DEAR TKB: “How do I break this news to my mother.” | Also: a French Bulldog’s Top 4 Fave Summer Activities

Shark Week means emotional posts.  Please just deal with it ok.

It’s the latter half of Tuesday, on this super balmy day in nyc, Memorial Day weekend is over (I know, sorry), and I have a HULK SMASH of a Dear TKB to share with you.  

It’s a HULK SMASH because I feel it’s one of those rare moments when a reader question meets a uniquely apropos photographer submission and the photographer’s photos HULK SMASH the question with their furious relevance.  It’s a very serendipitous occurrence despite the violent name I’ve given it.

EB of Two Bird Studio submitted the shoot that makes this post what it is, so I’m loving EB right now FO SHO.  And FYI, Bambino lolz are at the bottom of this post but don’t scroll down yet!  … ok, I’m assuming you scrolled down.  But that you’ve come back to meet me here and check out the post.  Fantastic!  Sensational.

Today’s question you’re about to read regards a woman’s insurmountable guilt over wanting to reject her mama’s wishes, but also not wanting to.  Now, as always, I do ask you to let her know your thoughts if you’re willing to offer any, especially seeing as my answer is not the result of any personal experience with this situation so, as you can see, I’M SUPER QUALIFIED.  Ok, here we go!


I’m getting married next year :) We started planning in May and it’s been great except for ONE thing that I’m allowing to cause me A LOT OF ANXIETY. (I feel selfish even writing it out…) My mom wants me to wear her wedding dress down the aisle, and I don’t want to. 

It’s not something she constantly pressures me about, I just know based on how she brings it up that she would really like me to wear it. I have Major guilt about hurting her feelings so I haven’t told her yet how I feel. Which I know is bad. But I feel like a brat for not being thankful for everything she offers me, since none of us are rolling in it.

She tells me that whatever decision I make, she just wants me to be happy BUT like I said she bring it up every once in a while, and how it fits me “just right.” Which is frustrating because in my head that shouldn’t automatically mean it’s the obvious choice, but what do I know. I would just really love to be able to wear something I picked out, or at least have more of a say in it. And I’m completely willing to buy it myself–I really am not a little brat!

I’m trying to wait it out and see if I might change my mind or maybe figure out a way to make us both happy, but in a scenario that doesn’t involve me wearing her dress on my wedding day.

Is there a way to meet in the middle? 

The idea of hurting her feelings has been getting me pretty depressed lately, and I just want to be feeling happy with her while we plan.

Any and all advice is welcome. I appreciate you taking the time to read my question.

-Sleepless in Seattle

Dear Sleepless in Seattle (<— awesome, by the way. awesome.)

We all have moments in life, where we’ll be taking a walk or sitting down on a bench outside, just zoning out, maybe reading the paper.  Seemingly out of nowhere, a memory from a day long past will sail into view and take over for a bit in our minds.  For no good reason other than the inherent goodness of the memory and the feelings it brings.  Whenever this happens to me, I smile.  I get all filled up with warmth and feel less alone in the world.  I get happy that the memory is there; that I have it for calling upon, as needed.  And these memories usually have a way of visiting when we’re in need of them.  They stockpile themselves in what I’ll call, our “Love Tank.”  (Not to be confused with Real Housewife of Orange County Vicki’s Love Tank.  But speaking of Vicki’s Love Tank, I wonder if a therapist has ever revealed to her that her Love Tank will never be full because it is in reality a coping mechanism, directly linked to her deep-seated feelings of abandonment and lack of worth?  I wonder.  You know I bet not, based on what I’ve seen of her behavior.  Which is that of a baby’s behavior.  (YES I WATCH RHOOC AND HAVE FOR THE DURATION; IT’S A GUILTY PLEASURE SUE ME.)

Anyway, these kinds of ‘happy’ memories are usually the result of decisions we or others had to make – easy or hard – to do certain things for ourselves or for the people we love.  Even the tiniest gestures, when hatched, can become lifelong memories.

Now.  Like any self-respecting person, you want your wedding to be your wedding.  But you also want others to feel that their desires are important to you.  And out of love and respect, you want these other people to feel heard and feel important.  But what starts out as a beautiful sentiment, often translates into a supremely difficult task when attempting to implement… because trying to please too many people at one time usually doesn’t please anyone, or pleases everyone BUT you.

