Friday, May 07, 2010

Modest Weddings - A Reminder

There is perhaps nothing more uncomfortable than to be held captive in an audience during an immodest display of wedding party garments that can only be described as underwear.  The Bible commands women to dress modestly, and it is really simple to do so. These days, all you have to do is have a garment with sleeves, a bodice that has a neckline (at least near the neck), no holes or gaps, and nothing embarrassingly tight.

The bride's attendants should also be modest. Dresses with straps, and dresses without sleeves, are not modest. Dresses that reveal cleavage to everyone, are not modest, nor are dresses that cling so tightly to the bustline or hips that they leave nothing secret.

Church members here have established modesty policies for weddings in their congregation. They claim that anyone who had a wedding in their church building, would have to be modest. No cleavage, and no bare looking clothing; nothing above the knee, and no strapless.  I thought this was fair. These church members were just trying to put some limits on the immodesty that we are faced with at weddings.  I remember one wedding I attended where I was unprepared for the amount of immodesty that was displayed. I had no warning, and neither did anyone else. There were audible gasps from some people in the audience, and then some embarrassment, as people, even men, lowered their heads and looked at the floor as the bridesmades in their short, skin tight dresses walked past.

These pictures and paintings show a variety of dresses worn for weddings in past eras, proof that modesty can be maintained. I wonder if we could change the immodesty trend by refusing to give a gift or attend any weddings where the bride and the bridesmaids were dressing immodestly. This would require some sluething beforehand, but it might be effective enough to forewarn them, so that they could reconsider wearing immodest clothing at a wedding.  Other than that, the only way to prevent immodest dressing is to train your daughters not to wear immodest clothing any other time, and they will not want to wear a skimpy, trendy wedding dress in public.

I recently enjoyed looking at the photographs of the most modest and yet beautiful wedding I have ever seen. The clothes were perfection, hand sewn by the women on both sides of the family. The bride's dress had a modest neckline, elbow length sleeves with a shaped ruffle (longer in the back part) and a full skirt. The bridesmaids wore dresses with lace vests attached, all modest and all lovely.

When you dress modestly, you do not have to keep tugging at everything. Immodest clothes are not good for you. They do not protect you, which is one function of clothing. Too many weddings look like something other than a wedding.  We all need to come up with ideas to thwart the designers attempt to put every bride in a dress that barely covers her.  These dresses often cost hundreds of dollars and have very little fabric on them.  That is not a very good deal.  We must all stop following the pied pipers of fashion.

Clothing at weddings should indicate the seriousness and holiness of the event, not the sexiness of the women. I have observed over the years so many immodest weddings, and found that more than half of these marriages do not last two years.  If a bride is serious about life and has any maturity, she will see to it that her wedding is modest, and that she covers more than she reveals. We live in an era where everyone shows off their bareness, and people have forgotten that the flesh is private.  Weddings should be treated as something so sacred that only those who are dressing in the proper, modest garments, should attend.

(Titles and links to pictures coming later)

These Hawaiian dress patterns are great for wedding dresses: Nos 205, 101, 001 in particular. Click on for a larger view.

Good role models for modest wedding attire in church and civil ceremonies are the members of the European Royalty. Do a web search of the young royals in eastern and western countries and look at the up to date wedding attire that the women are wearing. No matter what you may think of royalty, the young women have, for decades, led the world in modest, beautiful wedding attire.


Anonymous said...

You are so right. If the bride and bridesmaids do not assault your sense of modesty going up the aisle, they do it coming back. Both the front and back views are so bare--awful!! One day they may regret wearing such sleazy wedding clothes.

Lily said...

We've been looking at wedding gowns lately and have noticed it is VERY difficult to find things that have sleeves anymore. I told my daughter she must cover in the church. Not that she wants to be immodest, far from it!! But the choices out there are cringe-worthy.

Anonymous said...

I once saw an advertisement in Bride's Magazine for "Modest Wedding Attire," which was made by a Mormon manufacturer of wedding apparel.

Sharon said...

I got the shock of my life when my daughter became engaged two years ago and I began searching the internet for wedding dress designs. The dresses were backless and frontless, held up by imagination and modelled by pouting females with come hither sultry looks! So much for maidenly modesty! My daughter told me that this was the wedding style these days.

I can remember when wedding dresses came with jackets for the church which were removed for the reception. The daughter of a friend of mine had such a dress and she looked lovely.

My daughter's dress was not what I would have selected for her but compared to others it was acceptable.

Patty W. said...

Some very good points Lydia. I was wondering, in your opinion, is the wedding ceremony, more for the couple or the guests?

Anonymous said...

I was married five years ago now, and worked with a dressmaker to produce my wedding dress. I had an idea what I was after and this very talented lady, an experienced historic costumierre, produced something absolutely beautiful! Lydia has seen it. This dress was modest yet elegant, with long sleeves, a neckline actually at the neck, a worked satin piece that elegantly covered the bust and emphasized the waist, tasteful hat and veil. My bridesmaid was attired in pink; pale rose pink for her skirt and tunic, with a vivid silk overtunic typical of her national dress. It was an elegant wedding, and not difficult to organize. Its doable; Though i spent the $$$ on this creation, there are plenty of modest clothierres on the internet who will make something beautiful for a fraction of the cost. I am certain groups such as 'Lillie's Apparrel' would be able to turn out dresses for bride and bridesmaids that are simply wonderful; they also have gorgeous accessories to die for, that would finish the bridal party's ensembles perfectly; and you'd pay considerably less than the supposed bridal boutiques charge.

Anonymous said...

You are so right about the state of wedding attire these days. Modesty seems to be a forgotten word in our culture.

I love the pictures you posted of brides from the past. Lovely gowns.

Anonymous said...

What beautiful dresses! How inspiring! Thank you!

Far Above Rubies said...

You're so right. It's very sad what weddings are turning out to be.

Wedding gowns are not gowns but underwear and weddings are not scared - but an event to attend where there will be drinking and sensual dancing.

Brides are concerned with having the best and most expensive wedding instead of living as one with their new beloved.

Thanks for this post.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

Thank you, thank you, thank you! for bringing up this subject. I have been to several weddings in recent years where the attire of the bridal party was ghastly in the extreme. I still wake up screaming.

Aside from bridal wear, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find dressy clothing for mature ladies that have a decent bodice and 3/4 length sleeves!

We older ladies have a duty, I believe, to help guide and direct young ladies toward lovelier and more dignified styles for this most important event of their lives. Which means that we may have to dust off our sewing machines and get busy helping the brides-to-be. And their bridesmaids.

Don't get me started on the maternity fashions. One battle at a time! ;)

Kind regards from,

Susan T.

Anonymous said...

I was so blessed as my mother in love had a beautiful and modest dress that I wore for my wedding. We now have it sealed just in case one of my girls want to wear it one day.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, immodest wedding attire is not allowed at our church. Our pastor has delegated the decision to one of the older, godly women who views the apparel ahead of time. Of course, this only works for the wedding party. We have no control over what some guest may show up in.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those Mormons of the modest wedding attire. Modesty and our insistance upon it at our church meetings including weddings has never wavered. For this I'm thankful. I have seen immodest brides and wondered what they were thinking.

To the lady who questioned if the ceremony was about the guests or the bride and groom, I'd say both. Surely it's the bride and groom's special day. However, they choose to invite guests, who should not be made uncomfortable by revealing clothing--trendy or not. If they want to marry in beachware, they should invite a justice of the peace to perform the union at the proper location not in a church or temple. Personally, I don't want to see the breasts and various fleshy parts of my daughers, granddaughters, or their contemporaries.

Anonymous said...

There is a modest wedding photograph at Lilies of the field.

As for immodest guests: before my wedding, I went to each girl that I thought might dress immodestly and asked her not to. I asked them to dress modestly in respect for my husband and myself.

Anonymous said...

It can even be difficult to find a modest First Communion gown for Catholic girls. Many are made of synthetic, sheer materials, others have a criss-cross front or empire top which looks odd as little girls do not have a bustline to support those kind of styles. I was also shocked to see several styles offered that were sleeveless with spaghetti straps! Far too many others look like party dresses, with lots of embellishment in the form of beads, lace and shiny ribbons. Some of the child models on websites for these dresses wore sparkling rhinestone tiaras. It is discouraging to see. When I was a child making my First Communion, the girls wore plain white dresses made of cotton, with sleeves, a ribbon tie at the waist and a wreath of flowers in our hair. Simple but pretty. Somewhere, simplicity fell out of style and gaudy displays of excess and immodesty have taken their place.

Gail Kellogg Hope said...

I love modest weddings. You can concentrate on the ceremony, the love between the couple, and enjoy the company rather than thinking "WHAT is she WEARING and where is the REST of it???"

