A grieving man writes:
“My daughter has asked for her mother’s wedding dress and so far, I’ve said no.
“My late wife was a very small person, when we got married she was only 52kgs [114 lbs]. So her wedding dress size reflects that. She passed away two years ago.
“My daughter can’t wear the dress since they would need to cut it up – I looked into it. When I told her that, this resulted in a huge argument about me gatekeeping my wife’s things. I told her no again, and that she can wear some of her jewelry. She hung up.
“She clearly thinks I am a jerk and my sons are now on me to give up the dress. What should I do?”
First and foremost, I would put ‘repairing your relationship’ on the top of your to-do list.
It’s important that your daughter not continue to pull away from you and feel like she’s now losing her father after saying goodbye to her mother.
As Father of the bride (FOB), you’re in a very tough spot.
On the one hand, her mum not being there on the day would be so triggering and sad for your daughter.
In fact, the whole lead-up to the wedding would be paved with sadness as her mother misses out on such a special time in her life.
On the other, when you have two girls, you don’t want to tear up a dress that is such a core memory for you.
Weddings can ruffle a lot of feathers and cause irreparable damage due to the heightened emotions.
It honestly might be easier for you to just say yes to that dress for her.
It might be hard to see the dress cut up, but I assure you your daughter will always remember that and appreciate what you did for her.
While also being able to carry her mother’s memory on her wedding day.
If you truly do not want to give her the dress, I would suggest the following – pick up the conversation again and say, “I would love to take you to shop for your wedding dress – just to try them on for look and feel, see what you like. Before you commit to wearing your mum’s dress.”
Given your wife won’t be there with your daughter, maybe this is why she doesn’t want to go dress shopping.
And I can imagine this is something you want to experience with your daughter and other children as well.
Help her say “yes to the dress”
Having worked at a bridal store, I’ve witnessed that moment of the bride and her crew shopping together and saying ‘yes to the dress.”
It’s such a special experience. One that dads miss out on, as it’s more often than not for mothers and daughters or brides and their bridesmaids.
As the FOB and her only living parent, you can make this a happy moment for her, while also acknowledging her mother by bringing her photo or a special heirloom of hers, so her presence is felt.
While I know you are not keen for the dress to be cut up.
For the appointment, I would encourage you to bring your late wife’s dress, it means the professionals can show her what would be required but also they might be able to suggest a part of the dress that can be incorporated into the new dress.
This is a piece of cake for them, and I should know, I did it with my dress.
I wanted something belonging to my grandmother as part of my wedding dress.
I had her handkerchief with her initials sewn into the dress, she was close to my heart this way.
Maybe there is a small piece of your late wife’s dress that could be included in her new dress.
Just remember, this is an emotional time for the entire family, one that is happy but also marked with sadness given your wife isn’t there to celebrate with you all.
My advice is coming from a place of having both parents – I didn’t have my mother’s wedding dress on offer – and a distinct style in mind – your daughter might still not want to budge.
As I said previously, it might be better to let go of the dress in this case and keep the relationship with your daughter intact.
Wishing you all the best for the wedding ahead!