Monique Bowley: "Why I sold my wedding dress to a Mamamia podcast listener."

It was the wedding dress that almost didn’t happen.

I’d wanted something classic; a simple sheath dress. No fluff. No frills. Nothing fancy.

But after a botched job on a bespoke one (it happens more than brides like to admit), I found myself without a dress, with my wedding less than two weeks away.

(Anyone reading this who hasn’t walked down the aisle can’t see the problem. ‘It’s a bloody dress’, they say. ‘Just pop into David Jones after work one night and grab something white’. That was me, too. I tried that, girlfriend. I’m here to report back; it is not a thing).

Not a thing at all.

I made a last-minute mercy dash to a store in Melbourne. The women there flew into action. My options were: sequins! (modern) lace! (fussy) or just what-ever-the-hell fit because shitballs, it will have to do.

I grabbed one. Sample size. Slipped into it and turned to  the mirror toassess.

It was a perfect fit.

It was incredibly comfortable.

It was the right length.

It was NOTHING I would ever wear in my entire life. I said "Yes to the Dress", bagged it up, and got out of there.


Of course, I warned people ahead of time. "It's not really the dress I wanted" I said morosely to people who I mistakenly thought gave a shit. "It just had to do."

But then, on the day, when I put it on, I took one look in the mirror, and my God.

It might have been the professional hair and makeup. It might have been the Moet. It might have been knowing that I was about to marry another human, but that dress. THAT DRESS.

I loved myself sick in that dress.


After it was ripped off me in the honeymoon suite delicately bagged back up, I went on honeymoon, beforegoing back to work with the full smug glow of someone who ate nothing but cheese and red wine for three weeks.

I talked about my wedding for about one minute on the Mamamia Out Loud podcast (mainly because I don't think it a marriage is an achievement in life and I hate the way it's put on a pedestal as something women should tick off to be complete. I didn't want it to be a big deal).

And then an email pinged into my inbox from a listener.

"You mentioned you were going to sell your dress" it started.

Did I?

Was I?

She wanted a second-hand dress. She wanted my dress.

Let's take the opportunity to have another look at the dress:

People tell me all the time "I feel like you're my friend".

And I've always considered the podcast to be a second home for women to bond, help each other out to think about the issues of the day more deeply, laugh, and tell each other secrets.


But giving my wedding dress to a listener? Crikey. I wasn't expecting that.

"I respect that a new, unavoidably expensive dress is important to a lot of brides but it's not for me. It never has been." she explained.

"When I started to question who I was, potentially spending thousands of dollars on a piece of clothing I can only wear once, I couldn't answer I thought 'f that'. Who made that rule?!!"

She wanted the dress. I wanted to hug her for her sensible approach to an event that can strip you of your sanity and your cash money very, very quickly.

"Sure," I said.

We swapped details and she came to my house with her sister.

I opened the door to a woman who couldn't have had a more different body type. She was probably a foot shorter than me. Curvy. Boobs she described as 'bad boys that needed to be contained'. We looked at each other and had the same thought:

'There is no way she will fit this dress'.

She slipped the dress on.

It fit.

She, too. looked like a mirror ball of love. (A mirror ball of love who needed probably half a metre taken off the bottom, but still...)

Be cool - I asked permission to use this.

She said Yes to the Dress, bagged it up, we hugged, and she got out of there.


And did I feel sad? Yeah.

For about two minutes.

And then I rubbed the cash all over my body and that made me feel a lot better.

Besides, the new dress owner said it the best. She said with the money she saved on buying a second-hand wedding dress will be spent on her honeymoon experiences; The theatre in London, a boat ride in Malta, amazeballs cheese in Paris, pizza in Brooklyn, and surfing lessons in LA.

Nice one.

So I copied her idea and with the money I made on SELLING my wedding dress, we went on an extra, beachy honeymoon weekend in coastal Victoria.

Yep. Stretch that honeymoon period out as long as poss.

The very best part, though, is that the new-dress wearer says after her April wedding, she will sell again.

I hope its to another podcast listener. And the cycle can continue. Because there is something about that dress. The sequins. The sisterhood. The sensibility of second hand.

And secretly, I want it to be the sisterhood of the traveling wedding dress.

Mamamia Out Loud is the weekly podcast with what women are talking about. It's quite the community. Come join. Subscribe in iTunes, or the Mamamia Podcast App, or listen to the latest episode here: