Are you a single Catholic? Meet Your Match Today [close]

Dating & Relationships

Hilaire Belloc wrote, “Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, there’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!” 

These lines constitute an exclamation of praise for the richness of God’s creation, which He pronounced to be “very good.” A wonderful facet of the Catholic Church is that she embraces the beauty with which God provides us through His material creations. This encompasses everything from good food and wine to music and fine art…and yes, even to wedding gowns.

Two years ago I was an overjoyed bride-to-be, having met the man of my dreams on CatholicMatch, and the search for my wedding dress proved quite simple, as I already had a solid idea of what I wanted. I knew that column-style dresses suited me best, and I had always intended to wear a lace gown with a mantilla veil, just as my own mother had.

Given that I was very particular as to the style of dress that I was seeking, it did not take long to find the perfect gown.

Regina with her mom on her wedding day

The one I ultimately chose was elegant, tasteful, and yes – strapless. It was neither titillating nor provocative, and though strapless, it was a modest and acceptable choice. It did not have a plunging neckline (as many modern gowns with straps often do) and the heavy, cathedral-length mantilla veil that I selected draped beautifully over my shoulders, thereby providing a level of coverage that I felt was appropriate for the Mass while simultaneously accentuating the beauty of my dress.

When I looked at myself in that gown, my sentiments mirrored those that Ann Gundlach described in her essay as she watched her own daughter try on the strapless dress that she chose for her wedding:

“She fell in love with it because she felt beautiful wearing it…It occurred to me that while I didn’t want her wearing strapless dresses as an unattached teenager, I surprisingly did not feel the same way as she dressed for her groom…I saw her dress reveal her femininity and womanliness in what seemed to me to be all the right contexts…A wedding does, after all, celebrate all the goodness of marital love; dare I say it, even sexuality as God designed it.” 

 

Paul and Regina Bailey, who met on CatholicMatch, were featured on the cover of Family Foundations' January 2012 issue

I also appreciated Ann’s reflections on the fashion trends for wedding dresses over several decades; while the favored styles have changed drastically over the years, each seems to have been designed to accentuate the bride’s femininity and to celebrate human sexuality within the context of holy matrimony.   

I think this reflects the truth present in Belloc’s words. The role of the Church is to sacramentalize and bring all of humanity and human culture back to God. In doing so, we are not asked to reject or conceal the beauty of God’s creation; on the contrary, in the right context, we should celebrate and praise God for it.

I recognize there will always be controversy over what constitutes an appropriate gown for a Catholic wedding, and while modesty is certainly essential, I do not believe that this requires a bride to cover herself excessively or to reject a lovely, tasteful strapless dress simply because it lacks an inch of extra material over each shoulder. In fact, a wedding gown that is in step with current fashions (such as the acceptable strapless style that I chose) can have the added effect of appealing to a culture that we, as Catholics, should all seek to evangelize. 

I see nothing wrong with a bride finding such a dress and – wishing to look beautiful for her husband on their wedding day – accentuating (to an appropriate extent) the femininity with which God has graciously endowed her. 

As for me, I chose my gown because I felt beautiful in it and knew that my groom would think so as well. Most importantly, however, I knew I was walking down the aisle to him as a chaste bride, and as Ann so aptly wrote, “true modesty involves much, much more than hemlines and the cut of a bodice.”

-Regina Grace Bailey

 

 

The Regina Diaries

The CatholicMatch staff members are big fans of Regina Grace! (Can you blame us?)

  • Learn more about her early CatholicMatch days here.
  • Watch a video of her with her husband, Paul, describing their CatholicMatch courtship here.
  • And see photos from their wedding, one year ago today, and honeymoon here
(This post has been read 9,376 times)

71 Comments

  1. Dawn-758914 April 30, 2012

    That dress itself looks fine but I have seen many tacky strapless dresses with plunging necklines that would fit at a bar. This might be rude to say but I don’t think most brides can pull off the strapless look and still look good. I have seen very heavy brides wearing strapless gowns and they didn’t look beautiful at all they looked like sausages in a dress. I am older and while I have toned arms I don’t think I could pull off the strapless look.

    • Mary-487190 May 6, 2012

      I agree with you Dawn.

