Every girl dreams of her wedding day. You hear this phrase so often, from so many brides-to-be, about how they have dreamed of their perfect day, the perfect dress, what it would all look like, the whole nine yards, even right down to knowing how they wanted their hair to be styled years in advance.
Not me. Sure, I always wanted to get married, but I never really dreamed about what my wedding day would look like.
I dreamed of the marriage. Of what it would be like waking up next to someone every day. Of what it would feel like to be with the same person for five years, ten years, thirty years and beyond. I wanted to be that couple that walked down the street together hand in hand when they were forty because they still loved one another, even after being together for ten or more years, and still wanted to be close.
So it’s no surprise to discover that when my now husband proposed and we began planning for our wedding, I wasn’t overly enthused about it. I didn’t want a fuss, I just wanted a few people around us who we loved dearly to share in what I knew would be one of the more important moments of my life: saying my wedding vows.
We got married at an Irish pub, and it was a brilliant day. Love and laughter were the things that I cared about the most, and when I look back now almost six years later, that is still what I remember about it. My smile wasn’t for the perfect flowers, or how well the cake was decorated, or the photos that were taken. I remember the people.
So when I tell you how much I loved my wedding dress, please, not even for a second can it be underestimated how much it means for me to I say I loved it. It was me all over, from the simplicity of it, to the broad strokes of colour that ran through it.
And yesterday, without hesitation or even a second of remorse, I gave it away.
I know a few of you are screaming out there at the moment, stunned that any woman would do such a thing rather than hold on to it for their daughter. Well, my husband and I are childless, and always will be. Maybe one day I’ll tell you why, but right now, that isn’t important.
I could never have thrown my wedding dress out. It was too beautiful, and quite frankly it would have been a hideous waste of money to do so. I thought about selling it, but the notion of parting with it to a stranger was one I couldn’t reconcile. It was my dress, not one that could be sullied by some unknown person wearing it who might not love it the way I believe it deserved. Neither could I give it to a charity store. While there are many worthy charities out there, I just couldn’t quite bear the thought of parting with my dress to any of them. And as for those trash the dress images that some brides choose to do, the thought quite literally made me ill.
So for six years it sat without a purpose. Untouched, but never unloved.
Then with thanks to a friend, I found the perfect charity. Bridie’s Blossoms and Blessings is based here on the north-west coast of Tasmania where I live, and was established to honour the memory of a little girl who gained her angel wings too early. They take wedding dresses and turn them into all manner of different things that are then passed on to local hospitals for families who have lost their own child all too soon. What they do is nothing short of amazing. The quality of their work is astounding, and they do this all by choice, giving of themselves and their time.
My wedding dress found a new home, and I know it is going to be pulled apart, cut up and used in a myriad of ways that I may never know what for, and I love that fact. The dress that I once so loved, and do still love, has a higher purpose.
And as for that husband of mine and I? Well, his hands are now gnarled and grown crooked due to severe arthritis, but at his ripe of old age of 43, and with me now only weeks off turning 40, I’m pleased to say we still walk down the street, hand in hand.