Ok, so what do we do?  Well, here are two things I think might be good options, and don’t worry neither of them include swallowing your feelings and wearing your mother’s dress on your wedding day:

1. You can be real and let your mother know how you feel.  If she’s an understanding person, she’ll understand.  Maybe she just needs to hear you say it.  Sometimes our worst fears are just that… our worst fears.  Not the reality.

2. You can honor your mother’s wishes in a slightly alternative way, and wear your mom’s frock in a separate shoot to feature the dress itself.  Or you can even have a mini shoot on your wedding day before things get underway (IF YOU HAVE THE TIME; GOTTA MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE TIME OTHERWISE YOU’LL GET OVERWHELMED).

K, let’s get to the oh-so-relevant pictures now, shall we?  Here’s a quick explanation of why this shoot came to be, from EB, the incredible photographer who worked with Megan and Kellen to bring these shots to our eyes:

“Megan and Kellen wanted a way to honor their families, so we did a shoot in Megan’s mom’s wedding dress. Megan’s fiancee Kellen wore the watch his dad got married in.”


On a typical day, Bambino enjoys many things. These things include but are not limited to: running, dancing, running out of breath, hugging children’s faces, hugging Great Danes’ faces, hugging peoples’ upper thighs with his tiny arms and even tinier paws, galavanting, being a freaking WEIRDO:

Finding himself terribly handsome:

Speaking to invisible traveling companions:

And passing out cold:

Bambino is the best thing that ever happened to us, by the way.  I don’t know if I’ve said that yet.

Okie dokie… so here’s what I’d love to know:

1) Do you have any thoughts regarding Sleepless in Seattle’s dress situation?


Side personal note: If my Mom had actually worn a wedding dress the day she got married, I would seriously consider taking a page from this bride’s book on life for my upcoming wedding.  Because it is beyond words how much of a sustained impact those images stand to have on a bride and her mother.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.  And hope you had a pleasant weekend!

xoxo  - Alison

Photography: Two Bird Studio

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column

Love all of this...


  1. Erin on May 29, 2012

    What if you wore your mothers veil, or incorporated part of her dress into your new dress?

  2. Hi Sleepless in Seattle, Alison & Bambino,

    First of all to Bambino, yes, he is absolutely handsome!

    Speaking as a one time bride and a mother. I was just wondering if there was any possible way of using your mom’s wedding dress to make something that you could wear in the pictures? Perhaps, a stole, a jacket or something.

    The best way to introduce this idea would be to say to your mom how you really wanted to wear her dress but you also wanted to have your own, and how you have really been thinking a lot about it because you want to make both of you happy, then come out with the idea about incorporating it somehow.

    Of course, you have to figure out first how it can be incorporated. I am sure that your mom probably doesn’t really expect you to wear it, but is hoping that you will and if she hints long enough you might give in.

    Don’t let her guilt you into it. It is your day and you should wear what you want. But if you could come up with some wonderful way to incorporate it and then you bring up the subject first, it might make everyone happy.

    If not, the idea of doing separate pictures with it on might work, although it sounds like a lot of extra work to me.

  3. bridal girl on May 30, 2012

    Great photo shoot you had here. I especially like that classic feel into it.

  4. Suknie ślubne Kraków on May 30, 2012

    Amazing dress! Hope to find similar in Poland!

  5. Kelly on May 30, 2012

    If she’s open to the dress being cut up, what about making the flower girl dress(s) out of it? A friend’s sister did this and it turned out beautifully. Either way you need to tell her you will be wearing a new dress of your choosing. It is VERY clear that’s what you truly want and you do not want to look back at your wedding day with regret. Your mom loves you regardless. She may be upset initially but none of it will matter when she sees how happy you are in the dress you buy.

  6. Ugh. Vicki and her FREAKING love tank. UGH.

    Obviously, I have a lot of feelings.

    Anyway, wedding dress. How attached is your mom to the idea of you wearing it in it’s whole and unchanged form? Because I’ve seen brides do some AMAZING things with vintage wedding dresses. If your mom approves, could you take it to a dress maker and have it fashioned into something more you (AND new)? Or maybe use part of it (lace or silk or beading) and incorporate it into a dress YOU love?

