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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Dress (by Amy)

Returning from our blogging slumber!  The wedding is over, our guests are gone, and we've had a few days to recover...

Something that added a little stress but also excitement to the wedding planning was keeping my dress a surprise from friends and family - even my mom!  I had wanted to buy a used dress because reusing is one of the greenest actions we can take, especially with an item like a wedding dress that is usually worn once and then stored for eternity until it eventually ends up in a consignment shop or landfill.  There are now many websites dedicated to helping brides find used items which not only reduce the eco-impact of your big day, but also save you some money!  A great combination.  A few of the sites are:

I mentioned this in one of our GWG update blogs, but despite my best efforts, I was unable to find a used wedding dress in time for our July 10th ceremony.  We were so busy with the contest that I had no time to look beforehand, and then when we found out we'd won, our wedding was only 3 months away!  There are many used dresses out there, but you have time and geographic constraints to deal with.  Add to that physical measurement constraints.  I'm 5'9" tall and all the dresses I found within my geographic area (I wanted to try the dress on before purchasing to be sure it fit) were hemmed for women that were at least 2-3 inches shorter than me. Or they were size 2... which I am not.  So as time slipped away I bit the bullet and decided that while I loved, loved, LOVED the concept of wearing a pre-owned dress, it just wasn't practical for my circumstances.  So I hit the stores and found a gorgeous gown that was new to the market and, unbeknownst to me before buying it, was apparently becoming quite popular on various wedding websites.

Photo by Deb Cram
Photo by Deb Cram
Photo by Deb Cram
It has a LOT of fabric, none of it natural or made in an environmentally responsible manner, I'm sure (please don't give me grief about this - I feel bad as it is!). However, now that the big day has come and gone, here's where I can add my shade of green.

First, I'm going to try selling it.  In fact, tonight I created my first post to sell the dress, so we'll see how I do. We could certainly use the extra money, so that's a plus, but also, as much as I loved this dress, I know I will NEVER WEAR IT AGAIN.  Never. NEVER.  That's right, ladies, I said it.  And I know that if I have a daughter she won't be caught dead wearing my dress because fashions change and also, what are the odds she has the same physical build as me? Consider that I'm 3 inches taller than my mom and my sister is 7 inches shorter than me.  Lastly, I don't really want to hold this bulky item in storage for the next ~30 years until that very hypothetical day of my hypothetical daughter wearing it.  Sure, maybe someone else I know will want to wear it before that time, but fashions change so quickly, the best way to make sure this dress gets used again is to unload it on another bride, now, while the design is still popular.  So here we go, my first official post on Recycled Bride.  Feel free to share or let me know if you're interested.  If I fail to sell it in a reasonable amount of time, I'll be donating it to Brides Against Breast Cancer (or do you know another noble charity suggestion?).

Second, as long as the buyer of my dress is not picky about price, I'm going to use a green dry-cleaning service that I just found in my area.  I haven't talked to them yet about the cost of their bridal gown cleaning/preserving, but I'm excited to learn that I might have a green option here in suburbia.  The dry-cleaning industry creates a ton of environmental pollution, and the chemicals are not good for your health, either.  I try to avoid dry-cleaning as much as possible, but there are some things (like wedding dresses) that just don't have an alternative.  Anyway, I hope these folks (Green Apple Cleaners) pan out and don't charge a ridiculous amount for their services.

P.S. - the beautiful sash and hair pin I wore with the dress were made by the super talented Gwendolyn Gleason of Eco-Chic Couture.  Her work IS eco-friendly, so I'm guilt free there  :)

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