Get The Picture? By Sherry Hopkins

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 30, 2010

Sherry Hopkins

‘Wedding Dress for Sale’ ad triggers imagination

Recently while looking through a Trade Winds magazine I came across an entry that seemed so sad to me that I could not get it out of my mind.

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The ad read, “ Wedding Dress for Sale.” The description followed that explained size, condition etc., but no explanation as to why it was for sale.

“How could a woman sell her wedding dress?” I pondered.

I have been married two times and neither time did I have a wedding dress. The dress and the symbolism have risen to near cult status in my mind.

When I was a young girl my sister and I had very sheer frilly white curtains in our bedroom. We would take the bottoms of the curtains and put them over our heads like a veil and pretend to be going to our wedding. A wedding and a dress were precious things to us even at that age.

The first time I married I was 17 years old and three months pregnant as I have relayed to you in the past. Hardly a need to wear a virginal white gown under those circumstances.

The next time I walked down the aisle was when I married Dear Don thirteen years later.

I wore an off white suit that did nothing for the occasion or me. It was suitable for a second wedding but just barely.

In the rush of all the planning I had forgotten to buy shoes so my best friend at the time ran to the department store to purchase the ones that I had my heart set on. When she arrived at the ceremony with the shoes one was a size smaller than the other. I had no choice but to wear them as presented. Time was a wasting. I must have been a sight.

So over the many years since the first wedding until now I have dreamed of a wedding dress.

A long white flowing dress like an angel from heaven would wear. It is simple and airy and I have a ring of daisies around my hair. I am young and innocent and barefoot.

Dear Don sees me for the first time that day and the look on his face as I walk towards him is the look for which I have longed.  

So how can you sell a wedding dress? What precipitates a woman to do such a thing?

Perhaps you are no longer with the man you walked the aisle in your beautiful dress for.

Perhaps you can’t recall those giddy schoolgirl butterflies you once had. You can’t remember vividly the memories of that special day.

Perhaps you have fallen out of love and that enchanting dress makes you feel badly.

I have no pictures of me in a wedding dress. I guess I never will. I contemplated buying one and renewing our vows for our upcoming thirtieth wedding anniversary. But somehow when you add in the wrinkles and the gray hair and the bare feet and the lack of innocence of a sixty-year-old woman the wedding dress looks a little over done.

So I try to put the image in one of the dusty, seldom-used file drawers of my brain. I only pull it out occasionally.

I am sorry for the woman who is selling her dress. Sorry that things didn’t turn out the way she had hoped they would. Life is like that. Seldom turning out like you had once thought.

But I have to say that, wedding dress aside, the twenty-eight years of my marriage that I have shared with Dear Don have been loving, caring and funny. They have been supportive and warm and protective and spontaneous. The look that I longed for at the end of the aisle on that special day is a look I still get everyday from the man I have spent my life with. I guess I only needed a wedding dress to have a good wedding. I needed a good man to have a good marriage

You get the picture.

(Contact award-winning columnist Sherry Hopkins at