The Pros and Cons of Wearing Your Mom's Wedding Dress

The perks and drawbacks of donning your mother's gown for your big day.

Some brides will choose to don their mother’s – or grandmother’s – wedding gown for their own big day. Some women modify the dress to fit a more contemporary style while others take it completely as it is!

Photo: Asya Photography

Modern weddings are all about the couple’s personal style and taste – practically every detail of your big day can now be personalized to match the specifications of a bride or groom. However, that does not mean engaged pairs have thrown tradition out the window completely, as there are still plenty of customs a pair can partake in, whether for the sake of their families or on their own accord. One particularly sentimental practice some brides will take part in is the donning of their mother’s – or grandmother’s – wedding gown for their own big day. Some women modify the dress to fit a more contemporary style while others take it completely as it is – with some size alterations, of course.

If you’re considering asking your mom if you can borrow her precious ensemble, consider these pros and cons beforehand:


-          You’ll make her happy. If your mom has an affinity for nostalgia, this may be seen as the sweetest gesture in the world to her. While you’re essentially praising her style and taste from the time of her wedding, you’re also incorporating her even further into your nuptials. As tradition has it, unfortunately, the mother of the bride does not play a big part, and this is a fantastic way to forgo that outdated custom and make her a key player in your vows.

-          What a way to honor family. Donning your mother’s dress can also further a standing family tradition – perhaps her dress is really the gown of her great-grandmother and all of the women in the family have worn it – or start a new one, as maybe your daughter will one day wear it, too. This gesture shows just how devoted to family you are, and what a beautiful way to enter into a marriage.

-          You don’t have to spend money/time on a new dress. You can forget about having to put yourself through dress shopping and purchasing another gown. The process can really take its toll, both on your emotional state and your bank account, and you’d be saving yourself the headache. Of course, if you’re planning on changing a good amount of your mother’s dress, you may still run into these things, but perhaps not in the volume you would had you decided to get a new ensemble.


-          You won’t get to choose your own gown. As lovely as your mother’s dress likely is, you cannot be 100% happy with every aspect of its design. Though you may love the beaded bodice, the pick-ups in the skirt aren’t exactly what you’d had in mind. Additionally, though the process of trying on dresses in salons can be tedious, some women see it as a rite of passage – and something you’d be missing out on should you choose your mom’s gown.

-          Any alterations may be tough. Depending on the style and age of the dress, alterations can get very tricky – and therefore, very pricey. If you really want to take apart the ensemble to pick and choose different elements for the final product, older fabrics and specific boning and embellishments could make your vision an impossible task. Hopefully, your seamstress will be able to work around it or come up with a new concept that you enjoy, though there are no guarantees.

-          You may feel the need to be overly cautious with it. Brides are always fairly careful with their gowns, but typically, should they spill on it or cause a slight tear, they’re only disappointing themselves. When a woman wears her mother’s dress, she’s also completely responsible for anything that may happen to it over the course of the event. Additionally, you don’t get to make the decision to take part in the “trash the dress” trend all on your own. You need to respect your mother’s wishes for the dress along with your own.

View long-sleeved dresses for winter weddings, discover how to order your ceremony processional with a non-traditional family, and read up on charming wedding traditions from the South.