When my husband & I were getting married, I searched high & low for an affordable dress with sleeves. No luck. Additionally, I look terrible in white, ecru and ivory. I never wear those colors. I was having "white dress nightmares" and was told that dying a dress was not an option.

So we decided to make our own. My mother, his grandmother & I sewed all the dresses and the men's clothes (which can be just as bad), and even some clothes for certain guests. We had a wedding that was very close to Monet's Picnic. Every one of my bridesmaids had a dress that suited her figure & color, and all of the gentlemen had custom made suits. My husband's best woman (his sister) wore a white blouse and black skirt & jacket that were just stunning.

I've been told by many guests that it was the most beautiful wedding they had ever been to. It was so much work, and worth every hour. And best of all, I got my sleeves, neckline & I didn't have to wear white.

Anonymous said...

To anon Susan T, yes maternity clothing is atrocious. Perhaps Mrs. Sherman will comment on it in another post.


Polly said...

Good points. I was just horrified, yesterday, looking at some photos of girls dressed up for prom at the local high school. It surprises me what mothers allow their daughters to wear--lots of cut-out midriffs and cleavage.

I was married 11 years ago and had a dress I truly loved. It was sleeveless but the neckline was high and jewel, and the sleeves almost bordered on 'cap' sleeves--it didn't have the skimpier cut of 'sleeveless' that many dresses have. I also wore opera-length gloves which looked sleeve-like. No cleavage! A high back, too. At the time I did not think much about modest clothing, I just chose something that seemed *appropriate.* It was completely modest and I didn't have to tug, pull, or worry about bending over. My bridesmaids' dresses were made similarly in style.

It is nice to look back at the photos and think how lovely my bridesmaids and I looked, not how *sexy* or *revealing* or *trendy* we were. I didn't care about that at all then, but I care about it now!

Polly said...

And I'll add too that if I had to do it again, I'd probably have sleeves! I love the wedding dresses of my grandmothers' era...they are so classic, beautiful and reverent-looking.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. My daughter was married recently and we had a horrible time finding a modest dress. When we would go to the bridal shops and ask for any dresses with sleeves, they would look at us like we had two heads. We finally found a dress on the clearance rack that had sleeves. It was absolutely beautiful. (I think it was on clearance because no one wanted it because of the sleeves)Thank you for posting about this.~Mrs. T

Anonymous said...

Sometimes women think if there is no cleavage showing when they stand in front of the mirror, that they are modest. If you can see your own cleavage when glancing downward, everyone else can see it too. If you lean forward, others can see it. People are not interested in your cleavage. Why show it? I think the church you mentioned was right to have someone establish some guidelines about modesty in weddings.

Thor said...

Immodesty is not confined to the wedding party. The last wedding in a church I attended the bride, groom and attendants were dressed fine. It was the attendees that appalled me. My mother and I were the best dressed ones there and our attire was modest, but not rich. I had a nice modest summer dress with stockings and pumps and white gloves. My mother was in a dress as well. We gaped in horror as guests walked into the church dressed in - I kid you not - t-shirts, shorts and flip flops! All of the guests looked like they were headed for a day at the beach or an outdoor barbeque. Even the mother of the bride was dressed in something that looked like she grabbed out of the dirty laundry bag that morning.
Is their no logical consideration anymore of suiting the clothes to the occasion? Do you wear a raincoat on a sunny day? A parka in summer? Why go to a church wedding just as unsuitably attired. I could rant on, but I better quit. I feel my blood pressure rising.

Anonymous said...

Thor. Welcome to the new elitism .

If you do not want people coming to your wedding in pyjamas and slippers, they will acccuse you of being snobbish.

This is the same crowd that ridicules a housewife for taking time out to bake a pie or knit or indulge in a hobby for relaxation. They despise hand made and will not have anything home made.

Their hypocrisy is unsurpassed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This is *so* needed.

I have watched a shows on TV where they show brides trying on dresses in a store and I'm shocked at how immodest these dresses are.--Most are strapless. And what's even more amazing is how unflattering they are on most girls.

Laura Lane said...

Hurrah for you! Someone needs to say these things. Too bad we're not in the majority opinion.

Yours is one of my "favorite blogs". Do drop in for a visit!


Anonymous said...

With or without straps style gowns are unflattering and squish out the upper fat to make brides look terrible. At one wedding the weather turned cold suddenly and the bride had to wear her husband's suit coat at the outdoor reception.
Girls will buy what is available. When they go to a bridal shop, all they see are these strapless gowns. When the sleeves and necklines (as in "near the neck) become a trend again, they will buy that, not thinking of modesty, only of what is in style.

