Should You Wear Your Mom's Wedding Dress?

There are positives and negatives to the idea.

For many brides, the most exciting part of wedding planning is finding that perfect bridal gown. But what if, instead of searching through hundreds of pictures online and dozens of dresses in stores, “the one” is already tucked away in your childhood home? Instead of buying a new gown for the big day, some women elect to wear the same dress their mother wore for her own wedding. While typically this is most likely to occur for brides whose parents are still married, there are other situations where that gown would still be considered sentimental. Other engaged women wouldn’t dream of wearing a pre-owned dress, even if it comes from family. This is one of the only chances most people will have for a glamorous gown, and it’s not easy to give that up. 

pros and cons of wearing your mother's wedding dress, should you wear your mom's wedding dress?
Photo by Asya Photography

If you’re considering wearing your mother’s wedding dress for your own big day, read the following pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.  

Pros: 

- Save money. Though there will likely be alteration costs – whether you’re just adjusting the sizing or changing the style entirely – your mother’s dress will not cost as much as a brand new designer dress. You’ll be able to reallocate money budgeted for your dress into other aspects of your celebration. 

- Honor your family. What a beautiful tribute to not only your mother, but also the marriage of your parents. Perhaps your mom even wore your grandmother’s dress, or maybe your future daughter will wear this gown because you’ve started this tradition. 

Cons: 

- Alterations can be risky. If your size is pretty close to the size your mother was on her wedding day, this won’t be too much of an issue. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to completely revamp an outdated style, there is no guarantee that the new version of the dress will look like you imagined or at the same level of quality as a new gown. 

- No dress-shopping experience. Visiting bridal salons with your close friends and family can be a special bonding moment, as well as one of the few opportunities during your engagement where people will really treat you like a princess. While trying on your mother’s wedding dress for the first time will bond you as well, it’s not quite the same as having a full shopping day with your bridesmaids. 

For more ideas, be inspired by 80s-style wedding dresses with puffy sleeves and learn how brides can make dress shopping too difficult

Authored by: Emily Lasnier