    • Elena-1001912 November 23, 2013

      You are so right! Plus, I think one of the key issues is showing proper respect for the Blessed Sacrament and the priest celebrating the wedding. Usually, he is one or two steps above the couple on the altar and can see right down the bride’s dress. Priests I know have complained about this.

  2. Allison-565208 May 2, 2012

    Your dress is beautiful, but I do not agree that it is modest or appropriate for mass. There is no way that a woman can wear a strapless dress without cleavage or breasts being shown at some point. Yes, if you are standing upright, perfectly straight for the entire wedding and reception, then perhaps you can get away with no one being able to catch a glimpse down the front of your dress – but I am pretty sure that there were at least several opportunities when men (including the priest marrying you) had to look away quickly so as to not see something they shouldn’t.

    The problem with a strapless dress – or ANY dress or shirt that is low cut (and yes, your dress is low cut whether you agree or not) – is not that it doesn’t cover your shoulders – it is that you are giving men easy access to see your breasts. I don’t know many men who are tempted into sin or lustful thoughts by seeing women’s shoulders – but I would venture to guess that the majority of men could easily be tempted by seeing cleavage or breasts. As a Christian woman, we have a responsibility to dress modestly and avoid leading our brothers in Christ into sin. They are of COURSE responsible for their own behavior, but we are ALSO responsible for doing our part and dressing modestly at all times.

    If you were truly concerned about presenting yourself as a chaste, modest bride, then you would have chosen a dress that leaves absolutely no possibility to show off something that only your husband should see. The fact that you are even writing this post to try to justify your dress-choice implies that you feel there is something that NEEDS justifying — that you are seeking approval or reassurance from others for your choice. If you had no doubts about wearing a strapless dress, then I imagine you wouldn’t have written about it.

    If you think what I’m saying is untrue or over-the-top, you may want to check out this survey. 1,600 Christian guys were surveyed about modesty, and if you browse through the results you will see that your dress would not have been considered modest by the majority of respondents.

    http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse

    • Mary-487190 May 6, 2012

      Her dress covers her appropriately and does not show cleavage. You are making assumptions and we all know what happens when we do that. I am sure dress makers are very well aware of how fit women want their strapless dresses to fit so as not to risk showing cleavage or having the dress slip.

      Rather than make the assumptions you did, why didn’t you pose them as questions to Regina?

      Sounds like a lot of judging went on throughout your post.

    • Samantha-650397 May 7, 2012

      Well said, Allison. I agree!

    • Kalia-607599 May 18, 2012

      You imagine wrongly. She could easily simply just be happy about the entire reality, and wanting to share her joy . Modesty is in the clothing AND the heart.

      Rigidity is an eternal turnoff.

  3. Jonathan D. May 3, 2012

    82.7% of Christian men would not agree that a strapless dress is modest, and the fact that it’s at a wedding makes NO difference. Actually, weddings are usually worse.
    http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse_99

    As Allison said, you wouldn’t have written this unless you were looking to justify the dress. That should speak loudly enough alone.

    The Truth is that modesty begins in the heart, but is REFLECTED in your clothing. So when Ann says, “true modesty involves much, much more than hemlines and the cut of a bodice.” That’s only HALF true. It’s heart AND hemlines, not heart OR hemlines.

    If 1323 out of 1600 Christian men wouldn’t say that your dress is modest… then just imagine what the AVERAGE male population would say…

    • Mary-487190 May 6, 2012

      I’m sure there are a lot more than 1600 Christian men out there, so you cannot take that statistics you provided and have them speak for the majority.

      Her dress is not revealing. If the revealing part is an issue then the majority of wedding dresses would be immodest due to them being form fitting. The only solution is to wear a dress resembling a mu mu.

      • Samantha-650397 May 7, 2012

        Fortunately, that is not the only solution, Mary. There are plenty of dresses out there that are pretty, flattering, and tasteful, without revealing too much of yourself on your wedding day! Just because revealing clothing has become more and more common and accepted, that doesn’t mean it’s ok.

