In My Words: A Wedding Gown Revisited

I hadn’t seen my wedding gown in almost 32 years.

You read that right: 32 years. I celebrate my 32nd wedding anniversary with my husband Rob on May 24.

With my book launch celebration slated for May 5 (just a couple of days ago), I decided it was time to unpack my wedding gown. Why? In Wish You Were Here, my debut novel, the heroine’s wedding gown is almost a secondary character.

Women spend a lot of time searching for the perfect wedding gown. Then again, sometimes they find themselves wishing they hadn’t said yes to the dress. That’s exactly how my heroine Allison feels about her dress, which she thinks of as a “walking fire code violation”  a “designer debacle” and, oh yeah, a “silken tsunami.”

Unlike Allison, I felt beautiful in my wedding gown, which included a hoop skirt because, well, how romantic is that? 

At my celebration this past Saturday I displayed my wedding gown on a dress form — right next to a beautiful wedding cake made by my friend, Wendy. It was fun to tell people that was my dress.

And then … I shared the mystery we unpacked with my gown. Inside the box was my pristine dress, my simple wedding veil … and some other bride’s wedding veil.


It’s a lovely, expensive long lace veil, complete with an ornate crown. And I have no idea who it belongs to or how to find the owner. Sounds like the beginning of a novel, doesn’t it?

In Your Words: Yes, that’s me holding the mystery veil (my husband has my veil). If you’re married, did you find your perfect gown? If you’re not yet married — do you have a dream gown in mind? What would you do if you found a mystery veil hidden in the box with your wedding gown?

**I’ve started a website photo gallery of readers/friends in their wedding gowns. I’d love for you to send me your photo to add to the collection! Please send the photo to [email protected]**

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  1. Heidi Larson Geis
    May 8, 2012, 12:50 am   /  Reply

    Aw, your dress is beautiful!! I felt like a princess in mine. I knew exactly what I wanted, and after trying on the exact dress, I decided which features I didn’t like and the lady at the boutique found me one that exactly fit my “new” description. I tried it on and immediately knew it was The One. It was the perfect combination of silk, lace, and pearls. (Ironically, Allison’s dress sounds a LOT like mine!!) My mom was out of town (and my husband-to-be and I kept moving up the wedding date) so my DAD took me shopping for my dress. I think it made my mom a little sad, but it was pretty special to have my dad take me. (My mom got to shop with me for everything else.) And because I just ‘knew’ I wouldn’t be having daughters (I prayed daily for five sons; I stopped at two) I didn’t want to keep my dress. So, we put it out on consignment so another bride could enjoy it. We’ve been married almost 18 years and I’ve never been sorry I didn’t keep my dress. (I do still have my veil! That’s a whole other story!!) I often wonder who had my dress next, and if she’s still happily married. I know I am!! (And for the record, I had a hoop skirt too!! You’re right; it’s totally romantic!!)

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 6:29 am   /  Reply

      How special that your dad took you to try on your dress, Heidi. And I’m so intrigued that you had your heart set on sons — prayed for five and stopped at two!

      • Heidi Larson Geis
        May 10, 2012, 3:39 am   /  Reply

        LOL, Beth! I wanted five…until I actually had one. Then two was plenty. Boys are BUSY!! Besides, their heads just kept getting bigger and bigger…so I was literally afraid to have any more! My two are perfect…it’s hard to imagine what our life would’ve been like with more, especially given our accident. (Spencer was almost 11 and Sam was barely 8 at the time…my limitations would’ve been so much harder on younger children!) God knew what our family looked like. Besides, we sort of “adopted” two more older sons; one lived with us for two years at age 20, the other is married with three gorgeous redheads who firmly believe I’m their Grandma, so it’s all good! =)

  2. May 8, 2012, 3:10 am   /  Reply

    Your dress was gorgeous, Beth…and I’m so impressed that you can still wear it. Mine is just a couple of sizes smaller than I am today. And how hilarious is that – finding someone else’s veil stored away with your dress. I’m not sure what I would do. I’m guessing you had the dress cleaned and boxed up after the wedding. You might want to contact the cleaner, if you even remember who that was, to see if they remember a lost veil. But after 32 years, I doubt it. {it does sound like a future novel. =))

    Congratulations on 32 years.

