Surprise! Here’s What I Wore to My Daughter’s Wedding

For my daughter's wedding, I decided to cut a Adrianna Papell ball gown off at the knees to wear to her daughter's wedding. Photo by Barbara Newhall

For my daughter’s wedding, I took a chance and had the store tailor cut my Adrianna Papell ball gown off at the knees. This is the result. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The votes were in. I’d asked for help deciding what to wear to my daughter’s wedding. And some of my readers were kind enough to speak up.

Some of you liked the full-length, form-fitting navy blue dress with the ribbon rosettes and glitter. And so did I.

But some of you shared my special affection for the navy blue ball gown with the glittery top and bouffant taffeta, way-down-to-the-floor skirt.

Trouble was, the bride and groom wanted to keep things less formal. “Wear want you want to wear, Mom,” my daughter kept saying.

But I knew that she and her groom were hoping my outfit would blend with the other important ladies of the day: The bridesmaid was wearing a knock-off of Marilyn Monroe’s billowy, knee-length “flying skirt” from “The Seven Year Itch.” The mother of the groom had bought a soft gray, midi-length Karmarov. The groom’s best lady? She hadn’t decided, but it would probably be a pantsuit.

The tailor at Bloomingdale’s, where I had bought the navy ballgown, had told me, no, no, no. She would not cut the gown off at the knees and turn it into a cocktail dress. The resulting proportions would be all wrong.

And so, as Christina’s wedding day approached, I resigned myself to wearing the beribboned sheath. It was long, but it was not a grand ball gown. I could get away with it.

Still, I couldn’t bring myself to take the ball gown back to the store. Finally, the week before Jon and I were due to head south for the wedding, encouraged by the votes the ball gown had gotten from you the readers, I succumbed to its wiles.

I stuffed it back in its garment bag and headed back to Bloomingdale’s in San Francisco. This time I snagged a tailor who had no scruples about cutting the skirt off at the knees.

Obligingly she pinned the dress up so we could have a look.

And voila! There they were, my pretty good legs. Bodily features that, unlike the rest of me, had held up nicely over the years.

The elegant ball gown was now an elegant cocktail dress, and I was ready to walk down the aisle with the bride and her father.

More about fashion for the mother of the bride at “What, Oh, What to Wear to My Daughter’s Wedding.” And fashion for the mother of the the groom at “Am I Too Old for Splashy Earrings?”

My daughter's wedding: The pretty good legs of a 75-year-old woman. Photo by Barbara Newhall






  1. Gorgeous! You’re my new guiding light on living and doing into the next decades!

  2. Sue watson says:

    You and the dress were beautiful

  3. I think you made the right decision. The color was great on you. The length was perfect. A total success. And you looked so comfortable and elegant.

  4. Sharie McNamee says:

    Good choice. You look so good. Sharie

  5. Emily Newhall says:

    I didn’t even notice the dress was tailored. You looked wonderful!

  6. Connie Dugger says:

    Beautiful….you made the right choice!

  7. perfect!

    • Thanks, Everybody. Having a short, full dress was a big plus for comfort — and for getting kinda wild on the dance floor as the evening wore on. (With only a few sips of champagne all night, mind you.)

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