The Wedding Dress

June 20, 2008

So far, my planning and preparation for this wedding has followed this series of events:

1.) Proposed and got engaged (1.5 years ago).
2.) Jason decided we should set a date (10 months ago)
3.) Decided to work on having a green wedding (9 months ago)
4.) Mom bought me a wedding dress (5 months ago)

And then I started the blog. But getting the wedding dress before anything else was finalized? We don’t really have an exact date, just an “idea,” we only just decided on a state for the wedding and still have to figure out an actual location, and there’s got to be some other stuff that traditionally comes first.  But really, what wedding is actually traditional? We all do things mostly our own ways, and besides, there are no rules, only guidelines, right?

Back to the dress. This is sadly one of the areas where my eco leanings where misplaced in favor of my thrifty leanings and my Mom’s offer to buy it for me. The deal breaker? It was $70. JCrew had it on uber-sale, I’m assuming because they were getting rid of their “Tall” stock. But Tall is exactly what I need, at 6′. So I let her buy it.  And it’s beautiful and simple. But my guilt over not at least attempting to find some kind of eco-friendly option led me to at least do some research. And it was a learning experience:

  1. Although it’s definitely up for debate, the material my dress is made of (pure silk) could be considered “green.” Silk is a renewable resource, and it’s biodegradable.  There are a few problems involved with it, though (according to Treehugger, http://www.treehugger.com), including the fact that the process requires killing the silk worms inside the cocoons, that there are really no local US sources (think transportation emissions), there are some chemical processes involved, and oftentimes it’s produced in countries that have little regulation/monitoring as far as working conditions and wages go. 
  2. Related to that last point, I decided to learn a little more about JCrew. So I turned to a resource I knew existed, but hadn’t yet utilized: Co-op America’s Responsible Shopper. The entry for JCrew can be found at http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/responsibleshopper/company.cfm?id=244.  What they revealed confirmed my suspicions: JCrew is not one of the most socially-responsible or environmentally-friendly companies out there.  They’re perhaps not the worst, but they’ve been associated with sourcing from factories with sweatshop-like conditions, and from sourcing from companies that illegally dump their waste.

So, there are a couple of research tools for you, as you’re looking up information on everything from materials to clothing stores.  I’d also like to share with you a couple of the other ideas I had for wedding dresses, because options are always good (and my tall dress is no longer available).

  1. Buy a dress that benefits a charity.  MakingMemories.org resells donated dresses at stops all over the country.  Their sales benefit the Breast Cancer Association, and you’ll be reusing.  And if you do decide to get a new dress (like me!), consider donating it to the cause afterwards.
  2. Check out this newsletter from the I Do Foundation; they list several options (including MakingMemories): http://www.idofoundation.org/about/May2004.html.  It’s a little dated, but still useful!
  3. Use your mother’s (or any woman’s in your family) wedding dress.  My mom still has hers, and I did consider altering it and wearing it.  It’s beautiful.  But I already got the family engagement ring, and I decided to let my younger sisters have the opportunity to wear her dress (my grandmother handmade it).  My youngest sister probably wouldn’t even have to have it altered.
  4. Just get the dress that makes you happy, no matter where it’s from or what price you can afford.  From thrift stores to boutiques, there are lots of options!

While I’m trying my best to have a green wedding every step of the way, there is plenty I could do better.  I’m just doing what I can, and sharing what I learn.  I think this is a good place to reiterate that any decision you make, at any point in your wedding, life, party, whatever, to try to do something more environmentally and/or socially responsible, is truly commendable.  No one should expect you (and hopefully me!) to be perfect, and while there are people out there who would grumble and judge, ignore them.  This is getting cheesy, but I hope what I’m saying makes sense.   

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my wedding dress (the standard version)!  Jason, no peeking.  And imagine it with a gold sash, which I’m going to create somehow (organic cotton?  maybe I can get Andrea from GaiaConceptions to help me out…):

jcrew sophia dress in white
jcrew sophia dress in white