You love your mother's wedding dress, but you don't want to wear it. Fortunately, there are other ways you can work her dress into your own wedding that have nothing to do with you slipping it over your head. "Wearing your mother's wedding dress is a beautiful way to honor her and your parent's marriage, but style, size, and an aged dress—think: yellowing fabric and musty smells—prevent a lot of bride's from actually doing it," says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in New Jersey. "Because of this, brides are finding new ways to honor her legacy. By incorporating the dress in other ways than just wearing it, brides have the chance to start their own traditions, have their own dress-shopping experience, and to wear a dress that reflects their own personalities and styles."
Here, then, are five ways to work your mother's dress into the wedding without wearing it as your own. But before you cut apart your mother's wedding dress, "be sure your entire family is on board with your plan," Fisher recommends. "Ask your mom if she feels comfortable with your plan. And don't forget to ask your sister if she has plans to your mom's dress on her own wedding day—we all saw 27 Dresses!"
Wrap your bouquet in it.
You'll likely wrap your bouquet with a strip of fabric, ribbon, or lace, points out Fisher "so why not use a meaningful piece of fabric, such as a piece of lace from your mom's wedding gown?" Plus, if you cut from the inside of the dress, you can preserve it in its full form, too.
Make a flower girl's dress.
Why buy a brand-new flower girl's dress when you can have one made—one that's customized to your style—from your mother's gown? "Your mom's dress represents the past, and the younger generation's [dress] represents the future," Fisher says. "Not to mention, tulle is perfect for flower girl dresses, and wedding gowns from the 80s and 90s had plenty of tulle to spare."
Craft a ring pillow.
If you're an expert crafter—or have a relative who is—your mother's wedding dress can get a new life as your ring pillow, Fisher suggests. "Using your mother's wedding dress to make a ring pillow means that you are creating a family heirloom for generations to come," she says.
Sew a strip of fabric inside your dress.
If you want to ensure a little bit of your mom is with you all day long, consider having a small piece of her dress sewed inside the lining of yours. It's a sentimental and practical choice. "Sewing lace or silk from your mom's wedding gown into your own dress represents the fact that she's always with you," Fisher says. "It only uses a little bit of fabric, so mom's dress can remain intact."
Cut it into handkerchiefs.
Cut small pieces from your mother's gown, then sew them into handkerchiefs to give to family ahead of the ceremony. "They are perfect for those happy tears and make great gifts," says Fisher.