Why is this stuff still taking up closet space?

Sue at My Party of Six is on a campaign to decrapify her house. In today’s post, she made a comment about throwing away a bunch of VHS tapes, because who has a VCR anymore? (Besides my sister. Everyone say Hi, Bets!)

This made me think of our recent move to PA and then the move back to Maryland six months later.  As we stuffed our things back into the boxes from which they had only recently been removed, the absurdity of dragging stuff  back to Maryland that we had just hauled to Pennsylvania really hit home. I went on a purging frenzy, chucking (among many other things) a bunch of VHS tapes that the kids had either outgrown or watched until the tracking got all messed up. In my zeal, I nearly discarded our wedding video, but I retrieved it from the trash heap, sealed it into a Ziploc bag, labeled it, and, um, packed it into a box so we could move it. Again.

I didn’t even want a video of our wedding. Professional photographs, of course. But who really needs a professionally-edited video keepsake with photo transitions choreographed to some sappy love song? No one, that’s who.  Better to put that money towards a kick-ass reception. Still, almost as an afterthought, my uncle volunteered to set up their video camera in the church balcony and film away. Why not, I said.

And I was happy I agreed, because it’s actually kind of a kick to watch. There are a couple of priceless moments. There’s me, practically running down the aisle.  Zzzzoooooom! There’s me, blubbering through my vows because GAH! I am such the crier.  There’s Elsa, our fantastic soloist, the friend at whose birthday party we met.  And there’s Curt’s brother, who was his best man, lounging during the prayer, his elbow propped on the railing. (MATTHEW! STAND UP!)

We no longer have a working VCR. What do I do with this video? Or, for that matter, all of the ones we shot 8-10 years ago, when our older two sons were little, on our video camera? I should pay someone to convert them to DVD, I guess. Maybe post them on YouTube. I’ll add that to The List.

Meg and Curt, October 2, 1993
Meg and Curt, October 2, 1993

Then there’s the wedding dress I’ve been carting around since 1993. It has taken up precious closet space in three different states. I had it preserved after the wedding, and it’s still sealed in its box today. No point getting it out. First, I’ve outgrown it. Second, I have THREE BOYS. I can’t imagine them wanting it except maybe for some future fraternity prank or Halloween costume, and frankly, that just doesn’t seem right.

My mom had two daughters and she kept her dress. It was in our attic with some other vintage attire of hers, and we used to play dress-up in it. Still, neither of us ended up wearing it for our own weddings. It was teeny-tiny and didn’t fit me. Plus, it was classic 1960s, and that just wasn’t the look in the early 1990s.

So, what do do with my gown? Sell it? Consign it? (Nah.) Have it altered and start wearing it to work???

A few months back, Jean wrote about her own wedding dress dilemma on the DC Metro Moms blog. She ended up donating hers. I’ll have to ponder that for a while longer; I’m just not ready to do that. (Neither was Party of 6 Sue.) Still, the idea is intriguing.

That portrait of us on our wedding day? It’s framed and sitting on a dresser in our bedroom.  I look at it daily and, more and more, marvel at how young we were.  It makes me remember the promises we willingly made then and still strive to honor. It makes me smile to remember one of the most fantastic days ever. (Our reception really did kick ass.) And it’s probably the only wedding memento I need to be hauling around anymore. But until I can part with the dress and the video cassette? That portrait has good company.

So, tell me, if you’ve ever been married – what’s become of your wedding gown?

(Of course I’m asking the ladies. Guys, we know you returned your tuxedo the day after the wedding. It should be so easy for us girls.)

25 thoughts on “Why is this stuff still taking up closet space?

  1. I heard about someone who had her dress fabric made into the pillow that a ring bearer uses, and they passed it around the family. i gave mine to a local struggling community playhouse, along with a few of my 1960’s vintage cocktail dresses for their costume department. You could always sell it on eBay. It is silk, isn’t it? Gosh, it’s a pretty dress.