    Yes. My dress was perfect. Exactly what I wanted. That was 39 years ago and I’m glad that the choices were not as great as they are today. I’d probably have a hard time making a decision.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 6:30 am   /  Reply

      I’m “mostly” in the dress … it’s not a perfect fit still.
      And yes, the dress was dry cleaned and preserved back in Maryland. I don’t think the dry cleaners exists anymore. There wasn’t a receipt or anything in the box … so, I’m at a dead end.

  3. May 8, 2012, 6:07 am   /  Reply

    Ooooh! A mystery veil. That would be a great start to a new book…now let’s see what I need to make it Romantic Suspense…
    I love your wedding dress and you look beautiful in it 32 years later!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 6:30 am   /  Reply

      Ah, Pat, your thinking, “What if, what if?” aren’t you?

  4. May 8, 2012, 7:10 am   /  Reply

    What absolute fun–yes maybe belongs in a novel. Lovely gown and lovely gal fitting into it. Plus love the pic of you and Rob w/ gorgeous veil . . . I wonder how you could ever solve that mystery . . .

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 7:52 am   /  Reply

      I keep wondering if I could solve the mystery too, Dee. I feel sorry that some woman doesn’t have her veil.

  5. Jeanne T
    May 8, 2012, 7:33 am   /  Reply

    What a fun story, Beth. Yes, my first thought was “What if…” when I read about the extra veil. Oh the places that story could go! 🙂

    BTW, your dress is lovely. On you! 🙂 Looks great.

    I loved my dress. I found it in a magazine, found a store that could order it, and believe it or not, it needed very little alteration back then. It was a perfect fit. My veil had a wrinkle that crossed my line of sight, and that was a little irritating. But I wasn’t going to let a wrinkle ruin my day. I don’t remember if anyone went shopping with me for my dress. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 7:53 am   /  Reply

      There’s a lesson in the “not letting a wrinkle ruin my day,” Jeanne.

  6. May 8, 2012, 7:56 am   /  Reply

    Wow! That’s crazy!

    I did find the perfect dress for me. It was a strapless (haha, my grandma calls them “topless” dresses…not quite, Grandma!) dress with small light pink flowers and beads sewn throughout. I don’t look good in stark white since I’m so pale myself, so the pink flowers added some color to my face. I struggled with whether to preserve my dress, but ended up donating it to a place that sold used wedding dresses and used the money to make terminally ill breast cancer patients’ wishes come true. It was sort of a tribute to my mom, I guess, who wasn’t able to be at my wedding. I still have the veil and tiara, though, and have loaned it out to several friends for their weddings.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 8:04 am   /  Reply

      I love what you did with your wedding gown, Lindsay — and that it was a tribute to your mother.

      And your grandmother calling strapless dresses “topless” dresses … that cracks me up.

  7. May 8, 2012, 8:08 am   /  Reply

    Somewhere some bride was freaking out! I’m so glad you had a great launch! Wedding cake sounds delish! 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 9:14 am   /  Reply

      I keep thinking of some poor woman wondering, “Where is my veil?!”
      And I heard so many people saying the cake was yummy, but, since it wasn’t gluten-free, I didn’t get to taste it for myself.

  8. May 8, 2012, 9:08 am   /  Reply

    I’m so glad I got to be there for your launch party. Your dress was lovely and you ARE lovely. I hope they mystery veil does become a story some day.

    I wanted a velvet dress when I got married but such a thing was only possible in my imagination it turned out. But I loved my dress, despite the fact that the woman in charge of my fittings told me I had birthing hips. Just what every bride wants to hear. But I had plenty of fabric to cover my hips, lots of Battenburg lace, and a formal train. Yes, it was probably closer to Allison’s dress than the classy, subdued styles popular today, but it was me.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 9:14 am   /  Reply

      I’ve seen your wedding photos. You were a stunning bride.
      And some people have no tact.

  9. May 8, 2012, 9:28 am   /  Reply

    What a fun thing to do at your book debut party! And the veil mystery is a definite story hook! I love the fancy gowns and probably dreamed of one at some point in my life, but I chose an outside wedding and a simple linen sheath with a Princess Diana type hat. Fun topic!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 9:36 am   /  Reply

      My son and daughter-in-love also had an outdoor wedding–and she chose a simple dress too. But she also wore a fur stole because it was a morning wedding in early May in Colorado — cold! It even snowed a little bit — tiny sparkling snowflakes. Lovely.
      I’d love to see a photo of you in your Princess Diana style hat.

