9 In Women Now

Wedding dresses for women over 60 and their dressing room reveals

Nothing’s more fun than shopping with brides-to-be

It’s June and a popular month to get married. Over my 35 years of dressing women, I’ve had many experiences helping clients put together their wedding day ensembles as well as outfits for the wedding night and their honeymoon attire. In all that time I’ve never had a bridezilla experience. Never. Go as far away as you can from the tone of a bridezilla experience and you’ll be in the neighborhood of a couple of dressing room stories I’m going to share with you.

Just to set the stage, what I mostly hear when I’m in dressing rooms with my clients are things you’d expect like, “I would never have tried this on” or “I had no idea I could look good in a fitted dress” or “I wouldn’t have spotted this if it was right in front of me.” I know exactly how to handle those comments.

In these two dressing room stories about two different women shopping for wedding ensembles for second marriages, years apart in the same store, things were shared that left me momentarily speechless. I bet you would have been too!

Wedding dress shopping for Mary Marie

How about I call each woman Mary? I’ll tell you about Mary Marie and Mary Louise. The situation is the same: they were both shopping for wedding attire for second marriages.

Let me tell you a little something about Mary Marie. I met Mary Marie in a five-week Dressing from the Inside Out class I taught in Marin County at a small salon. She showed up with her best friend. This sounded like a fun course they could take together.

She had the broadest grin and an upbeat personality. She was the mother of four adult kids and had raised them single-handedly after her husband died tragically in an airplane crash. Four kids, no husband, she had very little free time.

When I met her she’d been widowed for more than twenty years and never dated. With her kids off living their adult lives, she devoted time to great friendships and had a brisk social life. She attended art openings, concerts, lectures, and classes at the local community college. She was effervescent and busy as a bee.

I was thrilled when she became a personal client. We shopped every season for new clothes and made new outfits from her closet. One day she called me up and said, “Brenda, I’ve met someone, and he proposed. I need your help with a wedding dress.” They had so much in common and she felt adored by him. Oh, I was so happy!

Dressing for the wedding dress shopping trip

Shopping for a wedding dress at a local boutique

We made a date to shop at a local boutique for her wedding dress. I arrived early, combed through the racks, assembled a few dresses for her to try on, and had them hanging in an empty dressing room next to where we’d be. She arrived radiant and gleeful. Do you know the bubbles in champagne? Her mood was like those bubbles. But of course! She was marrying the man of her dreams in this later chapter in life.

We tried on about four dresses. There was one more I wanted her to try, but before she got into it she looked at me with her wide, sparkly eyes. “Brenda, I’m having so much fun with Michael. I mean, lots of fun,” she said. I was picturing their bike rides together, the lecture series they attended, and day trips to local wineries. “I’m not surprised, Mary Marie. You two seem made for each other,” I said. 

“No, I mean something more than that.”

She was itching to tell me something. What was it?

She was having that kind of fun

She leaned in closer to me, her voice dropped to a loud whisper, and she said, “I’m having orgasms.” 

“That’s wonderful,” I said. I wasn’t quite sure what else to add. I mean what would you say?

Wedding gown on BrendaKinsel.com
Mother on her wedding day, July 1, 1951

I had a flashback to one summer day when Mom and I were driving to Fargo together. I was behind the wheel when she told me what a sensitive lover my Dad was. It was sort of nice hearing that but awkward at the same time. I said, “That’s nice,” and then steered us on to a different subject.

Feeling truly happy for Mary Maire but, yes, a little awkward, I zipped her into the last dress and asked her to look at herself in the full-length mirror. We made the final selection. The right one was actually quite obvious from the start. Like Michael, I guess. Then we discussed undergarments, shoes, and accessories and didn’t speak again about her sex life.

But on the inside, I was bubbling over with joy. “You deserve that, Mary Marie,” I thought. “You deserve all the happiness in the world.” 

Preparing the bride to marry her handsome lover

On the day of her wedding, I arrived early at her hillside home to help her get into her wedding ensemble. I was honored to have those duties. With every detail in place, there was nothing left to do but to hand her her bouquet. I left her alone in the bedroom briefly and found my seat in the living room where their guests were gathered.

As the music came on I felt a little like the father-of-the-bride, giving her away to her dear Michael. It was a blissful wedding and I imagine it was followed up with a memorable wedding night with or without flute glasses filled with bubbly.

Wedding dress shopping for Mary Louise who looked bewildered

Curiously, a few years later, I was back shopping in that same boutique with a client who was looking for a wedding suit. She was remarrying after several years of being divorced from the father of her five children. 

She’d called me to change the start time from the morning to the afternoon as she had to take a meeting with an attorney. No problem.

