There are few pieces of clothing that are as steeped in tradition and hold such vivid memories as the wedding dress. Whether old, new, borrowed or blue, women around the world would agree there is a story behind every dress.
In the new book, My Wedding Dress: True-Life Tales of Lace, Laughter, Tears and Tulle, 26 writers share their struggles and joys of finding the perfect dress.
The idea for the collection originated five years ago when Susan Whelehan and Anne Laurel Carter were sitting around Whelehan’s kitchen table with a group of fellow writers.
“We sat together and wrote about our wedding dresses. All of us were very impressed by what this prompt brought out in us,” said Carter. “I knew it was a good idea for an anthology.”
Carter and Whelehan pitched the idea to Random House, which led the publishing house to ask some of their in-house writers to contribute stories. They also contacted Writer’s Unions looking for a variety of stories.
“We had very hard selection meetings,” said Carter. “We received more than 80 stories.”
One of the stories selected was The Wedding Promise written by Jenny Manzer. She lost her mother to cancer the day before her wedding, but went ahead with the ceremony because she promised her mother she would. “We were all so sure about what my mother would have wanted it didn’t occur to us to not have the wedding.”
Carter said it was critical for her to find different voices from different cultural backgrounds.
“The dress is a symbol of how we see ourselves. It can really be a statement,” said Carter. “I think every woman who reads the stories will respond in a similar way.”