  10. May 8, 2012, 9:38 am   /  Reply

    I helped my sister pick out her dress, and it became my dress 6 months later, though with a different veil. I love having that “same dress” connection with her!


    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 1:06 pm   /  Reply

      I think it’s wonderful that you and your sister wore the same dress, Debbie!

  11. Loree Huebner
    May 8, 2012, 10:38 am   /  Reply

    You are so beautiful in your wedding dress. Awesome!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 1:06 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you, Loree.

  12. May 8, 2012, 11:11 am   /  Reply

    I’ve heard wonderful things about your debut novel, Beth. Looking forward to reading it – it sounds so cute. =)

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 1:07 pm   /  Reply

      I had lots of fun writing Wish You Were Here — and just finished book #2, Catch a Falling Star. On to the next one(s.)

  13. May 8, 2012, 11:51 am   /  Reply

    Now the veil will be a secondary character in another book. How fun will that be? Maybe a book about women in countries who have to wear veils … they always fascinate me. We eloped so no dress, which made it twice as fun to go with our daughter to buy hers. Bought it right off the rack on the first day we went shopping and it was a perfect fit. When she walked out, her dad and I both said, “Awww, that’s the one.” Your dress is beautiful, and I love that you can still wear it!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 1:08 pm   /  Reply

      My oldest daughter got married last summer and my middle daughter is getting married this summer. (My youngest daughter is only 11 1/2, so no wedding any time soon.) I can still see the look on their father’s face when he saw them in their chosen gowns … that’s how we knew they had picked the right ones.

  14. May 8, 2012, 2:31 pm   /  Reply

    It was a gorgeous dress and a delicious cake (Hubby didn’t really get to try it, because of a new GF diet. Enzo and I cheated and ate a piece). Oddly my urge is to only hope the bride doesn’t open up her box and discover the missing veil. For each of my weddings, I wasn’t fond of the search for a wedding dress. For my first, I found a vintage dress from the 60s. For my second, I found a dress from Dillards online that was $400 cheaper than the same dress through a bridal shop. As an older bride for a second marriage, I focused more on the bridesmaid dresses, because I wanted something each could wear again. 🙂 Also way less stressed, rained on guests, enjoyed the food and cake, etc. Everyone said, “Well, we have a story to tell.”

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 2:46 pm   /  Reply

      I would have love to have cheated — but it’s not worth it to me at this point.
      I remember you posted some wedding photos on your blog recently … you looked lovely.

  15. May 8, 2012, 2:52 pm   /  Reply

    What an intriguing find–yes it would make a great story starter! Your dress looks beautiful and it sounds like your celebration was fun–wedding cake too. Yum. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 6:00 pm   /  Reply

      The book launch was a laugh-filled, family and friend-filled celebration. What I imagined — and more.
      Then we went out and celebrated my birthday — just family that time.

  16. Barb Geraghty
    May 8, 2012, 8:44 pm   /  Reply

    I can attest to how beautiful the dress was and how much more beautiful it was with Beth wearing it! Can’t believe it’s 32 years since that day–and the hoop barely fit in the back seat of my car as we whisked you and Rob away!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 8, 2012, 8:52 pm   /  Reply

      Yes, Barb, you can say you were there! And you were the getaway car too! Wow … that’s a memory. 🙂 Thanks for joining the conversation today and making me smile.

  17. May 9, 2012, 8:15 am   /  Reply

    How cool that you can still wear your wedding dress, Beth. It’s beautiful–just like you.

    I’m intrigued by the mystery veil. I wonder if Facebook could help you locate the owner. If you were to post a picture and the facts you know about the date the veil was stored, the dry cleaner’s name, etc., perhaps someone who knows someone who knows someone. . .could get the word to the right person and the veil could be returned to its owner. It could happen. If it did, that would be a story worthy of the nightly news.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 9, 2012, 8:32 am   /  Reply

      I’m on it, Keli.
      Really. You’ve motivated me.

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