Brand building through storytelling

Dress of a lifetime

My son, who will be married this month (date and country to be arranged) has just phoned with a bulletin: “Today we bought the dress.” He’s never been one to talk about fashion but he seemed most keen to talk about this.

“What kind of dress?” I was picturing an understated sheath that could be worn to work with a jacket to cover the decolletage. After all, they were going to elope. No engraved invitations, no band playing “In My Life,” no roasts and toasts. For this you can skip the seed pearls.

“It’s more expensive than we planned. And it’s dressier. We looked at a lot of places but we thought we’d check out [he named the store where visiting designers launch their signature scents on a wave of bubbly] and we thought this dress was perfect.”

“She can wear it again…?” Just the question my practical mother would have asked.

“Sure. But like I said, it’s very dressy.”

“Oh. So you’ve bought a long dress.”

My son sounded pleased that I was finally getting the picture, which most certainly did not include a matching jacket for work. “It has a train!” he said.

For me this dress required a soaring leap of the imagination, at least in the context of elopement. I too said no to the fancy ceremony—after all, it was 1970, when daisy wreaths replaced wedding veils and people danced barefoot through fields to take vows they had composed themselves. Although I did wear shoes to City Hall, I scorned the very notion of a gown.

I was married in a burgundy velvet dress that had been my favourite in high school. It had long sleeves and a demure floral pattern in shades of orange and pink, a typical 60s palette. At the time I thought that starting married life in a relic from my high school years had a certain lackadaisical charm. It also expressed something more abstract and ambitious, the intention to remain myself in this new phase of my life.

As we waited in the hall to take vows purged of poetry along with religion, I rolled my eyes at the bride next in line. She had a veil, a white gown and two attendants with flowers in their hair. It seemed like a lot of money and trouble for a 30-second ceremony performed by an official who, as far as we could tell, was determined to shave another second or two off his record time.

While I pondered all the reasons why I’m the last person to get passionate about a wedding dress, my son shared a few more details about this particular choice. It’s a little like a Grecian toga. Sculptural. And the train can be draped three different ways. He’s pretty enthused about the train, this guy who once thought a train meant only one thing: a big, noisy vehicle that chugged down a track with its whistle blowing.

“I bet she looks beautiful in that dress,” I said.

“She does,” my son answered with a smile that I could hear through the receiver.

I thought of them standing at an altar in some wedding chapel, if such places even have altars. Perhaps it’ll just be a table with a couple of candles and a posy (not carnations, I hope). Because they’re eloping, we won’t be there to share this moment. “Promise me you’ll get photos,” I said. I didn’t ask for a shot of him carrying his bride’s train (surely someone has to do the honours). But it’s still not too late.

Click here for my previous post about the upcoming wedding.

Posted by Rona

Leave a Reply

Stay up-to-date with Rona.

To see what’s on my mind these days, friend me on Facebook.

Miss my old site?

Visit the archive to find your favorite blog posts and Chatelaine editorials or browse my published articles. Sorry, I’m not blogging anymore.