One of my clients recently asked, 'What do I do with my gown once the wedding is over?"
I suggested she might display the gown in her living room or bedroom on a dress form. I was glad she liked the idea because it roused the spark in me to develop an ongoing series about that, 'What's next?' question all you brides are asking.
Okay, so, let's start with the display idea. Display is actually one way of storing a gown as a soft furnishing that everyone sees. If you have room in your home and are open to a new and unique way of creating a decorating statement, go for it. Displaying your gown on dress form makes for great conversation when folks come over to visit. It also looks pretty. These photos display different ways of arranging a dress form as well as giving you other display ideas. Take into mind these come out of French Nest, a trendy design/antique store here in San Anselmo. The two women who put these displays up are tops in their field and I'm constantly learning from them.

If you have an interesting or antique pair of shoes and don't plan on wearing them anytime soon try this . . .

Not just your bridal jewelry can go on this kind of display.

A fine example of separates dressing (and display). This bodice is actually a Chantilly lace blouse worn over a strapless gown. Can you imagine this stunner New Years Eve over a cami with a black velvet skirt?

This eyelet dress can work well as reusable bridal attire.
Because my clients have been looking for more options on recycling their gowns post wedding, donating or incorporating it into everyday wear is becoming more the eco-conscious thing than storing it in a box. Keep in mind you do have the option of choosing a design you can re-wear. Working your gown into your wardrobe can mean planning separates, elements that can be customized and transformed as double duty pieces. Maybe you’re into cotton and linen. A cotton eyelet dress or linen suit can work well as reusable bridal attire. If you’re drawn to simpler silhouettes in functional fabrics like wool and silk jersey this works too. Knowing how to work a veil with some opera length gloves and the right shoes can really pull a simple dress into a ‘bridal look’. Consequently, the more practical you are, (as opposed to sentimental) the more likely you are to re-wear your gown.

Working your gown into your wardrobe can mean planning separates. This is actually a tulle skirt paired with a white jersey tank top
photo by jellyandtoast

Bassinets in particular intrigue me, they keep the gown sentiment going as a story told through laces and silk. The bulk of the skirt wraps around the bassinet and your veil hangs as a head draping. If you wore a tiara you’ve created a real fairy tale. I’ve actually known brides who have fashioned table runners out of galloons of lace removed from hemlines; others lined shelves in china cabinets with smaller pieces. And don’t laugh. The skirts of some gowns have made some of the most gorgeous tablecloths I’ve ever seen.. Last season a client brought me an exquisite antique tablecloth and asked me to fashion her wedding gown out of it. I was awestruck. First by the cloth. It was an allover and rare Cluny Lace. Ten years ago this would have been considered by most as ‘chintzing it’ on your wedding day whereas these days it is not only applauded but even considered a sentimental gesture—in my client’s case—the tablecloth was lovingly left to her by her great-grandmother.