If you can learn to sew, it is your great power over dependence upon these designers. The designers (Vera Wang, and others) make thousands of dollars per gown, and leave the top nearly completely bare.

Anonymous said...

When I was to be married I wanted to sew my own dress.

I didn't look good in stark white so I found an eggshell paisley brocade fabric and used a simple floor length empire A-line style pattern with long sleeves.

I fashioned a three tier veil with an over the forehead wreath of white milliner's flowers and leaves. I carried a bouquet of pink rosebuds and carnations with white stephanotis blossoms.

We had over 350 people in an evening church wedding. It was an elegant wedding on a dime.

The cake was made by a friend of the family that did wedding cakes, the flowers were the least expensive and simple. Food was simply cake and punch in a rented fountain. The reception was held at a rented hall with a kitchen and a fireplace.

My bride's maid was my cousin who sewed better then I did, and fashioned a dress of the same pattern, hers in a soft pink to match my bouquet, button bouquets for the groom and best man, pink bouquet for the bride's maid, corsages for the mothers of bride and groom, and my father in law paid for our wedding night chambers at a nice hotel. We honeymooned at the Colorado River camping. The Lord provided all the orange groves near by to be in full bloom and fragrance for our stay.

Everyone invited to the wedding purchased new, but not expensive clothes for our wedding out of respect for us.

Anonymous 4:35 spoke of my biggest pet peeve where it comes to strapless wedding dresses. On thin girls the dress swims on them, on heavy girls the excess back and chest fat is so unflattering, I'm embarrassed for them.

Add to that tattoos, and piercings it just destroys the beautiful effect they should be looking for. At least if it is covered it appears pretty.

I went to a wedding where the bride was dressed modestly, but her bride's made looked like a stripper. Her strapless gown had a side slit clear up the hip and completely bare under, with tall spike heels and hair strung suggestively down one side. I am sure of one thing, not too many people were looking at the bride.

My mother used to say a good hotel always advertises. Dressing like this or allowing dress like this at a wedding only invites people to be rowdy. Is it any wonder some receptions end up unruly.

Modern wedding customs are another of my rants. They have degenerated to nothing more then settings for a boozing free for all. For instance the sharing of a bit of cake and a sip of beverage between bride and groom used to be a tender scene, but now it is a food fight where both parties smear the cake in each others faces and splash the drink all over themselves. What does that show younger children in attendance? More over, what does it suggest to the adults in attendance?

A modest wedding starts with modest dress, good manners and behavior. It need not be costly and potluck receptions are often the most fun.
The bride and groom should set the scene by the way they look and behave.

Anonymous said...

You will notice photographs of brides during the depression or war time where they wore their best outfit: a suit ir a dress, and it was not just white, but blue and pink, red, print. The point is they dressed up, not down. The receptions have indeed become loud and roudy, with rock music and drinking. The amount of divorced parents at weddings is uncomfortable and sad. They bring their current mates, unrelated to the couple, and create an awkward situation where people will not mingle at the reception. Maybe the bride and groom should have a private ceremony in cases like that.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Pet peeve here! I am so tired of the bride and bridesmaids hunching their way up the aisle because they know and we know they're about to pop out of the top of their strapless dresses! No one dares stand up straight for fear of what will happen.

We went to a wedding last year in January, in a sleet storm, where the bride was (of course) wearing strapless (have fun with those outside pictures, sweetie!) and found out afterwards she spent most of the reception in tears of pain from the strapless bra--it dug into her so badly she was CRYING AT HER OWN WEDDING but it was the only way her dress would stay on. Sigh.

I wore my mother's timeless 1966 dress in 1989, and my daughters all plan to wear it as well. Tallest one first, I think, before we hem it up!

Anonymous said...

I's so, so, so excited. Last year when I adopted dressing in dresses 24/7, I was looked at as if I were an alien. Actually, I was an alien in my small town. Lately, I've seen several women walking, riding bikes, shopping, and attending concerts in ballet length or long skirts/dresses. Hurrah! I'm a trend setter. Or maybe they are all reading your blog, Lady Lydia. We older women just need to keep setting the example--others will come even at weddings.

Moderate Mouse said...