      • Jesse S. May 17, 2012

        Have you ever taken any form of college level statistics? A population sample of 1600 is a beautiful amount to make strong conclusions about the rest of the population. 20 year ago, 30 men would be enough, given the appropriate conditions, to make a strong conclusion, nowadays they say 100 is good enough; 1000+ men is such a good number. The basics of statistical analysis involves a few conditions that must be met, one of the most important is that its the selection process is properly randomized, if this condition is met, then even though 1000 men is a small number compared to the millions out there you can be confident it represents the whole. Its like checking to see if a large pot of soup is made properly— as long as the pot has been stirred properly, one spoonful is enough to test the consistancy. I’m not sharing whether or not I’m for or against your position, but you made a very uneducated statement which really made me laugh and cry. Laugh cause it was such a wrong thing to say, cry because you believed it.

      • Allison-565208 May 19, 2012

        “The only solution is to wear a dress resembling a mu mu” ??? Seriously, Mary? That is ridiculous. There are plenty of beautiful, modest, NON-STRAPLESS wedding dresses that do not look like muu muus. Let’s not be overly dramatic…

    • Thomas-637816 May 11, 2012

      I’ve got to agree with Jonathan. I’d say it’s very iffy if a strapless dress could be modest, in general. And there’s NO circumstances where it would be appropriate for church.

      The fact that this is even a discussion shows how lax we all are and how corrupt is our society. In the early 1900′s Our Lady of Fatima said that there were fashions at the time that were displeasing to Our Lord (and predicted it would get worse) and Pope Pius X said that co-ed swimming was an occasion of sin.

      Lord have mercy on us all!

    • Magdalene P. May 16, 2012

      I do not like the ubiquitous strapless wedding gowns.

  4. Regina B. May 3, 2012

    Allison and Jonathan,

    Thank you for your comments. I’d like to clarify that I actually feel no need to justify the dress through writing this post; Catholic Match contacted me directly to request that I write a brief article about my choice of a strapless dress. Outside of that, I would not have felt any compulsion to explain or justify this gown to anyone. I certainly appreciate your perspectives but continue to stand by my statements above.

    • Mary-487190 May 6, 2012

      Your gown is beautiful and I see nothing wrong with it nor does your choice to wear it speak about your modesty. You look plenty modest to me and how dare others judge you immodest based on your gown choice.

      Many wedding gowns are form fitting and it doesn’t have to be a strapless gown to be revealing in my opinion. If people are going to argue that strapless is inappropriate then most wedding dresses ought to be labeled that way unless they fit someone like a sheet or drape.

    • Kalia-607599 May 18, 2012

      And, there you have it. It kills me when “modesty promoting” Catholics assume the intent of another Catholic’s motives. Regina’s joy is more attractive than the condescension of those who condemn her actions.

  5. Laurianne-160619 May 4, 2012

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with a strapless gown at a wedding. I don’t think she even needed to justify herself as to why she chose it. She looks beautiful in it and it was very tasteful. In fact, I”ve never seen a strapless gown I didn’t like.

    Instead of worrying about what type of gown she had on, it’s more important to be concerned with her inner beauty – that’s what God is going to be concerned about and about her being a Proverbs 31 wife.

    • Mary-487190 May 6, 2012

      Nice post Laurianne but as the author said, she was not writing it to defend her position but in response to a request from CM.

      She was comfortable in her decision and she does not come across as someone who disregards her faith in her decision making.

  6. Dongdong-854090 May 4, 2012

    A good wedding dress,

  7. Kate-756604 May 4, 2012

    Hi Regina.

    First of all you did look lovely, i hope God stays in your union forever and no one comes between you two.
    Next, I just wanted to make a comment and hope you don’t take it wrongly.
    Most of us Catholics go wrong due to lack of formation, before I began going for my recollection classes and retreats always given by priests, I too thought it was okay. Something about pleasing myself first, my happiness first and expecting others to take it or leave it. BUT I did learn more; these priests are human first then God’s representatives next and as they tell us (They see things which they need not see and which sometimes distract them during mass).
    Real charity sometimes involve sacrificing our happiness for other souls and in weddings you can always reach a compromise and maybe cover up during mass (which you did try to do with the veil) then later change for pictures and reception party. God bless.

    • Mary-487190 May 6, 2012

      Kate,

      What a very sweet Christina response to the article and author.

      I agree with you that the Church does not speak of modesty enough and that it was/is certainly lacking.

