Finding My Dream Wedding Dress
Damaged with missing beads. A ripped inner skirt. Lace that’s old fashioned. She’s not as beautiful as the others. She’s used.
And she only cost me Php3,000.
Because I was growing emotionally attached to a cheap gown, I started calling it a “she.” The manager of the alteration shop called me to talk about her. “Are you sure you want to fix this dress?”
Days of scrolling through endless online pages had led me to a dress shop in faraway Marikina. All the ready-to-wear stores in my city had the potential to break my wallet. Meanwhile, hiring a designer for a custom-made gown was an unlikely possibility. It would take at least 6 months to create a dress from scratch.
I only had a limited budget.
I only had less than 2 months till my wedding day.
When I found the Php3,000-worth wedding dress, I was ecstatic. She had a beaded bodice, an elegant v-cut neckline, and a great flowy skirt that was my dream style. Her measurements were exact for my frame; it was like she was made for me.
But she was broken.
The Broken Gown
“Your gown has a lot of stains; it looks like it was stored for a long time.” The manager said, genuinely concerned about my choices. She noted everything wrong about the gown; everything ugly about it.
Damaged with missing beads, ripped skirt lining, old fashioned lace, loose threads, weak ribbons, and rust-colored blemishes. Those blemishes were the worst parts.
I brought my thrift gown to the alteration shop, hoping to remove the old lace… but simply cutting the length wasn’t going to be enough.
To Fix Or Not To Fix?
“I doubt that dry cleaning can remove all the stains. It might cost you more to repair this dress than to get a new one. Are you sure you still want to push through with fixing your dress?” The concerned seamstress had a point.
Was I going to lose face, being too idealistic over the idea of restoring a second-hand gown? What if I settled with walking down the aisle, dressed in a stained dress? It would be easier to start with a new gown, one that was already perfect from the beginning.
The gown itself is of less worth than a brand new one. The cost of restoring her was becoming worth more. But then a compelling reminder came over me…
From Salvation to Restoration
I was reminded of John 3:16 where the verse shows us that God didn’t abandon a broken world but came to save it.
Isn’t this how God saw us, too? He knew what we were–broken and missing some parts. Just like this wedding gown, we weren’t worth much. We could’ve been as cheap as a 3,000 peso-worth wedding dress compared to a Holy God who breathed beauty and perfection.
But despite beholding all our mistakes and imperfections…to Him, we were still worth it (Romans 5:8).
His sacrifice was worth more than we were. When He exchanged His life for ours, it was like trading gold for a lump of clay. His life for our flawed souls. His unrelenting pursuit for our fickle hearts. (2 Corinthians 5:21).
It cost Him more to invite a mere human into a grand relationship with Him.
It was pricier to redeem us than to start over… the same way that it’s costing me to restore this dress.
A Veil To Cover the Stains
“Go ahead and fix it,” I told the alteration shop.
As they repaired my wedding dress, I asked another supplier to create a veil with stars. A sparkling, celestial veil could cover whatever remaining stains my dress might have. The gown wouldn’t have to rely solely on her own design to be beautiful anymore.
And yeah, I knew she’d need intense cleaning, the kind that wouldn’t ruin her fragile beadwork.
After a lot of research, I contacted a laundry shop called Reviva, which was a name that was surprisingly apt. My wedding gown was in desperate need of reviving. I’m pretty sure it needed a resurrection from how dead it originally appeared.
It may have cost me more to clean her, but she was coming together to tell a greater love story after all.
“The manager told us to add more crystals,” one of the seamstresses told me. It was time to pick up my gown from the alteration shop, and when they presented my gown, my heart leapt. I got teary-eyed.
In the places where my gown lost her beads—in the places where threads were torn—they placed numerous, glinting crystals. She didn’t look like her old self. My gown sparkled; she had stars in her cloth.
It reminded me of how God really doesn’t just stop at “saving” a person (I John 3:1). Just like a secondhand dress, He can take broken people and love them to wholeness, making them stronger—and more beautiful—than who they once were. (Ezekiel 37:1-10; Isaiah 61:1-3). He does not abandon torn hearts; He restores people into completion, turning them into a beautiful display for His glory (Philippians 1:6).
And despite my gown’s stains, the laundry shop took care of her, cleaning her to the point that her dirty-white color became a striking shade of pearl-white.
It was suddenly a reminder of how God also takes away our mistakes and shame. He removes our stains, creating a fresh start (Psalm 51:7). Even though a heart may feel dirty over a dark past, True Love makes a person completely pure again. God doesn’t give up on people, no matter how broken or how lost they may be (Psalm 147:3).
Fortunately, my wallet didn’t burn a hole from all the expenses. Overall costs still ended up cheaper than buying a new dress!
Journeying with this wedding gown was like living a Cinderella story. I was holding a tangible reminder of how True Love can turn something broken into something beautiful.
Thank you to the suppliers who made my dream gown a reality ❤
Wedding Veil: Wedding Stockroom
Wedding Gown Repairs: Alterations South
Wedding Gown Cleaning: Reviva Luxury Garment Care
Photography: Ram Marcelo Photography
HMU: Phyl Lunzaga Makeup
Our Wedding Blog:
https://paulandpauline2022.wordpress.com (Visit our blog to get discounts from Reviva Dry Cleaning Services)
Nicole is part-nerd and part-artist. She’s a passionate speech pathologist, writer, dreamer, occasional ventriloquist, and a total geek for stories. She dances through words and writes to speak life to readers. She also regularly blogs at https://nicolegusto.com