What bothers me isn't so much that the bare arm and shoulder look in bridal gowns (as well as "formal" dresses) exists as it is that it's promoted as though you'd think it was mandatory. If other girls wish to take part in the trend on their own wedding day, that's their business, but I'm one of the few younger women out there whose tastes call for more um, coverage. (I'd like to know why, for those "black tie" type of events that while, the guys are fully covered below the neck, including the arms, that those of us who are female are expected to show our arms if not more. At least that's how it seems these days.)

I've never had any marriage prospects whatsoever, and I don't know if I ever will. However, if I do, I'm hoping I can find a dress that has sleeves, won't show cleavage, etc. It may be that I opt for a regular white dress with which I can accessorize or I might be able to talk my mom into making one for me. (When my sister was getting married, my mom made her dress for her as sister couldn't find anything that fit what she had in mind at the time.) And while I'm not sure what style I'd have my bridesmaids where, I don't think I'd have them showing things that I wouldn't show in a church setting out of principle.

Unknown said...

To Ms Patty W, who asked about the the wedding ceremony being more for the couple or the guests.

I would say the wedding ceremony is for both parties, atleast from where i come from Uganda, East Africa, the wedding ceremony combines the joys of the couples wedding, relatives and friends. And when it comes to planning of wedding, all those concerned parties(in the community) are involved in raising funds for the event. Besides after the wedding the couple is going to settle in a community and hopefully make a positive contribution to the society...The couple could bring forth a future president or minster who knows.... So in short i would say the wedding is both for the couple and the guests...and God ofcourse, a code of three strands..., that is why modesty should be highly emphasised, as the event is not a purely private matter but both private, public and spiritual union of two souls and two families. The subject of modesty in ones presentation of self, then, becomes pertinent. Sadly modesty is not given much thought, may that should reveal to us that couples are not giving serious consideration to their audiences (parents, friends, relatives and God as witness)....of their union.

Anonymous said...

I have definately noticed this trend!! It is RARE to attend a wedding anymore that the bride & bridesmaids are modest - so sad!! I do feel sorry for them though, if you are not able to sew, they may really feel that it is not an option since that is pretty much ALL that is offered in bridal shops...Just a few months ago I was looking at pictures of an old homeschool friend on facebook. I was in shock looking at the pictures, she was well endowed & literally spilling out of the bodice!! It made me SOOOO uncomfortable just looking at the pictures, I felt sorry for the guests at the wedding! I have 5 daughters, so this subject is something I have thought of often!!

Anonymous said...

I am one who, married in 1995, chose an immodest gown. It is sad, because before this time, I had always admired the Victorian-styled gowns with a lace high neck and puffed, long sleeves. Now here I have all these pictures of me in a low-cut dress with off-the-shoulder short sleeves. WHAT was I thinking!!! At least we are still married and had a very simple reception at dh's home and a simple honeymoon.

Great topic!!

Anonymous said...

That is exactly the way I feel about the clothes I used to wear in the 1960's. There WERE alternatives, and they WERE Victorian, but I still have the immodest pictures of me as a young girl. My parents did NOT approve, and oh how I regret it. Now as I teach my daughters to be modest, I have a lesson for them: You will live with regrets and pictures and things you CANNOT undo! You can repent of it and move on, and try to do better with the next generation, so that they dont end up with a lot of guilt about their past.

Anonymous said...

I agree about not attending if there is immodesty in the wedding parade. I think you can find out by asking the bride for pictures of the dresses and then politely tell her why you wont be accepting the invitation. A lot of people do not go to popular swimming areas because of immodesty, so why should they feel obligated to attend a wedding where there is just as much cleavage and bare chests and legs? I know someone who taught her children to judge between modest and immodest in clothing and action, and likewise not to let their eyes linger on anyone immodest. When her children grew up they chose excellent mates as they had learned to admire the modest women and men who were respectful to others in the way they dressed. No one really wants to be forced to look at a woman's cleavage or her low cut jeans, yet these people parade around and force you to view them. It is often hard to avoid seeing it.

Katy said...

If you post more pictures of modest wedding gowns you should consider posting ones from Royal Weddings. In many cases these are beautiful and demure gowns - Queen Fabiola of Belgium's gown (wife of the late King Bauduoin)is a good example, as is the dress of Queen Elizabeth II.

