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Wearing My Wedding Dress Every Anniversary

It has officially been thirteen years since our wedding day. Life has brought so many changes over the years, but one thing remains the same. Each year on our anniversary, I put on my wedding dress.

wearing wedding dress every anniversary lacing up the back of my wedding dress

Wearing my wedding dress every anniversary wasn’t planned

I never planned to wear my wedding dress every anniversary. Actually I initially planned on preserving my dress, like my mother had done.

I just never got around to ordering the kit after our wedding. Truthfully, I never even got my dress cleaned. (That’s terrible I know.)

So as we approached our first anniversary, my dress was still hanging in my closet. All the memories of our wedding were resting on its hems – along with salt water, dried from the ocean on our wedding day.

bride and bridesmaids laughing as the ocean waves move toward them beach wedding

How the anniversary wedding dress tradition was born

That first anniversary when I came home from work I went straight to my closet to take off my shoes.

When I stood up I was face-to-face with my wedding dress and couldn’t resist the idea of trying it on.

It would only be an hour before my husband would get home from work, so I decided to surprise him by greeting him at the door in my dress when he arrived home.

With that momentary decision a tradition was born.

Living the memories each year

Each time I take my wedding dress out of the bag, it instantly brings back memories of the years I’ve spent in it.

wedding dress hanging in bathroom

I immediately remember standing in a bridal store with my parents deciding this was “the one.” Then a smile comes across my face when I think back to our wedding day on the beach with so many people we love surrounding us.

beach wedding navy officer wearing wedding dress anniversary

Thoughts of our first home together come rushing in as I remember that first anniversary.

Then when I see the bustle loop that is torn, I am taken back to the year I danced around the living room with our dogs and our since passed greyhound got caught in the hem of the dress breaking the loop.

eating corndogs in the car at Sonic Drive-In while wearing a wedding dress on our anniversary

One look at my veil and I can’t help but to smile remembering the year my boys were certain I was a princess.

A small grease stain, added in year seven, brings back a trip to Sonic Drive-In for corndogs with the kids.

Dirt smudges on the back of the dress tell the story of year eight when we sat on the floor playing trains.

Wrinkles that haven’t fallen out over the last year remind me of the anniversary we celebrated during our month-long stay at a hotel between duty stations.

playing trains with my kids in my wedding dress on my anniversary

My dress shows signs of wear, but it also shows signs of life

In thirteen years of marriage we’ve had graduations, experienced medical emergencies, rejoiced in career advancement, embraced career changes, battled career disappointments, lived in rental homes, purchased two homes, survived home renovations, adopted several animals, said goodbye to loved ones, celebrated the birth of three children, welcomed three nephews and two nieces, endured a pregnancy loss, attended weddings, travelled the world, spent time with friends and intentionally made time for each other.

wearing wedding dress on anniversary

Each anniversary in my wedding dress adds to our story

I’m thankful now that I never preserved my wedding dress.

Instead of my dress becoming just another package that moves from house to house over the years, my dress tells a story. It tells our story. 

And our story gets better every year.

military beach wedding dress navy officer


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