Modest Brides, Not Princesses

Modest brides start as modest girls.  They are daughters of modest parents. They are not raised to be princesses. Why should a young woman be a princess for a day? It’s a popular conceit to call our daughters princess, and to buy them princess-themed toys and clothes when they are small. I don’t think this is healthy. It encourages self-centeredness and a sense of privilege and entitlement. Christian young women are not princesses, because we are not kings and queens. We are servants of God.

Modesty is more than covering the body. Modesty is a way of seeing the world; modesty is looking at the needs of others rather than ourselves. It is focussing on service rather than self. Dressing and acting to draw attention to oneself so that others will admire, envy or desire us is immodesty.

The wedding industry would have brides spending a fortune on everything from that all-important dress to – well, who knows what, matching shoe covers for the guests or some such nonsense. And a modest dress in appearance may not be modest in price. A modest dress may be quite expensive if it is covered itself in laces and beads and crystals. There`s nothing modest about an elaborate dress, no matter how much girl it covers. There`s nothing modest about an expensive dress.

Simplicity is the twin sister of modesty. It`s so easy to get carried away by envy or competitiveness because the last bride had a big wedding and a big dress. That beautiful day will be spoiled in memory if it carries a lot of debt into a young couple`s new life together.

I had suggested a handmade dress as one way of saving money and finding a modest dress. This may not work for some people. I like to sew, and will find the time to make the clothes I need. But if a owman, her mother, or her family don`t sew, or don`t have the time, and there is a lack of local seamstresses, there are alternatives. Vintage gowns are one way to get a nice modest dress. Vintage dresses tend to be smaller sizes, though, and may have stains or aging. Seams have to be checked carefully, since fabric stress from hanging in a closet for years may weaken the dress. And what was just the biggest wow factor back in 1982 may make the guests laugh now.

Some communities have debutante dances or proms where the girls wear white dresses, and local boutiques may have good dresses at better prices than bridal shops. Again, though, prom dresses are less modest than when I was a girl, although debs still tend to be more conservative.

I wouldn`t rule out the traditional mail order catalogs. Some have gowns at a good price.

 If a dress is too lowcut, a lace or satin insert can cover the open V.

If anyone has bought a modest dress and knows godo sources, let us know in the comments.


7 thoughts on “Modest Brides, Not Princesses

  1. God forbid I ever find myself in this position again, I would take a differing approach. though i worked with a seemstress for my wedding gown and resisted sparkles, the cost, while considered moderate by the standards of the industry, was not so, in retrospect. I’d stay with a clothierre such as ‘The King’s Daughters’ or similar, opting for nice fabric and trim, getting a nice dress for a fraction of the cost, and covering from a group such as ‘Garlands of Grace’.

    As a teen of the 80’s, I was lucky enough to be able to dress modestly; loved pre WWI clothing, back then, able to enjoy resources using (look it up) the VTek Voyager to access them (not any more, sadly, but that’s the hand I’ve been dealt). I longed to be able to dress in pre WWI anything, and was able to enjoy the long skirts and more modest, feminine lines, going inter-cultural when the Western clothing industry turned its back on modesty. As for ‘princess’, I was raised on Soviet Russian nursery-rhymes and ‘fairy tales’ as a very very little girl – think ‘Ladushki’ from the communist bookshop – popular in the very early 70’s… nah, no ‘Princess’ for me… Time traveller though, now that was a completely different story 🙂

    • Now, I’ve seen your wedding dress! It was certainly old-fashioned and modest. I was expected to be modest in my dress as a teen, although I must say I slipped bounds from time to time. I too loved vintage clothes and wore what I could. I was a very small size in those days, and there was a lot around that older women were discarding. What I remember about the seventies was that the hems were so short! My friends thought it absolutely scandalous to wear anything that even touched your kneecap, let alone went below the knee. On the other hand, my mother wouldn’t let us wear anything much above the knee.

  2. I’ve tried to think this out as best as I can…
    Simplicity and modesty are virtues, ones that we should cultivate. They do not mean a lack of beauty. You can have physical beauty surrounding you in simplicity, if one is taught (or teaches self) to admire the simple things. At the same time, in moderation, beauty can be found in the complex flower arrangement, the ways light can be cast, and the hard work that goes into something like lace. I think this is the balance that must be found. A “wedding within your means.” If you can’t afford what you want, then it’s best to either do something else, wait, or take a hard look at WHY you want something to be so-so.

    Being a princess is another balancing act. The modern way we treat the word is disgusting. Pink, cheap, plastic toys that say “I’m the princess, I get what I want.” are shameful. It is not the story of The Little Princess, which I think I might be the last generation that knows the story. Perhaps we should bring back that little children’s book and remind girls of what a “true” princess is like. I am decidedly okay with the word and the positives it can bring. The healing that was given to me through that word is beyond measurable, but my grasp of what being “a daughter of the King” is not cheap and plastic. Our King is loving, gracious, humble, meek, and His son, whom we are co-heirs with, was a servant. So we are to emulate those attributes as His daughters. Anything else is not being a princess, it’s being a courtesan.

    • That is exactly the sort of thing I want to say here. Beauty is not about the expense, but about the joy and wonder. As for the Little Princess – one of my favourite children’s books! I’d be okay with the word princess if we thought of the first “princess” – Sarah of the Old Testament. She wasn’t any Disney princess at all! This was a fine comment, very enlightening and well said.

    • That is the heart of the matter indeed. Even Christian girls get mesmerized by the me, me, me ambitions of modern weddings.

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