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Something OLD, something NEW again: Bridal gowns take another spin down
the aisle

By KELLY ONANIAN
GateHouse News Service
Wedding Brunch organizer Cindy Goodman, left, catches up on old times with friend Sarah Chick. Photo by Kelly Onanian

Forget those $200 True Religion jeans, it’s the wedding ensemble - gown, shoes, veil, purse, undergarments and other accessories - that is one of the most expensive a woman may wear in her lifetime.

With an average cost of about $800, the dress alone can be a pricey prospect for something that is only worn once.

After her sister spent a couple hundred on her wedding gown, Cindy Goodman, 36, of Wareham said she was frustrated that she’d never again wear the dress.

So Goodman decided to throw a “Wedding Dress Brunch” in which guests were required to wear a wedding dress, a bridesmaid dress or mother-of-the-bride dress.

Goodman said the idea percolated in 2000 when she got married. “I said, ‘What am I ever going to do with this dress that I spent all this money on?’ I figured when everyone had one I should have a party,” Goodman said.

Fast-forward seven-and-a-half years and the party finally came to fruition.

“I ended up pregnant three months after my wedding, so the party fell to the wayside, and then I had another baby. Finally, seven years later I said, ‘That’s it! I’m booking a date.’”

On a recent rainy Sunday afternoon, dozens of Goodman’s friends filled her home in dresses they either owned or borrowed.
Guests at the Wedding Party Brunch, organized by Cindy Goodman of Wareham, show off their bridal outfits, along with some new accessories. Photo by Kelly Onanian

“As long as they walk in the door with the dress somehow on their body they can come in. That’s the whole point,” said Goodman.

Rhea Harkins of Wareham had fun with the idea and came in a creative ensemble.

“I bought a Victorian slip from the Buzzards Bay Antique Co. and they let me borrow an antique veil and white leather gloves,” Harkins said.

“One neat thing about the party was that I was not at all of the other girls’ weddings and it was fun to see what kind of gown they chose for their wedding day and their style,” Harkins said.

Goodman’s sister, Statia Andrade of Wareham, wore her gown, even though it required a bit of duct tape to keep it zipped in the back.

Andrade married her husband barefoot on the beach, so this time she wore bright orange sneakers.

The cover of Bride's magazine from March 1970, when it cost $1.00. The gown pictured is the one chosen by Dorothy Breton, who recently attended a Wedding Dress Brunch.

“This is a cool idea,” said Andrade. “I’m glad Cindy finally had the party and it’s great to be able to wear my dress again and have fun with it.”

Dorothy Breton of Wareham never imagined she would be able to show off the dress she wore when she married her husband, Bruce Breton, 38 years ago.

She came in the mother-of-the bride dress she wore to her daughter’s recent wedding and brought her wedding gown and headpiece to the party in a box along with the 1970 issue of Bride’s magazine, which featured her gown on the cover.

“All the memories are flashing right back. It feels like I was married yesterday,” Breton said.

“It’s nice the way all the other girls are enjoying my dress and the way they responded that I brought it. I was able to show some of them who are not yet married that the styles today are what you saw back in the ’70s, with the empire waist. It’s also nice to have someone like me here who is still married after all these years,” she said.

Goodman said the best part about the day was being reunited with friends she had not seen in a while.

“It’s the end of winter, not much to do. It’s a perfect way to get everybody together that you don’t see often enough,” she said.

So what does her husband think about her party idea?

“He just said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t go out in the front yard so the neighbors see all of you.’”