I recently made a wedding dress for my niece. It brought me a lot of joy to make the dress. As she stood there in full regalia (dress, jewelry, veil, and shoes), we both cried. She had suddenly grown up. She was beautiful and she was ready to take that journey down the aisle, heading into her future with the man she loved.
I have many young women in my family, nieces, cousins and a daughter of my own. Throughout their lives I make those important dresses: holiday dresses, graduation dresses, debutante gowns, prom dresses, college formals, bridesmaid dresses and wedding gowns. I never thought about it before but I guess, as you get older you become more sentimental. I suddenly realized that the wedding dress is the last dress I ever make for them, and suddenly melancholy came over me.
I understand now from where the sadness comes. It comes from the relationship that deepens over the weeks in which the dress is created. You see, when they are young girls, their mothers bring them for their consultations and fittings. It is a time for the mothers and me to catch up on family news. When they come for a gown for a college formal, they may spend the weekend, but I am so busy picking fabrics, making the muslin fitting shell, altering the pattern, and making the dress for the first fitting before sending them back to college, that there is no time to really catch up on their lives.
When they come to me for their wedding dress, it’s different. They come alone. At the consultation I get to peek into their personality and see who they have become. When they tell me what they like and dislike, I get to see who has become the girly girl and who has become the rebel. Throughout the weeks and months before the wedding, during the shopping trips and fittings, we talk a lot and I learn who they are. They express their views on the world, their jobs, fashion, relationships, etc. They fascinate me. At the final fitting, it’s over. It’s not that we will never talk again; it’s that their married lives will keep them so busy that there will be very few opportunities for the intimate conversations. There will be the group discussions at family dinners and cookouts, but not those intimate ones.
Lucky for me, there is a bright side. While making that wedding dress, I also made the flower girl dress for my great-niece. As well, my granddaughter is in kindergarten, so I know the graduation dress is just around the corner. THE NEXT GENERATION IS COMING! I have a lot of dresses to do.