"You'll only wear it once!" That's what everyone says about a wedding dress. Mine was no exception and it's true. In theory, you only wear you wedding dress on your wedding day, period. Unless of course you decide to through a fancy dinner with your friends and ask them to wear their wedding attire and of course, that is precisely what I did.
This was an idea I had after my very own wedding day last June. A friend and I were chatting and she, who was also going to be a bride in a few weeks, agreed that when all of our bridal duties would be over, we would take our wedding dresses back out and have dinner wearing them. Since then, the idea had been in my thoughts. Thinking of this, I couldn't help but wonder what happened to those days when men wore full suits and women wore gowns and gloves for dinner? It seemed that every day, dinner was an "event" to get changed for and to glam up for. Why, in the early 1900s, it was considered quite normal to change three times a day if not more: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There were also many rooms in which to receive guests: the drawing room, the dining room, the atrium, the garden and more. Granted, much has changed since then and perhaps it was indeed a good idea to leave the corsets and top hats behind. Still, should we consider going back to formal dining?
If we go back to the even just the 1990s, I remember at least dressing up for special events and activities. Going to church, birthday parties, having family over, Christmas, and Easter all required a different and proper outfit. For each of those, my sister and I had a one picked out (often matching). It was a drag to put on the tights and wear uncomfortable fabric but we did end up looking quite cute and organized. My mother would wear her jewelry and beautiful ensembles and my father looked sharp in his tie and moustache. Back then as well, dry cleaners were busy getting suits pressed and gowns refreshed as fast as they could since we couldn't miss our chance at picking up our outfits. Everything was closed on Sundays! That being said and at the risk of sounding like a Victorian, I missed the days where we would pull out something we wear on special occasions for a dinner with friends and give the night a glossy finish.
After laughing about how silly a fancy dinner with wedding dresses would be, I decided to go through with it. Because let's face it, when will we all have the occasion to do this again? Life is now. So I launched an invitation entitled the FDA (The Fancy Dinner Affair!) to our good friends, especially to those who had mentioned their interest for it. The RSVPs trickled in and I was happy to organize this festive occasion and couldn't believe how into it people were. In preparation, I borrowed my mother's shiny cutlery and her finest china to set the tables. I folded cloth napkins especially nice and marked every seat with "reserved for royalty" place cards. This would be a night where all the stuff you never use and keep "for special occasions only" in cupboards somewhere would be used. Like that crystal butter holder that's gathering up dust or that tea set grandma kept so well. Everything would be getting a second chance at finding its purpose again. The one rule? You know it. Couples had to wear their wedding attire. That's right. Full three piece suit and bow tie for the gentlemen if that was the case and the beautiful wedding gowns for the ladies. The unmarried or single had to wear their fanciest outfit as well. After all, it's not about being married, it's about being fancy ;)
The week coming up to this FDA event, I was catching myself smiling at the thought of seeing everyone in their wedding attire and glamorous outfits. The menu for the soirée was set to please the traditional and vegetarian palates. The night of, the ladies wearing their wedding dresses changed once they arrived as this would be easier than risking wearing their dress in the car. While getting changed, The girls and I relived the excitement of wrapping ourselves in such beautiful gowns, helping each other zipping up and buttoning down. Hairdos were done, nails were immaculate and makeup was on. The men impressed me the most, wearing their bow ties right down to their shoes. Everyone looking swell, we hung out in the kitchen as though this is something we did every weekend. We cheered to good times and began our evening with sparkling wine.
The husband (en Français: "le mari" a trend started by Caroline Nguyen ;)) took care of the wine list to ensure we tried varied styles. We decided to go low on the tapas in the beginning to ensure we hadn't stuffed our guests too much for the main course: Cavatelli with red sauce followed my kale salad and arancini (vegetarian platter) and finally, veal scaloppini with mushroom sauce, taters and fagiolini (french beans). Phil and I decided to order all of this wonderful food at Traiteur LT (Thanks Mike!) to make our lives easier when hosting. We figured, it would be a practical idea especially when you are wearing something like, oh I don't know, a white wedding dress? I have to admit that it was weird serving food I had not yet tasted but we had heard marvels of this catering comforting Italian food place and indeed, it turned out delicious! We highly recommend it.
As the courses of meals went on and the night unfolded, I sat at the table and took a good look around me. "Look at these guys" I thought to myself...everyone in their beautiful outfits. How cool are they? I couldn't believe how kind and generous these human beings are. I mean, yes, I am fully aware of how great they are as friends already, but this is not something I take for granted. Especially on a night like this. Not one of them calling me crazy to throw such a dinner party. Rather, they jumped at the idea and followed me in my folie, making the night what it was. Everyone helping out, contributing in their ways, volunteering to do dishes and looking chic while doing it. Basically just having a good old time. While I have to admit that it wasn't easy travelling through the rooms wearing my wedding dress and all, it was so worth it! It was epic.
Want to give your dinners another twist? Glam it up and bring back the formal. Plan ahead though, because folding napkins and pulling out all of those dishes does take more time.
Once? nope! I wore my wedding dress twice (actually thrice, but that's another story!)
Bee formal, sometimes x
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
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