  8. Ramona-652361 May 6, 2012

    When I saw the posting about the strapless dress the first thing that came to mind was, “ok a second dress for the reception but never in church, shoulders all bared, maybe with a cover up, like a shrug” When I was in grade school we were advised to dress modestly by our mothers and our teachers. Now days it seems like anything goes. I see how young girls dress and I cringe. Why is it that the majority wants to be a video vixen instead of a lady? Before I made my First Holy Communion, the pastor told all of the mothers to dress appropriately. That meant no miniskirts. He stated if he saw one he would ask the person to leave. There was a time when if you wondered if an outfit was appropriate for an event, job interview, etc. you were told if you can’t wear it to church then don’t wear the outfit. When I was planning to get married, the priest stated don’t wear an immodest gown, nothing too tight, nothing short, nothing showing a lot of skin and absolutely no strapless gowns, unless you wore a jacket over it for mass. I told him I wouldn’t dream of it. Back in 1990 the fashion was big sleeves anyway. If I wore a gown today it would be strapless but for the ceremony I would have a cover up. I saw a tv show where people were discussing how one should dress for church. A man sat on the panel in a thong! He stated since he lived in CA and it was hot, and he was a pool boy, he lived in thongs and wore them everywhere. He wore his thong to his church & no one batted an eye, the priest accepted his choice. Why does this behavior start, and where does it stop? Are you following society’s rules or God’s? Don’t dare say the Bible is ancient and the rules have changed. What, did you get a text from heaven?

    Gal.5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, mildness, faith, modesty, chastity.”

    Romans 12;1,2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.”

    1 Corinthians 3:16,17 “Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.”

    1 Corinthians 11:10 Therefore ought the woman to have a power (covering) over her head, because of the angels. (who are present in the assemblies of the faithful)

    1 Timothy 2, 9 “In like manner women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair or gold, or pearls or costly attire.”
    1 Corinthians 11:10 Therefore ought the woman to have a power (covering) over her head, because of the angels. (who are present in the assemblies of the faithful)
    1 Corinthians 11,5 “But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven.”
    Deuteronomy 22:5 “A woman shall not be clothed with man’s apparel, neither shall a man use woman’s apparel: for he that doeth these things is abominable before God.”

    • Mary-487190 May 6, 2012

      I find it interesting that you commented on Regina’s post about modesty and even went so far as to post scripture based on modesty yet your profile picture shows you in a strappy top.

      If you believe in the scripture quotes you posted then it would seem to me that you would have your head, arms and shoulders covered to keep only for your spouse to see and not all the men on CM.

      • Aaron-398652 May 20, 2012

        So any points she made are invalid simply because she doesn’t/didn’t fully adhere to them? Someone not always adhering to what they believed does not make their beliefs false. If that was the case, then all of the Catholic faith is false since all Catholics have deviated from the faith at some point in time. My suggestion? Start over and actually address Ramona’s points by coming up with valid arguments of your own, instead of resorting to a quick and easy tu quoque fallacy.

  9. Jane-627689 May 14, 2012

    Regina’s dress is beautiful, as is the veil which also covered her shoulders. It fits well, in contrast to some gowns I’ve seen which fitted poorly and were extremely revealing.

    As a matter of personal choice, I would not feel comfortable in a strapless gown. I wouldn’t typically approach the altar in a strapless dress and would feel uncomfortable with bare shoulders at Mass.

  10. Craig-858038 May 15, 2012

    It is not what you think that makes the choice ok. Its what the Church wants you to that displays proper attire. Its time to stop our opinions to decide whats right or wrong or inappropriate. The Church says its inappropriate to wear a strappless dress for a wedding or at Mass.

    Regina….you’re wrong and the Church is right….period. No justification can be made. Its not what you think that matters. If you wear something that causes another to sin (in this case lust for your body), then you have caused another to sin. That goes against God’s desire for you to be modest/chaste so that not you or others are caused to sin.

    Sorry if it doesn’t fit people’s opinions or personal preferences or beliefs. The Truth is Jesus Christ and I chose to follow him…not give in to the world’s erroneous and dangerous view of secular practives.

    • Kalia-607599 May 18, 2012

      “The Church says”- please source this….as that PRETTY BROAD.

      and -
      people want to know, since you are pontificating. Certainly differing local churches have rules on dress, and we all know about the Vatican and Rome and dress code– and we should all be brilant enought to know when a custim is big T or little t tradition. Some things can be our opinion. Just like this post.