Not that I am saying that all brides should spend the amount spent on these dresses, but rather choose the demure look of these gowns over what is actually on-trend. In many cases too, these gowns have aged well - so getting something similar means there is more chance of their reuse by generations afterward!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your post. Last year my sister married, and I was made to feel very uncomfortable on the day. Her dress was low cut and strapless, and even my unbelieving cousins commented on how they couldn't wear it in church. I was made to feel unreasonable when I asked for straps to be put on my bridesmaid's dress and for it to be higher cut. In the end I wrapped my top half in a shawl, and was told off for not matching the others.
It is so encouraging to me that I am not the only one, and that the values I had were not selfish on the day.

Lydia said...

I agree about the royal weddings. At least in the past, the brides were very dignified and modest. I found one from Holland I will add to the pictures. If you find any you may email me at

Anonymous said...

Please read the link to the church that established some rules about modest weddings. I could really adopt those for my own values.

Anonymous said...

I think brides are beautiful enough. They do not have to convince people that they are sexy or beautiful by showing everything from cleavage to bare legs. It is also not necessary to wear a wedding dress off the rack, if you cannot find a modest one. Just find a formal type dress or suit with sleeves. No matter what the color, it can still be bridal wear if you like it and if it is for your special day. I know several brides who dressed in red and some in yellow.

Anonymous said...

I saw a show where a lady insisted on a modest wedding gown...I believe it was Michael Dugger on one of the 19 and Counting shows of their's. The Duggers were celebrating an anniversery by getting remarried. The gown store said they didn't have anything with sleeves but they redid the top and made sleeves for her. We have had women come a buy heavy lace and put cotton behind it and put it onto ready made gowns to add sleeves and used a bit of the lace backed like that too at the neckline to bring it way up.

Anonymous said...

The problem is, ladies, that most people would not feel in the least offended by seeing half dressed women at the beach or on vacation , so why would an immodest wedding group bother them?We have all been de-sensitised to the point that we can not see the difference between what is holy, and what is not.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Most people have no knowledge of the holy, and therefore they lack understanding of right and wrong, modest and immodest.

Add to this, the problem of television in the home. While they may draw the line at letting women in their homes wearing very immodest clothing, they see nothing wrong with watching it on television.

When a wedding occurs with immodest clothing and an over abundance of cleavage, most people just think it is normal. They have seen it already at the beach or on television.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people looked like the Duggars even just back in the 50's or early 60's before the fashion designers did their dirty deeds on the fashion industry. I can remember women dressing modestly and femininely, in jean skirts and vests, or long prairee dresses, and it was not considered abnormal. Even non-believers dressed that way. It was not a religious thing, but the Christian women adapted the style easily. I remember when all those clothes were expensive and only the rich girls could afford them. Now, ifyou wear a denim jumper or a floral skirt, the elitist snobs mock in derision.

Bethany said...

When I got married five years ago I wore my grandmother's wedding dress. It was a beautiful lace dress from 1952. The skirt came to just above the ankles and it had a lace jacket that buttoned up. It was modest and beautiful (it had aged to a lovely ivory color) and it meant something. I liked the symbolism of walking in my grandmother's footsteps. She was a godly woman who raised seven children, kept the home, and honored my grandfather. I also carried the wedding bible that my other grandma carried at her wedding (also a godly woman who put her family first). AND the dress was free!!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I agree. I have watched the Wedding tv shows and so often the women are talking about "wanting to look sexy at the wedding."

I think people are smart to design their own and work with a dressmaker, if not able to make their own dress, to get a beautiful, but modest dress.

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate enough that my maternal grandmother had preserved her wedding dress, which my mother, a great-aunt, and a cousin had also worn. It was made during WWII. I wasn't going to wear a corset like the first generation to wear it had, and I wasn't nearly skinny enough like my mother had been, so we had a brilliant seamstress add fabric in at the sides. Because Grandmother had the foresight to save the scraps, we had fabric which matched perfectly to use.
Ladies, if you do make your own dress or have it made, please save the scraps with the gown for future generations to use to alter it: after sixty years the dress had gone from white to a lovely light gold and I never could have matched it in a new fabric.

Anonymous said...

"Now, if you wear a denim jumper or a floral skirt, the elitist snobs mock in derision."

Yes, they do. It is sad because I find this to be much more elegant and dressed up than a pair of trousers. Thanks for the thought!

Anonymous said...

