Q: My mother has always dreamed I'd wear her wedding dress. But she got married in 1976, so the gown has a high neck and a lacy ruffle, and I want something simple and strapless. She thinks we can alter it to make it more modern. Help!

A: Be honest with her. Chances are, she knows that your taste in fashion is contemporary, so your rejection of her granny gown probably won't come as a complete surprise. Would she be amenable to using the fabric for part of your wedding ensemble—e.g., incorporating some of the lace into a veil or garter? That way, you would be "wearing" her dress when you take your vows. Or maybe if you try on her gown and model it for her, that will fulfill Mom's sentimental streak. When you go gown shopping, ask her to accompany you. Once you step out of the dressing room wearing the gown of your dreams, she'll be the first one to cry. Guaranteed.

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