I’m am about to venture into dangerous territory. It is territory that is doubly dangerous because it has to do with women’s fashions, AND weddings, two areas where men should never seek to render any opinion whatsoever. I don’t know if it helps to point out that the idea I am about to brook came from a woman, but in case it helps, I offer this character witness on my behalf.
Even more dangerously I am going to suggest something about THE most critical aspect of wedding fashions: “The Dress,” as in, “The WEDDING DRESS.” Yes, I must go delicately into that world “where no man has gone before….” 😉
Yet there is a tradition about the wedding dress that is so beautiful and moving that I felt I had to share it. Some of you may say, “Oh Father, we have done that for generations in my family.” But I had never heard of it, and though I am not the most savvy and informed, I suggest that others have not heard it either.
The tradition I speak of is that of taking the wedding gown and, instead of packing it away in some trunk, the gown is converted to baptismal robes or gowns for the children that will come. In some cases, where there is a lot of fabric, several gowns for children can be made. In the case of simpler wedding gowns with less flowing folds etc, one baptismal gown (or robe) is made to be worn by all the children who will come.
What a beautiful tradition (it seems to me) that links the wedding and the marriage to blessed pro-creation and to the gift of children. Weddings are a day when we celebrate love, beauty and attraction. And the wedding gown celebrates these powerfully. And yet love, beauty and the attraction of the spouses for each other is meant to bear fruit, the fruit of children. Yes, children are the fruit of the marital love that is celebrated on the wedding day. How fitting it seems, that the dress that signals love, marriage, beauty and attraction, should become the fabric of the baptismal robes for the children, who are the holy fruit of that love.
I can see that such an idea may not always be possible. Some women do not, in fact, purchase a special dress just for the wedding. Back in 1959, when my mother was married, it was not uncommon for women to rent a gown or to wear a gown passed down from their mother or a friend. The photo at the upper right is of my mother in a wedding dress, a dress that she and several other of her friends had passed down, with necessary alterations.
But these days most brides tell me that they buy their own wedding dress. The costs some of them quote to me, scare me, especially since the dress will only be worn once. I understand now why, in the old days, dresses were often handed down, from mother to daughter or from close friend to close friend.
But for those who own their wedding dress and wear it only once, what do you think of the possibility of converting it to a baptismal gown or robe for your children? I think it is a beautiful thought, but I am just “some dude.” I can almost hear some women now reaching over to pat my hand and say, “Oh Father, you’re such a dear, but you really have no idea of what you speak. Leave such topics to the experts and stay in your own lane.”
And yet I really do wonder what many of you think. It seems quite a beautiful thought to me. How say you ??
Here are some very nice and modest wedding dresses (but what do I know, I’m just some dude).