3 WAYS WITH MUM’S DRESS

Th­ese ladies de­cided to ditch the “some­thing new” and walk down the aisle in “some­thing old” – and very close to their hearts – in­stead…

Cosmopolitan Bride (Australia) - - THE LOOK -

Five years ago in April 2011, as the world was get­ting ready to watch Prince Wil­liam and Kate Mid­dle­ton’s royal wed­ding, I de­cided to try on my late mum’s wed­ding dress. Wear­ing her gown, I knew that one day I wanted to be mar­ried in a clas­sic long-sleeved lace gown my­self.

My mum passed away when I was 17 af­ter a two-year bat­tle with brain cancer, which was very dif­fi­cult for me. I’m the youngest of eight chil­dren, and was the last to be mar­ried in my fam­ily.

My hus­band Nick and I were set up on a blind date on Box­ing Day in 2013, just be­fore my 24th birth­day. Ex­actly one year later, we were mar­ried in a lit­tle chapel by the sea in Duns­bor­ough, West­ern Aus­tralia – the same lo­ca­tion where we had our first date.

I de­cided it would be a trib­ute to my mum to in­cor­po­rate her wed­ding dress into mine, so I hand-picked the lace off the cuffs and the bodice of her gown. I wanted to feel like I had a part of her with me on my spe­cial day.

Soon af­ter, I met with a dress­maker who spe­cialises in bridal­wear. She re­ally un­der­stood my vi­sion, so I let her use her in­spi­ra­tion and form a dress that would make my mum’s lace the fea­ture.

Nick never had the chance to meet my mum, and ob­vi­ously didn’t see the dress un­til I was walk­ing down the aisle, but he thought the idea of us­ing her lace would make it so mean­ing­ful.

I never imag­ined my mum wouldn’t be at my wed­ding, but I de­cided to make the trib­ute a pos­i­tive one.

HAN­NAH MARTIN, 26, PAID TRIB­UTE TO HER LATE MUM BY IN­COR­PO­RAT­ING THE LACE FROM HER WED­DING GOWN INTO HER OWN

Through the dress, I felt her spirit by my side the whole day. It was very com­fort­ing, but also so emo­tional.

I loved that I was wear­ing some­thing so timeless that was once worn by my mother when she mar­ried my fa­ther in 1970, six weeks af­ter he re­turned from the Viet­nam War. A lot of my mum’s and dad’s friends were at our wed­ding; they told me she would’ve been proud. I think lots of women se­cretly keep their wed­ding dress and hope their daugh­ter will one day wear it, but most of the time the style goes out of fash­ion.

Ev­ery day, I look at the close-up por­trait of Mum on her wed­ding day. She looks so beau­ti­ful! It in­spired me to ask my pho­tog­ra­pher on my own big day to do a close-up por­trait. Now, I can place them side by side for­ever.

My best ad­vice to brides is to find some­thing you re­ally love about a fam­ily heir­loom – even if it’s just the veil – and in­cor­po­rate it into the day. Trust me, you won’t re­gret it.

Ini­tially, I dreaded the thought of go­ing out to buy a wed­ding dress. I came home from work one day and said to Mum, “I have an idea about the dress I’d like to wear.” “You could wear mine,” she replied jok­ingly, but it was ex­actly what I was think­ing.

For­tu­nately for me, im­me­di­ately af­ter Mum’s wed­ding day back in 1981, my grand­mother had her dress dry-cleaned and boxed, so it was in vir­tu­ally brand-new con­di­tion, even af­ter all those years. I tried it on to check the fit – and it was per­fect.

Mum was re­ally happy and even got a bit teary.

