You see, I love my wedding dress. I love what it represents, who bought it for me, and who I wore it for.
I fondly remember the day we went searching for it. I was living in Winnipeg in an apartment on Stradbrook. My mom came into the city that day for one main purpose: To find the dress her only daughter would be married in. My two bridesmaids kindly joined us on the journey. I was ecstatic.
I quickly found out that there are A LOT of nice dresses out there. We found so many that I liked, it seemed the choice was going to be difficult. Until we found it. The One. I remember stepping out of the change room wearing what probably was the 30th dress of the day, and the room fell silent. I admit, I thought it was gorgeous too, but after seeing the price tag I wasn't planning on getting too attached. My mom got all teary, and I told her no, I wouldn't go for her spending more than what we agreed what was reasonable. The sales lady (witnessing this breath taking moment and a sale) quickly charmed in with a discount. I saw myself in the mirror, my mom's misty eyes, the looks on my bridesmaids' faces and knew. This was The One. Hands down. I loved it.
I still cherish pictures of when we went out and found it that day. Even more exciting was the dress fittings, and finally the day I got to take it home to my parents'. But, as we all know, the best day, the best day of my life, was when I wore it to marry Tom. I loved it.
Last year I traveled back to Costa Rica to visit some close friends. I was excited to learn that a granddaughter of Macha, our 'Costa Rican mother', was set to be married. I rejoiced with them. Then Macha, my beloved Costa Rican mother who I grew to love dearly, asked me one of the hardest questions I've ever had to answer. "Can we please use your dress for the wedding?"
You see, in Costa Rica, it's the family's responsibility to provide the wedding garments, food, decorations...The whole kit and caboodle for the wedding. And, not unlike here, it takes a lot of resources. Most families simply cannot afford to buy a wedding dress, so dresses are rented from families who could afford to purchase one. This family in particular, could not afford to purchase one. Even the cost of renting could be burdening.
"Can we please use your dress for the wedding?"
I must admit, a million excuses of why not ran through my mind. The cost of professional cleaning, the risk of shipping, potential problems at customs, the fact that it's in my parents' basement in another city (meaning I would have to ship it to Montreal first, then down to CR)... But I knew what the right, and only answer was. Because, seriously, it was sitting in my parent's basement, in another city. Surely, my beloved dress, purchased and worn in love, had a higher calling than THAT.
My mom brought it with her the next time she came to visit us in Montreal. And one day soon thereafter I finally mustered up the courage to walk it down to the post office. Not before taking a million pictures first, of course. Tears roll down my face as I boxed it up.
It was my prayer that the next bride (and every bride there after) would feel as beautiful in it as I did. May she be equally as blessed as I on her wedding day. And may my mother know in her heart that the dress she so sacrificially bought for me, not only made me feel like a princess on the best day of my life, but also gave that feeling to a young lady in Central America on her wedding day. I know this because the bride called me this afternoon (via Facetime of all things!) to tell me just that.