Three weeks after my wedding I deposited a large bundle of white silk into my dry cleaner’s arms, told her “do your best” with the inch deep red wine stain that spanned the entire hem … and ran. When I picked it up she’d worked some serious magic. I was amazed the dress I’d so thoroughly trashed could be returned to its former glory.
I then expressed my appreciation by taking it home and hanging it unceremoniously on the back of the spare room door.
Over the next nine years it would move house (and spare room doors) with me three times. And each time I’d regard it with some puzzlement because I had no plans to ‘do anything’ with it. Yet, the ruthless de-clutterer in me wasn’t able to let it go either.
Why do women hang on to their wedding dresses?
"It's hanging in my wardrobe wrapped in dry cleaner plastic."
"It's in the cupboard all boxed up. It's moved house with us four times."
"I got married 15 years ago, divorced 10 years ago and still have mine. Not sure why."
Like every writer, when I was researching this piece, I turned to Facebook. And the above is a pretty accurate representation of the responses over 100 women gave me to the question: "Where is your wedding dress right now?"
So why do almost all of us hang on to a dress we know with complete certainty we will never wear again?
The fact it represents one of the happiest days of our lives is high on the list. We can't bring ourselves to let go of something that embodies such wonderful memories.
Another common reason women give for holding on to their wedding dress for decades is wanting to pass it on to their daughters. Err ... I’m not sure what the go is with that. To me, it smells of “I don't know what I want to do with this but I can't bring myself to give it away, so I'm going to make it your problem, dear daughter.”
And of course there is the cost of the darn thing. Many women cite the fact that "it's the most expensive piece of clothing I will ever own" as their reason for consigning it to a life of anonymity in the back of a cupboard.
And you know what? Whether I agree with them or not, these are all good enough reasons to hang on to your wedding dress.
You know what's not a good reason? "I don't know why I still have it, but can't bring myself to get rid of it."