  2. Hm. My wedding dress is…… huh. It might be in a closet at my in-laws’ house! Or, god forbid, in their old farm house that no one lives in. Yikes! Geez. Where is my wedding dress??? I have no intention of getting rid of it. It was hand-made.

    I also have photos of my own wedding and of yours in a place where we can see them every day. Jae loves to look at them. “You were in HER wedding, and SHE was in YOUR wedding!!” It took him a while to recognize the much younger version of all of us, but he gets it now.

    We also toted around through several moves a wedding video that we never watched, until this past anniversary (16) when we finally dug it out. Like you, we didn’t plan to have it recorded, but someone offered. Everyone’s walk down the aisle can be seen except mine! Everyone standing up blocked the way. My favorite thing about it was seeing again several dear friends and relatives who are no longer with us. Why not hang onto it?

  3. My wedding dress is in my parent’s attic…all the way across the country!!

    Believe me – no one in their right mind would want to wear this thing unless they were going to a late 80’s wedding themed party! You should see the puffy sleeves on it! Oy!!

    Maybe next time I am in California visiting them, I ‘ll take it our for some laughs!!

  4. I’m on second marriage, and we snuck away to Reno. I wore maternity pants and a halfway-nice shirt. Maternity pants have since been donated to Goodwill, but the shirt is in my closet.
    First marriage was a church wedding. I think my dress is at my mom’s house somewhere. It was beautiful. I can’t decide if I should try to hang onto it for my girls or not, since it was not from my wedding to their father. I ponder that once in a while…

  5. Curt:: And before you started pumping the collagen out of your face so that the wrinkles would magically appear prematurely.

  6. Just re-read this piece, and was reminded of your charge down the aisle, like Brunhilde (or was it Grendl?) in the ‘Flight of the Valkyrie’ . (Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit. . . ) Remember when we joked that it would be a good processional, and I commented on the local woman who married late in life , and who chose as her recessional the Halleluia Chorus. Cracked us up.

  7. Wow, look at all the comments! Will probably not be able to respond to all until Saturday, but check back because respond I will.

  8. Mom- I have heard of that too and like the idea, but am not sure I could bring myself to take scissors to that dress. Not yet, anyway. Yes, it was lovely, and I think a classic design, not all that dated. I have thought about trying to sell it.

    Bets – you better find that dress! But SRSLY, what will you do with it? I do want to keep the wedding video butg at this point can’t watch it unless I get it copied over to DVD. Or, maybe, I can just come to your place to watch it??

    Curt – oh come on, you don’t look a day over 42.

    Rachael – but wouldn’t that make for a hilarious party theme? Wear your wedsding dress! Why not??

    ptooie – that’s a tough one; in your case, I would probably give the girls first right of refusal, then donate the dress. That way at least someone can benefit from it.

    CBW – I’d love to hear about both, but you didn’t answer the question, where are the dresses???

    Megan – I’d hold onto that one, too.

    Mom (again) – It was Brunhilde and had my word count not exceeded 700 I would have put that in as a side note. I LO VE Hallelujah Chorus as a recessional! Perfect in that case.

  9. Your Aunt Doll and Uncle Bill renewed their vows on their 25th anniversary and she wore the dress. It still fit. (In the meantime I had outgrown my flower girl dress.) Same minister, too.– your Aunt Annie’s dad.

  10. For us, I wish that we did splurge the $750 on the videographer so that I could have a video of me blubbering down the isle, the two best men’s speaches, our vows, the blazing fire in the fire place,… and to see video of our family and friends (several of whom have passed). As for video transfer to DVD there was a company in Arlington, VA (Crystal City)that did that, so I would transfer it. My wedding dress (with accessories) is still hanging in my closet. I like the idea of making something out of it, such as the pillow, a quilt or teddy bears (groom and bride). I think Scott actually still has his tux, so perhaps making something with both would be cool and can be passed on to the next generation.

  11. Mom – I remember that and have photos of her wearing it! Didn’t I wear your flower girl dress? Or was it a facsimile?