I remember when my younger sister was trying on wedding dresses at an upscale establishment. She chose a beautiful dress, except it was rather low cut in the front. She and I was discussing how we could alter it with just a bit of matching fabric, when all of a sudden the saleswoman bustled in and started tugging at the front. "Oh, honey, this is supposed to come down in the front. You have it pulled up much too high!" She was such an annoyance. "Stop it!" my sister pulled away from her. "I do not want my bodice to be so low! I want it to cover up my chest!" "But, you are so beautiful! You need to show the world how lovely you are. Everyone will envy the bridegroom!" My sister was astonished. "Excuse me, but do you know why a bride wears white? It is because she is supposed to be pure, clean, and modest. If I walked around with my chest exposed I really don't think I would be modest or indeed I probably wouldn't be chaste today! I am pure and I want to look pure. My husband will love me as I am not as some unpaid prostitute."

The surprise on the face of that saleswoman was hilarious. "Well, umm, I guess you have a point there. It's just that all the other girls want their dresses to be lower." "Trust me, I'm definitely not like other girls!" My sister answered. It was a interesting moment, to say the least!

Anonymous said...

We do wedding videography at weddings. 99% are wearing strapless dresses. It's embarrassing to have to tape the bride and bridemaids always pulling up their dresses. I hope they see in the video how ridiculous they actually look. I was encouraged though recently when I went to the mall and saw a wedding shop that had some beautiful dresses with sleeves. I pray that the strapless trend is on the way out.

Anonymous said...

I do not like immodest weddings. I too have gasped and hung my head at the blatant nakedness paraded before a captive audience. It is embarrassing to everyone the way these girls show off their breasts and their flesh, hoping someone will see how sexy they are. They might as well be at a nightclub, as there is no difference in the clothes and the music.

Anonymous said...

I teach in a Catholic elementary school in Ireland, where the girls wear a school uniform but on the day of their confirmation are allowed to wear an outfit of their choice. Years ago girls used to be confirmed in a long white dress and perhaps even a veil, similar to communion. However I think, that particular tradition, along with a lot of other lovely ones and all the best and most beautiful hymns disappeared after the second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Anyway after the garments in which some of them turned up a few years ago, the school changed its policy and now the girls wear school uniform on the day.

Incidentally when I got married last year I had to have my dress made as I couldn't find anything with long sleeves in a style I liked. Incidentally I chose pale blue, a nice alternative to white, blue was the traditional colour of purity and of course it's Our Lady's colour.

Lydia said...

I see this same trend regarding proms and other important events for girls. Years ago they wore the fluffiest, prettiest, fullest dress they could find. Now they follow the trend of bare back and bare bodice with no sleeves or even straps. Strapless or with straps, it is still really immodest. You do not have to wear a wedding dress from that selection. YOu can use any shade or hue you like, and you can find another kind of formal outfit that is not sold as a wedding dress. I know people who have worn pretty wedding suits from JC Penny catalog, that were for the mother of the bride or for other members of the wedding party, because they were pretty and modest. The wedding dresses cost way too much for what you get, and they are so uncomfortable that the bride often changes out of it right away after the wedding.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother was married in 1930. She had a simple, prettier-than-"everyday", light colored suit. She had her portrait made in it, which is on my wall, and then that dress is what she wore for years after, when she would sing in church.

She used to look at me and say, "When I got married, I had three or four dresses, and had to make do. Three were for everyday, and the other (her wedding dress), I wore to church. That was enough to keep clean, and we were happy".

I thought about that a lot last year, when I started sewing myself some dresses. I didn't have time to make a lot of them, because my children are little. I made just a few, and wore them over and over, but I was happier than if I had a million store-bought things that didn't suit me or my job "in the home".

Now I am on a sewing blitz to make some new dresses for spring. I am making a lot of the "Everyday Dress" pattern from Cindy Taylor Oates, because it doesn't require a lot of fitting, and it's very comfortable. I am very pleased with it.

But I am thankful that I had this memory of my grandma that helped me be confident with having to make do with a little. It's possible that some other people I knew were embarrased on my behalf, but I wasn't embarrased at all, I thought of it as normal, and now I have a little time to make more. The experience endeared me to the memory of my grandmother.

Lydia said...

I have not heard of those patterns but would be very interested in knowing more about them. I am currently thinking of sewing the Jennie Chancey romantic pattern, which was designed Molly's dresses in Wives and Daughters. The girl who comes here weekly has made at least 6 of them, and she is only 12. They look like the perfect dress on her--not too low, and with a few adjustments, a perfect fit.

June Fuentes @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home said...

This summer my daughters and I will spend it sewing dresses and quilts, etc. I have a regency pattern from Jennie Chancey that I was thinking the girls and I could try out. I am so inspired by her new Sensibility site. So much to learn!

