The Wedding Dress

20 Jul


Judy Wills




On May 30, 1937, my parents married. Daddy was 44½ years old, mother was 24 years old. Daddy was six months younger than his mother-in-law. I remember mother telling me once that, after she and daddy had been dating a while, she showed Granny a picture of daddy, and Granny’s response was, “Why he’s a OLD MAN!” However, that didn’t deter my parents from marrying. Thank goodness!! And Granny came to love daddy as her son-in-law. They got along quite well.

I honestly don’t remember whether or not Granny made mother’s wedding dress. I know that Granny was a great seamstress, as was mother. Perhaps it was a joint effort. I do know that it had big, puffy sleeves and a straight skirt. She looked very elegant in it. What later surprised me, was that the skirt was full enough to allow a hoop or many crinolines under it. It may have looked straight on mother, but it was very full skirt!

J  mom


Mother’s sister, my Aunt Jessie, took the dress after the wedding, layered it with white tissue paper, and kept it in a cedar chest. It rested there all the years between mother and dad’s wedding and mine.

When my wedding was approaching, I told mother that I would like to wear her wedding dress – with a few alterations. I really didn’t like those big, puffy sleeves. Really made my skinny arms look even skinnier. There was a lady in our church who was a professional seamstress, and we engaged her to “remake” the dress. She removed the sleeves, essentially making it a sleeveless dress. I say essentially, because mother and I shopped around and found some gorgeous Belgian lace. She made a complete dress out of it to fit over mother’s dress. It had the long sleeves, and even a bit of a train in the back. I thought it was beautiful!




It was while the dress was being “remade” that we discovered how full the skirt was. In my day, the “in thing” was hoop skirts or lots of crinolines. As I look back, I realize how elegant the straight skirt looked, but I wanted that full skirt – and that’s what I got!


But I guess the important thing is that I was able to wear my mother’s wedding dress. It always held a special place in my heart. And I think I was able to honor both my parents by wearing that special dress.


4 Responses to “The Wedding Dress”

  1. elysesalpeter July 21, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Such a beautiful dress! You can see how much you loved it!


  2. divoran09 July 21, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    I didn’t know all that about the dress. I do know you looked lovely in it because I was there, and so was your neice — in my tummy. Lovely wedding, great reception, excellent blog. Love ya sis.


    • ludyja July 21, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      I had actually forgotten that Charlene was there, as well! Thanks for the reminder. And I love you, too! What a great sister you have been to me.


  3. Old Things R New July 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    Judy, I went to the blog to comment on your post and to my horror it wasn’t there!! I hit a three instead of a two so it was in queue for July 30!! I enjoyed this story so much. The transformation of the dress is incredible and the bond you shared with your mother is priceless.


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