Saturday, April 2, 2011

Your wedding dress: trash or treasure?

This post was originally written in July 2009 and is another I've bought back for the Weekend Rewind at Life in a Pink Fibro.

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Has anyone taken part in a ‘Trash the Dress’ event? If so, please tell me why otherwise sensible people partake in such a procedure.
Wondering what is a Trash the Dress, exactly? I did. A quick search on the net reveals it’s when a recently married bride puts the wedding dress back on, gets glammed up again, and proceeds to ‘trash’ the dress. As in, roll about in mud and surf, tip paint on it, massacre it with scissors and such like. While being photographed.
Also wondering why the hell any (presumably happily married) person would do that?
Apparently it serves several purposes: provides a chance to wear the dress one more time and do something else productive in it, rather than leave it hanging in the wardrobe for all eternity. The bride also gets some unique and stunning photographs (which don’t come cheap, what with the professional photographer following up the wedding with a handy little Trash the Dress package).
And – my personal favourite – it makes a statement that she is committed to her husband. That in destroying the wedding dress she’s saying she’ll never have need of one again. I’m sorry, but isn’t that message covered by vowing “to love and cherish, etc etc, til death to us part” and exchanging rings?
Call me old fashioned, but I simply do not understand how someone recently married can destroy the dress. If, some time down the track, the marriage has gone pear-shaped and it signifies nothing but painful memories, by all means take to it with shears and a soft-focus lens. But while it’s still a thing of beauty? Insanity.
Because, allowing for those few truly heinous creations that should never have left the designer’s imagination, most wedding gowns are beautiful. The heavy, forgiving fabric. The tiny buttons, delicate ribbons and ties. The bits of antique lace.
Sitting in a dark cupboard forever may seem like a waste. But at least it’s there and can be revisited and admired from time to time, much like a piece of art.
If I ever got such a notion in my head, the shooting would be done by my mother. And she’d use equipment much deadlier than a camera. She made my dress and I assume is just as satisfied to have it left in the wardrobe in peace. Her own dress, (which being from the ’70s leans dangerously towards the heinous category but is saved by its simple design and gorgeous fabric), also remains tucked up among tissue paper in her wardrobe.
Granted, scissors can be the best thing for the situation when a wedding gown has outlived the marriage. Take the dresses of three women in my family. These sisters each married and lived happily for a while. But the happiness didn’t last. Each split no doubt brought much heartache to their mother, but it did mean their dresses were up for grabs. Being a doll collector, she merrily cut and restitched the pieces into miniature gowns. And has since won several awards in the local show’s doll competition.
Of course, each woman is entitled to do as she pleases with her dress. And brides and the photographers do get some beautiful, striking photos from the trashing process. But honestly? It’s just indulgent.
I can understand the narcissistic attraction of starring in your own photo shoot and getting yet another set of beautiful portraits (because all the dosh you spent on the actual wedding photos just wasn’t enough). But justifying it as something more symbolic is simply a con. The same thing could just as easily be achieved by getting a gown from Lifeline and shredding it in front of the camera.

Friday, April 1, 2011

This week I'm grateful for... my age

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They say getting old is no picnic, but at the moment I'm glad I've left some aspects of youth behind.
A younger cousin of mine (she's 18) has recently started university. While she sounds to be having the time of her life, her facebook updates have reminded me of the less noteworthy experiences of being a full-time student:
* Drinking 'goon'. The lovely bottles of sav blanc I indulge in these days may come from the cheaper end of the Woolies Liquor shelf, but thankfully bear next to no resemblance to goon. I think I'd blocked the word 'goon' and it's associated memories from my mind, until this week that is, the moment I signed my first job contract.
* Having to do assignments on non-class days. I'm fortunate to have the kind of job where work is only done at work. Of course days off do involve housework, but you can get away with giving it some cursory attention and put off doing it properly almost indefinitely. Or at least until you have a rental inspection or the parents come to visit.
* Having to share with dorm or flat mates. Think kitchen pigs. Waiting for the bathroom (only to find the sink clogged with someone else's hair). Chocolate nicked from the fridge. Goon nicked from the fridge. Loud noises at all hours of the day and night. Noises you'd rather not identify coming from your housemate's room at all hours of the day and night. It's a list with no end, really.
My place is no luxurious haven, but I can keep it pretty much the way I like. The husband's attempts to get away with leaving everything from shifters to socks on the kitchen table notwithstanding.
* Not having a licence and/or not having a car. Many uni students do have both these days, of course, and this bit of gratitude is prompted by the experience of my sister-in-law who, for various bureaucratic reasons, has just got her Learners at age 21. I've always lived in regional areas where the public transport system, if it exists at all, involves a bus coming by about once every 10 days. I'm not a big fan of driving (I prefer to be chauffeured, darling) but I am a fan of being able to take off somewhere whenever I feel like it.

This post is part of the lovely 'I'm Grateful For' link-up by hosted by Maxabella Loves.

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