calm steady arrangements. Work trips around the globe were suddenly arranged and Elly took off on her travels. Mammy sat calmly (on the outside) sewing away wondering when we were ever to have a fitting. I kept a stock of safety pins at the ready, after all Liz Hurley got away with it at the Oscars!

I traveled to Dublin for the Irish Blog Awards in March armed with wedding outfit, sewing box, sheets to spread on the floor for the fitting, etc. Ha, ha, ha! Serves you right, mother! Elly lost a little weight. Where? Up top of course, so the alterations started. I still had time - 23rd June was a couple of months away.

Elly arranged to come up on 10th June for the final fitting but the car objected and gave up on her north of Drogheda. The car was sorted and she finally managed to take time away from work on Friday 15th June. We had a good six or seven hour's together but:

Whaaaa! More alterations were needed. Beading had to be removed to do them properly. I managed to do the crucial ones while Elly was with me and that left four days to get it all finished.

All that work just to “gift wrap” the most precious treasure I have before willingly and lovingly entrusting her to George.

George, all I ask is that you mind her, love her and may you both live long and happy lives together.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


What a good Mom you are, GM. I was fortunate enough to see pictures of that wedding outfit when you posted them on your site.It was truly beautiful and Elly looked lovely and happy wearing it.

My daughter's wedding dress was cleaned and "preserved" in 1976 at a special shop. We had it stored at our house for many years, hoping she would have a girl to wear it someday. She had two wonderful boys so there was no one to wear the dress.

Last year my daughter asked me to see if anyone wanted the dress. Everyone in our family was already married so didn't need it and besides, who knows what condition the dress would be in when the box was opened?

I called the Salvation Army store and they said they wanted it because they had many calls from brides for dresses. I parked in front of the store and as I took the box out of the car a man was walking down the street and when he saw what I had he asked to see it. He was delighted to see that beautiful dress and tiara and veil and asked if he could buy it from me. His daughter was being married in a few months and it was perfect for her.

I told him I was donating it to the Salvation Army and that he could buy it from them at the price they chose.
When the box was opened the dress was perfect. It looked brand new and the manager of the store gave the man a price and he happily paid it and took the dress and all the trimmings home with him.

He asked for my name and address and a few months later I received a picture of his beautiful daughter wearing the dress on her wedding day.

He told me that they were having the dress preserved again in case his daughter had a little girl who would someday wear it.

I hope that wish comes true for them..........

I didn't see the photos, Grannymar, and I want to. Can you put the link to them on your blog? What a great story! I made my own wedding dress and hat, and I know what love and care you put into yours!

I second that, Kenju. I would love to see those photos. Please post them again or add a link, Grannymar. The ending to this story was so perfect, just like the outfit. My grandmother, Bessie, made my prom dress out of white eyelet. Loving, gifted hands that women had. A couple of years later, my mom, Carolyn, added a bit at the top and turned it into my wedding dress.

I missed them as well, glad I wasn't the only one. Would you repost the link so we all can see this lovely dress. What a beautiful story of love from mom.

Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram

I am thinking of reviewing my year with a blog post or Podcast and will include a photo or two of Elly and her outfit. At this stage I am not sure which day, so I will leave a comment here when it is online.

How truly magic. Yes, I would like to see a picture of the finished dress. :)

I promised to post pictures of Elly's wedding outfit and they will be posted at http://www.grannymar.com/blog/2007/12/31/my-year/
on Monday.

I really like your selections (sooo pretty!). I really had a good idea of the features I wanted as well, and it saved me a lot of money. When I saw the dress that matched my vision @ a great price it was easy to pick it up and run with it.If You Nead to Wedding Dresses Please Contact:- China-stylish.com is a professional company that integrates the design, wholesale, production and marketing.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment