Question: I have been married for 5 years and my dress is still hanging in its bag in our closet. I never had it dry cleaned (GAH… and big sigh!). I, of course, love the dress, due to its meaning, but I wouldn’t say that I am overly attached to it. I would, however, say my husband is. He would be very upset if I were to donate it (as I have researched many times, when doing the chore of cleaning out our closet and/or moving). He has this dream/thought that I need to keep it, because some day our daughter may want it (doubtful… she is 2. I have a feeling she’s going to want her very own special gown).
So…. what to do? I could really use the closet space!
Answer: Good question, and a tricky one at that. Here are a few options:
1. You say you haven’t had it dry-cleaned since you wore it 5 years ago and it’s just hanging in your closet? It’s possible that neglect has actually made the dress unwearable (as of today, “unwearable” is officially a word). It might have stains that have set in, yellow perspiration marks that are now permanent, bug-eaten holes or water damage from being unprotected in your closet. If so, you have an excellent excuse for throwing the dress out. Yay! Problem solved.
2. Compromise. The dress goes, but you will keep the veil, so your daughter can wear that if she wants to.
3. Try reasoning with your husband. I’m sure your daughter will grow up to be a lovely and kind-hearted woman. How will she gracefully decline the offer of your wedding dress once she learns your husband FOUGHT to keep it against YOUR wishes so that she might have the option to wear it someday? Will that put unfair pressure on her to choose to preserve her father’s feelings over her own desires for her special day? In the face of that kind of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t decision, how could she possibly feel confident saying she doesn’t like the dress or she wants to choose her own? What if she doesn’t fit into the dress? What if she (gasp!) doesn’t get married? It seems like it is the daughter who loses out here, no matter what.
4. Reason some more: Would your husband have wanted to wear his father’s wedding suit from the ’70s, complete with wide collar and bell bottom pants? Probably not. That is about how cool your dress will look to your daughter in a few decades.
5. Can’t reason with him? No problem. You will keep it, but he has to store it on his side of the closet for the next 20 years.
6. None of those options sound palatable? Time for the sitcom solution. (The following ideas were inspired by various sitcoms I have watched over the years.) Tell your husband you are taking the dress to the dry cleaners. Secretly throw/give away the dress while you are out. Lie and tell your husband your dress was stolen out of the car.
Or wait until your husband is not home. Take the dress out of the closet. Punch hundreds of tiny holes in it. Spill some tea on it. Put on a look of surprise and disappointment and tell your husband you took the dress out of the closet to get it dry cleaned only to discover that it has been bug-eaten and water-stained. (You might have to pour some tea on other clothes in your closet to make the water-stain story convincing.) Cry. But then throw the dress away.
Disclaimer: Use sitcom solutions at your own risk.
Good luck, and thanks for the question!
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Image courtesy of Two Stout Monks at Flickr.