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I didn't plan out my entire wedding as a young girl, but for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to wear my mother's wedding dress. I get mixed responses when I divulge this to people. Many an “Aww, how sweet, but I would never do that!” When I mention the dress is from 1983, the height of the puffy-shoulder era, people start to look sorry for me, and ask if my mother is pressuring me into wearing it. Not the case at all!

When I would mention to my parents my desire to wear the dress, they told me not to get my hopes up, and expressed concern over whether I would fit into my mother's tiny gown.

So, when I actually got engaged and told my mom that I wanted to try the dress on when I came home for Christmas, she got a little antsy. She was terrified that the dress – hermetically sealed in 1984 and unopened for 26 years – would be yellowed, full of holes, dusty, moth-eaten or disintegrated. And too small. She even went so far as to borrow a modern, shiny-white strapless bedazzled affair of a gown from a family friend whose daughter recently wed, in an attempt to console me when her dress inevitably did not work out.

Mother's Wedding Dress Mother's Wedding Dress Mother's Wedding Dress

As it turns out, (and as I knew all along!) this was unneeded. I opened up the box, unsealed it, pulled the dress out and the rest is blissful history! The dress is perfect! It has not a single hole or bit of disintegration. And guess what? It has to be taken in! It was a ton of fun trying it on with my whole family there over Christmas. My sister helped me zip it up and arranged my train, just as she will on my wedding day. Even the veil that my mother handmade to match the dress was there in good condition.

So, another frugal success on the dress front… so what's the damage going to be?

$0 for the dress and veil

$395 on alteration, veil repair, bustle and pressing for the dress

Not too shabby! Now I just have to find shoes and earrings… Any advice on a wedding-day look for a gal with ten 14 gauge holes in her ears, including an industrial and an orbital??

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About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

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