That gave me plenty of time to pre-select some options for her and have them ready in the adjoining dressing room.

She arrived a few minutes late. I’d found the most elegant silk satin dress suit that was perfect for her stature. I couldn’t wait to see it on her. She stepped into the skirt, I zipped it up, and then she slipped on the jacket. We were both facing the full-length mirror with me behind her looking over her shoulder, and adjusting the jacket just so. It was a perfect fit.

A perfect suit for her big day but something was off

She seemed distracted. “How does it feel to you?” I asked. She was looking at her reflection in the mirror but she didn’t seem focused on herself. I got a little nervous. A big part of my skill set is reading someone’s body language. She didn’t seem comfortable.  

Was she having second thoughts? Was her guy not really the right guy after all?

“Is it the suit? Do you want me to look for a dress instead?” I asked.

“No, Brenda, it’s not that at all. I want this suit, I can see it’s perfect, but I need to sit down.” 

Did she need something to drink? Something to eat? Was she running out of steam?

The truth came out

And then she blurted it out. “I just came from the attorney’s office. My uncle died, and he’s left me money. He was a nice guy but I didn’t see him all that much. Brenda, he’s left me millions of dollars. I can’t believe it. No one knew he had that kind of money. I haven’t even told my children yet. You’re the first person I’ve told.” 

It was shocking news. Good news, not bad news, but quite a shock just the same. I grabbed a chair from the empty dressing room next to us and sat with her for a few minutes. “We can take a break,” I said.

She ran a few next steps out loud to me. She needed the right time to tell her kids and her fiance. She pondered who she could get to help her manage this sum. It was going to change her life. She didn’t know what to do first.

She started to relax a little bit, as much as one can relax after finding out they’ve inherited millions of dollars. Thank goodness we’d found the perfect suit in a short time because she had no available brain space to think about clothes.  


With this sudden revelation, was she safe to drive home?

I wasn’t too sure she was safe to be driving her car. “Do you want me to call someone to pick you up?” I asked. “No, no, I’ll be okay. I’m just going a few blocks,” Mary Louise said.

When I thought about it later I was rather tickled. Of course, I was thrilled for her. It’s not every Tuesday that a client stumbles into a dress shop and says, “I’m a millionaire as of an hour ago.” Isn’t this the kind of thing that only happens in the movies?

I’m quite positive she doesn’t remember that dressing room conversation but it’s one I’ll never forget.

Two women, two weddings, two stunning reveals. Two dressing room stories I continue to remember with great fondness.

Do you have wedding stories to share? It’s June! Let’s talk about weddings! Yours? Someone else’s? I’m all ears.


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  • Reply
    Mary Brignano
    June 16, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Delightful stories, Brenda. Who could possibly behave like a bridezilla with lovely you helping her?

  • Reply
    June 16, 2020 at 8:59 am

    I love your Mom’s eyeglasses. They’re right on trend almost seventy years later!

  • Reply
    Elaine Sweet
    June 16, 2020 at 9:38 am

    So lovely but I want to see photos or video of the two women on their wedding day. Do you have some?

    • Reply
      June 16, 2020 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Elaine, no, I don’t have photos. I just sat back and enjoyed the event and let the photographers do their thing. But I sure do enjoy the memories!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2020 at 10:58 am

    You had me in suspense on the bride-to-be’s inheritance story. Was she going to decide against marrying now that she was a millionairess? I’m glad she went through with the wedding and wore the elegant dress suit.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    My husband and I were nearly 30 when we married on a tight budget, and I mean a shoestring. (If only we’d had one of those uncles!) I had my dress made by a local seamstress. My sister, my matron of honor, was returning to the states after several years overseas. Her dress was also hand made using a pattern I’d sent her before she flew home. When we were finally able to try on our dresses together, I wanted to cry. We were not only not transformed –we looked downright frumpy.

    Two weeks before the wedding, my fiance drove my sister and me to a little boutique in a small town a couple of hours away. We found new dresses. Off-the-rack. Lovely dresses. Dresses that transformed us. In fact, hers cost more than mine! Then we all went out and celebrated over abelskiver.

    That was nearly 36 years ago. Those shoestrings held up!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Wonderful stories! Uplifting and I can hear the joy in your voice as if you were telling them to me. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Susa Berg
    June 17, 2020 at 12:29 am

    Dear Brenda,
    thank you for sharing this dressing room stories. The second is incredible, the first is touching me. So trusting, that the bride shared her (I think due to her previous experiences) unexpectedly luck with you. Life is writing the exciting stories.
    Brenda, stay healthy!

  • Reply
    Barb L
    June 24, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    I just love your stories that are woven in to your fashion tips (lessons for me). I’m catching up on your blogs – enjoying every one. Thanks for the inspiration!

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