Many blessings...

Rosemary UK said...

When I married in 1968 every dress had a high neckline and long sleeves with a beautiful point over the back of the hand.I had a dress like this,full length with a train and made of crystal embroidered satin.I still have the dress and veil and tiara.Every bride looked modest and attractive.I really dislike these modern dresses that expose everything and I don't think they are appropriate for such an occasion.They come into the same category as pregnant women wearing tight clothes,and sometimes even exposing bare flesh between their upper and lower garments.

Lydia said...

Rosemary in UK, I am always happy to get a post from the UK. My relatives, the Brookings, were originally from the UK and there is a Brooking society located there.

Your comment about the pointed sleeve cuffs reminded me of this Victoria Jones pattern, so I posted a picture of it at the end of the article.

I think the wedding dresses follow the trends in general every day wear. They just make it of satin and lace, even though it is copying the cheap tee shirt styles. That is the way the designers have always fooled people. By putting underwear into outwear fabrics, they make people think they can wear it in public. What was underwear a hundred years ago is now outwear. That does not mean we have to accept it. I dont think we should allow ourselves to be dictated to any longer by the pop fashion designers. I cant understand how some of them, though making millions of dollars, cannot add more fabric to the wedding gowns. What can a sleeve cost? What can a neckline or bodice cost?

Anonymous said...

I was married in 1969 and my empire style wedding gown sleeve pattern had the point over the back of the hand.

It looked almost Renaissance in appearance. I went farther forming a three tier hip length veil attached to a wreath that came to a point on my forehead. The pattern also featured a round slightly scooped neck and a train attached at the shoulder instead of the waist.

I believe if the pattern companies received enough requests they might be persuaded to bring back the modest patterns of years past or at least choose designs that had a more modest appearance.

Some of these old patterns still exist and can be found in thrift stores and yard sales and can be purchased for pennies. I still have mine.

Lydia the patterns and dresses you share with us are gorgeous and really show the modesty factor.
Thank you for doing that, I love the new dress you just featured with the flounce around the neck, the fitted waistline and the full cuffed sleeves. So feminine.

Anonymous said...

I found the "Everyday Dresses" pattern after seeing it on Jennie Chancey in her LAF article on making homemade bread (a long time ago). If you Google "Oates Everyday Dresses", Jennie's article appears, along with many places to buy the pattern.

The sleeves are really big, but you can do a lot of things with them to make them fit better (turn them up into a cuff, cut them a bit shorter and put some elastic around the opening, etc.) The roominess at the drop shoulder makes it really comfortable.

I used a lot of topstitching to give the dress a finished look, and feel very happy with them for "everyday".

The romantic pattern you mentioned is my favorite type of dress. I just bought a similar pattern from Baker Lane - "Changing Seasons". I don't need maternity right now, but the dress can be cut with no pleats for a non-maternity dress. I have not put it together yet, but I cut out two, and will be sewing them soon!

Anonymous said...

I read this post just before I went to my little brother's wedding last weekend. I had only met his bride once so had no opportunity to discuss her prospective attire with her but my first thought when I read the post was that I hope she and her attendants have modest dresses. Well, I was sorely dissapointed. Her dress was lovely but lacked straps of any kind but at least her whole cleavage was covered. However the two bridesmaids were an entirely different matter. They wore satin clingy (though to the floor) dresses of which their bodice left nothing to the imagination. the straps were thin and crossed over at the back to join the rest of the dress down near the waist, exposing their whole back. The worst of it was the front of the bodice. The material came down in a very deep plunge neckline to below the breasts exposing the whole cleavage and a large part of the inner part of hte breasts. I was so embarassed for them. I knew that the bride's sister was one of the bridesmaids and had a 6wk old baby so even though I had never met her it was immediately apparent which one she was, as there was no mistaking the look of a new mother's bust. I was ashamed to look. The worst of it was that noone else seemed to have a problem with it and kept commenting on how beautiful they all looked. I know I'm a bit abnormal in my family being a very traditional conservative Catholic where the rest of them are very modern Pentecostal Protestants, but I really was quite disgusted that others thought this appropriate. Something that I hope would never be allowed in my church. I was grateful that my husband wasn't subjected to the sight, as he had stayed home to look after our 4 older children while I flew interstate with our youngest for two nights to attend the wedding. I guess all I can do it teach my children the virtue of modesty and try and protect my own family's eye's from such specktacles.