Neighbors Start a Social Distancing Movement With Their Wedding Dresses and We Fully Support It

On Wednesdays, we wear wedding dresses.
joyce chen wedding news expert the knot
by
Joyce Chen
joyce chen wedding news expert the knot
Joyce Chen
Wedding News Contributor
  • Joyce writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in celebrity wedding features and pieces on wedding trends and etiquette
  • Joyce conducts interviews with real couples about how they’ve adapted to the challenges of wedding planning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • In addition to The Knot Worldwide, Joyce also regularly contributes writing to Architectural Digest, Paste magazine, Refinery29, and TODAY.com
Updated Apr 09, 2020

If there's one thing (of many) that moms are great at, it's being resourceful. When government regulations about social distancing kept six friends and neighbors from their usual family playdates, the Georgetown, Texas, women instead turned to technology.

"As neighbors of a new subdivision, we all moved in around the same time and have enjoyed getting to know each other," Jaime Sladek tells The Knot. "We used to gather regularly in the street on the weekends and evenings for the kids to play and all hang out together. We've communicated with each other through text, but once we began staying home for the coronavirus, we set up a group text that we use everyday, throughout the day."

Between the six households, there are 14 children who all used to play together, Elyssa Seibel adds. "Neighbors will bring out picnic dinners and we all have a great time spending time together. This quarantine has been a huge change for us!"

On their group chats, the six moms (which also include Jamie Egloff, Bryce Ellerbroek, Shannon Thomas and Nina Wagner) have been sharing memes and funny stories to show solidarity for one another through the challenges of homeschooling and adjusting to an uncertain new normal. "Our group chat has been a lifeline," Seibel muses.

Then, one day, a different sort of message popped up on the chat. One of the moms had been cleaning out her closet when she came across an old prom dress and took a photo of it and sent it around. Wagner then decided that it would be a fun idea to take the trip down memory lane one step further. She pulled out her wedding dress, put it on, and sent a photo around to all the moms with the hashtag "#WeddingDressWednesday" for a good chuckle.

"At that point my photographer brain kicked in, and I knew this would make us all laugh," Seibel says. (She works as a family photographer for her business, A Joy Story Photography.) "I asked for volunteers, and somehow managed to get five of my neighbors out in the street in their wedding dresses. It was amazing."

Sladek pulled her own wedding gown and veil from the guest bedroom closet, and "felt like a princess" stepping back into the stunning Reem Acra gown. "I always meant to have it cleaned and stored away, but never found the time," she says. "I guess my procrastination paid off!"

"Most of us had the dresses in closets inside garment bags and we hadn't looked at them in years except for in photos," Seibel says. "The memories were washing over everyone as we swapped stories about our weddings. … It was also cool to see how the dresses still fit everyone's personality even all these years later. I didn't know any of these women at the time of their weddings, but as each one came outside, it was cool to see how their style still showed through the dress."

Once the neighbors were all outside, it was time for the photoshoot to begin. Wagner, sipping on wine, encouraged her friends to bring their own drinks out. Sladek obliged, but she ended up with a bottle of champagne that exploded everywhere; it was the perfect prop for the photo shoot. Seibel also instructed her neighbors on how to pose together while staying six feet apart.

"The logistics were a little bit tricky," Seibel says. "I myself am immunocompromised with MS, so I wanted to be absolutely sure we were respecting the social distancing guidelines." Several hilarious poses included having all five brides lounging in chairs set six feet apart on a neighbor's lawn and riding scooters down the street.

The women's spouses and kids were just as excited to see the women out on the street in their wedding gowns. Several of the moms posed with their kids in particularly tender photographs.

"This was the first time my daughter saw me in my wedding dress," Sladek says. "She was so enamored. She knows the other neighborhood ladies well and was so excited to come out and see us all. She also kept reminding us to stay six-feet apart and took a few pictures with my phone to capture the moment. My son had no idea what was going on. He was playing video games."

Asked whether or not the husbands might want to take part in a #SuitSunday or #TuxedoTuesday, however, Sladek says she doubts it. " Even though he loved the idea, I'm positive that none of our husbands will be dressing up," she says. "They popped out of the house every now and then during the shoot to see how it was going and disappeared again when our laughter became too much."

For Seibel, who has watched her photographs go viral online, bringing laughter to others during these uncertain times has been its own gift, and she hopes to continue spreading joy in whatever form (or outfit) it takes.

"We are all living and parenting through a defining time for our generation, and that significance is not lost on us," she says. "The way we react to this will shape the future. So I love that sharing joy and laughs is a priority. Helping support our community—even if it's just with a smile—is critical."

"The photography industry, like so many others, has been devastated by this pandemic," Seibel adds. "I have seen so many photographers, myself included, have to give up all of our business for the protection of our clients. I have been really inspired by all the photographers out there using their talents and creativity to bring smiles and joy to people around the world. It is definitely a time to get creative. I am so thankful to my neighbors for being willing to participate in this—and have fun together."

Up Next
  • Priyanka Chopra's wedding dress; Lily Collins' wedding dress; Kate Bock's wedding dress
    7 Stunning Ralph Lauren Celebrity Wedding Dresses