17 August 2011

Why do brides dress the way they do?

I used this video a few days ago. But I want to look at one particular part of it: a wedding 2:40 into the video. The bride is wearing a strapless dress. I have seen brides dressed in this way in different countries. It always embarrasses me because I know that most of them would never go to Mass on any other occasion wearing a similar dress. Why do they dress this way on one of the most important days in their life?

Irishman Percy French, one of the first persons I hope to meet in heaven, wrote Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea in 1896, a song I have been known to sing on occasion. One of the stanzas goes:

I believe that when writin' a wish you expressed
As to how the fine ladies in London were dressed
Well if you'll believe me, when asked to a ball
They don't wear no top to their dresses at all
Oh I've seen them meself and you could not in truth
Say that if they were bound for a ball or a bath
Don't be startin' them fashions, now Mary machree
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

I wonder what he would have made of church weddings today!


Anonymous said...

Check out my daughter Jennifer's perfectly modest & dignified strapless dress @


Allison said...

Father Sean: I think individual pastors could set the parameters for weddings held in their churches, yes?

As for me, I am thinking that bride's dress was not so immodest - compared with what I have seen teen girls and young adult women wear.

Thank God that couple chose to have a Catholic wedding. So many couples chose to not marry at all, much less in a Catholic church.

God bless you and your work.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Jackie, I don't consider Jennifer's wedding dress as strapless. Strapless for me is as worn by the bride in the video. Maybe her father couldn't 'shoulder the expenses'! LOL.

Allison, thanks for your perspective. Yes, it is right and proper to support a couple who decide to get married in church. We had a synod in our diocese a few years ago. One of many resolutions, as I recall, was a gentle 'no' to strapless dresses. However, at the first wedding I attended after the synod, with the Vicar General officiating, the bride wore a strapless dress.

Anonymous said...

Father I completely agree. Sadly the virtue of modesty has been thrown out the window in the last few decades.