When Jay and I got married in 1977, money was tight.
We had a beautiful wedding in a garden with a reception at our apartment party room. And hopefully we were able to keep from showing our challenging financial situation.
We did not have a caterer. My mother baked cookies and brought them from South Carolina on the plane. We made other assorted goodies ourselves. Our friends chipped in.
The minister offered his services free.
The photographer was just starting out, so he was pretty cheap too.
We rented our clothes. The guys went to a fancy place. I went to a little hole in the wall shop where they rented dresses.
I chose a dress that looked like one someone had once worn to a prom. I never thought about how many people may have worn that dress before me. From the moment I put it on, it was my dress.
I would forget that it made me itch.
I would remember that when I wore it, my parents, my brother and Jay’s parents and grandmother were all together for the only time in their lives.
I would remember that when I wore it, we were with our best friends.
I would remember that when I wore the dress, Jay and I made forever promises.
When the wedding was over, we returned the dress. My usually not so sentimental new husband asked what it would cost to buy the dress.
I was very surprised. He said simply, “It’s your dress … really.” He bought it.
I never wore that dress again except to try it on once. I could still fit in it, but there were other parts of me that did not look like the young woman who wore the dress on her wedding day.
However, wherever we lived, the dress went with us. It always had an honored place in my closet. When I got a glimpse of it, I would smile, not just about the wedding day, but more about the guy who wanted his bride to have her own dress.
There have been so many more acts of love and generosity in the almost 45 years since the wedding. Now as we are once again cleaning things out, we agreed it was time to release the dress.
I thought of the unknown people who rented it before me. They were willing to let it go, so eventually it found its way to me. I silently thanked God for them and also the people in the little hole in the wall bridal shop, who cared for the dress between the renters.
I smiled to think of who might next see the dress at Good Will and go, “Wow! Look at this! It’s like right out of the 70s!”
May whoever claims it next wear it with love and continue the happy memories!