How­ever, there were a few changes I wanted to make. The col­lar was a lit­tle re­stric­tive, so it needed to go. Then we re­placed the 34-yearold zip­per, so that we wouldn’t have any dra­mas on the day, and in­serted a hoop, which was some­thing Mum wished she had done her­self. All of the al­ter­ations were done by the won­der­ful de­signer Diana Toscano (toscanobri­dal.com.au),

IT ONLY TOOK EL­LIE McGILL, 27, A FEW AL­TER­ATIONS TO TURN HER MUM’S WED­DING GOWN INTO HER OWN DREAM STYLE

“I FELT SO HON­OURED TO WEAR THE SAME GOWN MY MOTHER HAD WORN OVER 30 YEARS AGO”

who also made a new veil and headpiece to match the ex­ist­ing lace. Al­ter­ing a wed­ding gown is trick­ier than start­ing out from scratch, but she was ex­tremely skil­ful and care­ful with the ma­te­rial.

My hus­band, Pa­trick, and I had a tra­di­tional church wed­ding. The dress was per­fect for the af­ter­noon cer­e­mony, but I wanted to put my own twist on it for the even­ing. So, for the re­cep­tion, I re­moved the lace bolero to re­veal a beau­ti­ful love­heart bodice. Diana also made me a jew­elled waist belt. Some guests thought I’d changed into a new dress be­cause it looked so dif­fer­ent!

I felt hon­oured to wear the same gown my mother had worn. Pa­trick loved the idea, too. In fact, he’d done some­thing sim­i­lar. His dad had kept Pa­trick’s late mother’s en­gage­ment ring, so when Pa­trick told his fa­ther he was go­ing to pro­pose to me, his dad gave the ring to him. It was such a beau­ti­ful ges­ture and meant so much to both of us.

If you want to pass your dress on to your daugh­ter one day, the best ad­vice I can give is to get it dry-cleaned straight away; it’s the only rea­son I was able to ac­tu­ally wear my mum’s dress. She was told by her own mother to dry-clean it ASAP… and thank good­ness she did!

Ial­ways used to dress up in Mum’s dress when I was lit­tle and knew that one day I’d wear it for real.

It’s very sen­ti­men­tal to me and my mum was re­ally happy that I wore it on my wed­ding day. She bought it from the House of Franke Stu­art back in 1982, a shop in Mel­bourne that was known for its beau­ti­ful lace.

I was re­ally lucky: my mum had kept her dress in beau­ti­ful con­di­tion by stor­ing it in a cam­phor-wood chest.

My mum and I took it to a friend of a friend who’s a wed­ding dress­maker. We de­cided we should take out the lace from around the neck and the sleeves, and lower the back, too.

Orig­i­nally, I didn’t think to have it short­ened, but when I tried the dress on be­fore the wed­ding, it didn’t feel quite right, so we had it taken up. In fact, af­ter the al­ter­ations, my mum said she’d have liked to have worn the fin­ished re­sult on her own big day! Also, my daugh­ter Poppy was eight months old when my hus­band, Ter­rence, and I got mar­ried, so we used the ma­te­rial that had been cut off to make her flower-girl dress.

My hus­band is very much like me and likes op shops and sec­ond-hand things, so he loved the dress and the fact it was my mum’s. He said he knew for a long time that I was go­ing to wear it – I must have spo­ken about it be­fore we even got en­gaged!

It was so spe­cial to wear my mum’s dress on my wed­ding day. Although I didn’t change it a lot, peo­ple can get re­ally cre­ative with this sort of thing.

Mum’s since put the dress back in the cam­phor-wood chest. I’d love for Poppy to wear it one day!

EMILY HAMIL­TON, 31, AL­WAYS KNEW SHE’D WEAR HER MUM’S DRESS, SO SHE GAVE IT A MODERN TWIST FOR HER BIG DAY

Far left: Han­nah in her big-day gown, which paid trib­ute to her mum’s dress (near left). Right: with hus­band Nick.

Pho­tog­ra­phy by Alyce & Co­lette (alyce­and co­lette.com).

Above: Emily’s mum in her orig­i­nal gown and (right) the up­dated ver­sion. Be­low: Poppy also got a dress out of it! Pho­tog­ra­phy by Amy Cameron/Red Finch Pho­tog­ra­phy

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