    Try phrasing it this way to your mom: It’s SO important to me to incorporate your dress into my wedding day, but I’ve absolutely fallen in love with THIS style of dress. I had an idea about a way I could have it both ways…[insert your plan for altering her dress].

    Hopefully the fact that you’re so excited about the idea will be contagious. Maybe you could even incorporate her in the designing part so she feels even more involved? Either way, it sounds like your mom is super sweet, and when she sees you in ANY wedding dress, I’m sure she’ll love it.

    Good luck!

  7. Cassie | Meet Mrs. B on May 30, 2012

    I read this last night and I legitimately had to sleep on it before the idea came to me!

    I remember a friend’s wedding where she had all these dress forms outside the reception hall with her mother’s, the groom’s mother’s, her grandmother’s and so on and so forth…she had all their wedding dresses on display!

    It’s not necessarily the same thing as wearing your mom’s dress, but it would be a great way to honor all the women in your life AND showcase her dress!

    Oh that we could all be so lucky to frolic in a meadow with pretty dresses and handsome husbands. This shoot is STELLAR!

    But yes…Bam kills me every time. Every time.

  8. Marie on May 30, 2012

    I also LOVE the idea of the dress being on display at the wedding. My grandmother and grandfather did this at their 50th wedding anniversary. It was really special and now I have her wedding dress tucked away. Heirlooms are a great way to feel connected to the past. Then if that tradition is started your dress will become part of the display one day.

  9. Janna (Sparkly Love) on May 30, 2012

    I wonder if Megan’s mom got married in the early 80s, cuz my mom wore that same dress and the hat I can see in the picture she’s holding. Glad I didn’t get married then lol!

    Anywho, in regards to Sleepless in Seattle: don’t wear the dress. It’s obviously stressing you out! There’s plenty to stress about when planning a wedding, so let’s find a way to remedy this one. I’ve seen lots of brides use fabric/lace from their mother’s dress to wrap their bouquet in or to create a pretty flower to wear in their hair. Both are very sweet touches if you have a mama who will let you take some snips from her wedding dress. I had my parents wedding pictures at my wedding (we had pictures of both of our parents cutting the cake at their wedding on our cake table) and maybe pictures incorporated in some way would make your mom happy? I think it’s best to just tell her that the great memories she has of her wedding day and her wedding dress are the same great memories you want of your own day and your own dress. She obviously has fond memories of the dress if she wants you to wear it. Work with her to find a way to incorporate the feeling of the dress, without having to wear the dress. Good luck!!!

  10. Kpoene on May 30, 2012

    I own a custom wedding gown label in Chicago, Mignonette Bridal, and we regularly revamp vintage gowns for customers who want to wear mom’s dress but want it modernized as well. Look online for local wedding gown designers, or find someone on Etsy who can help turn mom’s 1970′s prairie gown into something straight off the runway.

  11. Lena on May 30, 2012

    This is perfect advice. Not that you ever give anything other, but still. Just perfect. My mom wore her mom’s gown, and while it wasn’t preserved well enough to really wear, I’d love to find a way to prance around in that antique beauty!

  12. Rhiannon on May 30, 2012

    I suppose this would be the opposite of the Motherly issues I face when I was a bride. But as Lena mentioned above you sure do give some amazing advice, Al. Oh and might I add the mister and I are looking into a frenchie of our own. A girl. Perhaps we can arrange play dates? Just throwing that out there.

  13. Alyson on June 1, 2012

    I think the idea of a photoshoot to highlight her mother’s gown is a great suggestion. She could also think about wearing it to her rehearsal or rehearsal dinner. I’ve had a couple friends who did that and they were able to incorporate their mothers’ gowns and also be themselves on their own wedding day.

    Just a thought! Good luck!

  14. Estefy on June 22, 2012

    I don’t know if you’ve made a decision yet, but I like both Allison’s idea where you just wear it in a shoot OR where you revamp it and make it your own, with her blessing of course. I hope it works out, it sounds like there is a definite compromise to be found though, and it will be fine. <3

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