    Karin – you guys had a lovely wedding. And of COURSE Scott still has his tux! We all laughed at him buying one, and then Curt borrowed it a couple of times. He finally bought one of his own and has gotten more than his money’s worth out of it.

  12. Meg – we, too, continue to move my wedding dress around the country. Nate’s joke is that since I had it sealed and can’t/won’t open it that when we eventually do it will be stuffed w/ paper or someone else’s dress… While I think it is a classic design I really can’t imagine Syd choosing to wear it (except for dress up!) but I just can imagine parting w/ it!
    PS – Happy Saturday!!!

  13. You are right ! I had forgotten that you wore my flower girl dress for the renewal festivities. I think Grandma made that dress. I think it’s packed away somewhere, as I can’t imagine myself parting with it readily. I know it’s only a “thing”, but even so. . . ( snerf . I’m getting all verklempt) I’ll ask Aunt Doll. Why don’t you have your gown cleaned and preserved and put in a box? That’s what I did – a gazillion years ago. Not sure about the headpiece. It’s probably with Bets’ ensemble, since she used it and just put on a new veil. Bets?

  14. My first wedding “dress” was a cream colored suit that was WAY too old looking for me as a 26 year old bride. I bought it at JCPenney’s-right off the mannequin. What was I thinking? Oh, that’s right, I was in love and it didn’t matter what I was wearing. It has a place of honor in a landfill somewhere.

    Fast forward to 10 years later……My second dress was a vision of chiffon and simplicity and made me feel like a Princess without looking like an idiot. It hung by a nail in a plastic zip bag with a big slash in the bottom in our garage the first year we moved into our house in Maine. A few months ago, I decided after 4 years the stains were set in pretty good and that it might be time to actually dry clean the thing. Surprisingly, it came out good as new.

    It now hangs from the light fixture (because it’s too long to hang on the regular clothing rod) in the office closet in the dry cleaning bag on a wire hanger.

    But honestly, you don’t need to keep the dress; you need to keep your memories and your husband!

  15. Lori – I’ve been saying the same thing. How would I even know it’s my dress in there??

    Mom – see above. It is in a box. I mean, I assume IT is in the box.

    Richelle – crack me up, I never knew about the suit for #1! Glad the stains came out of #2. And you are right, it’s *only* a dress, and a generation from now, probably no one will care. But still. I’m reluctant to part with it.

  16. Ha! Yeah, I just now found that part before I tuned in down below, here. I just got off the phone with Aunt Doll, and the flower girl dress was made by a woman from town whose daughter was the other flower girl.

  17. My gown is now residing on a shelf in my closet (in MY it was in the basement). I have no idea if it is even my gown since the box does not have a window in it. What to do with it? My Great-grandmother made a baptismal outfit from hers. Complete with long tee-shirt, gown, cap, and coat. It is just gorgeous. Both Kevin and Ian were baptized in this outfit. I think my niece and nephew were too. It’s so old now that it is starting to fall apart. The poor thing is just tired from so many one nighters. Maybe I should have mine put to good use for my grandkids in like 20 years.

  18. I forgot about the video. Mike is currently digitizing all of our vhs memories. We bought some kind of gizmo from the Apple store and an new external hard drive. Those videos of the boys as babies sure take up huge amounts of space.

  19. Shelly – I love the idea of a baptismal gown. Maybe for my grandbabies. I have looked into digitizing equipment but it seems a little pricey… but it’s on the Master List of Things I Gotta Do.

  20. Meg, send the video to me and I’ll do it for you here at work. That’s one of the things we do — VHS transfer. I’m serious, I’ll do it for you. E-mail me.

    If you decide to find a place locally, look under Video Transfer, probably. You might check with small production companies or ad agencies; if you find a service that makes its living doing it, it will likely cost you $25 each or so. We charge $8.00 per finished DVD plus tax because it’s not our primary source of income, and there’s almost no cost involved at all, so why fleece the public?

    Gosh, a book — sorry. Beautiful photo!

    — Laurie

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