  11. Andi C. May 15, 2012

    To visit St. Peter’s in Rome, women are required to have their shoulders covered and skirts need to go down to the knees (not the issue here, I know.) All Catholic Churches have the same Jesus inside, so there is no reason why these guidelines are not appropriate for all churches around the world. I honestly don’t think that a sheer piece of tulle over your shoulders really counts as covering them, but you did look beautiful in your gown. I wore a strapless dress and had a jacket made for Mass, but looking back that jacket should have remained on the entire wedding – when I see my wedding pictures I feel like too much of me is showing, but unfortunately I can’t go back and change that. I totally get you on the neckline though. Short of buying a temple dress, for some of us, the neckline of a strapless actually IS what keeps us covered, as opposed to things with straps that most of the time do have lower necklines. (For example, my friend wore beautiful V Neck dress with sleeves to her wedding and it’s very modest on her, but on me, the neckline would show waaaaay more than intended.)

  12. Lydia J. May 15, 2012

    I definitely have to completely agree with Jonathan and Allison!!! Personally I am tired of seeing only strapless wedding dresses! If you can take a picture that shows only the shoulders and no dress…giving the illusion of no clothing…something is wrong w/ that picture!!!!!

    • Treecie B. June 5, 2012

      I agree. It’s so annoying to watch “Say Yes to the Dress” with my daughters (don’t anymore) and have almost every single gown be strapless, as though it were a wedding requirement. To me it shows a lack of imagination, not to mention modesty. But in Regina’s defense, I think it’s really hard to FIND anything modest, the strapless wedding dress has become such a modern tradition. My own wedding dress was hand made by a friend in a sort of slender medieval style and wasn’t a problem – and I felt very pretty in it. I hope my daughters will see the light (blast that SYttD) by the time it’s their turn, ’cause we won’t be paying for the strapless.

      More than one man I knew in college commented on how hard it is to stay focused at Mass when so many nubile young women wear so little. My husband used to go say his postcommunion prayers in the Eucharistic chapel so as not to be distracted. Most young women aren’t aware of the extent of the effect they have on men!

  13. John L. May 18, 2012

    She looks beautiful, I’ve seen three pictures of her and was not tempted in any way, it’s her wedding so i say: god bless her an her marriage! Seriously, I’m am so sick and tired of Catholic being nothing more than Chastity and Modesty police!!! If all you notice when you go to mass, if ALL you EVER notice, is plunging necklines and skin showing, you obviously arent going for the right reasons and you are missing the enitre point of being a Catholic. I’ll be honest, and this isnt being mean or prioeful, it’s the truth, I dont have the slightesat idea who is sitting around me at mass (save for my family if we go to the same mass) until the Kiss of peace. Ya know why? Because I’m not looking here, there and anywhere, I’m looking at the altar, the place of sacrifice for our Lord, the pulpit of the Word of God! If modesty in mass bothers you so much, sit in the front seat so then you wont see anyone else without having to strain your neck an look back. Let’s all calm down with the whole, “modesty police” stuff, The God of the Universe just changed bread and wine into his body and blood, for which he intens you to consume into your body so he can become a part of you. If that doesnt grab your full attention, nothing ever will…..

  14. Colleen-13855 May 19, 2012

    I agree with Allison with one exception, the bare shoulder of a woman is and can be a provocative part of the woman’s body as well. Bare shoulders on the alter presented to Jesus in the Eucharist is offensive to Him. I never receive communion with bare shoulders.

    • Allison-565208 May 19, 2012

      Good point :) I think that when it comes to modesty, we shouldn’t push the limits. Why would you present yourself in front of Jesus in the Eucharist wearing something that is “probably okay”? The very fact that there is even a debate AT ALL about a strapless dress says that it’s not universally seen as modest. No one with any sense about them would be having this same debate over a wedding dress that covered the shoulders and chest completely.

      • John L. May 20, 2012

        Why dont all women wear nuns habits to mass? Then there’s no questions or concerns……. and while we’re at it, how bout we ban all babies under the age of 5 from coming to mass. Because a baby crying and screaming at mass because of being too tired or being hungry or fussy is JUST as distracting, if not more distracting as ANYTHING a woman wears to church….. just saying…..

      • John L. May 20, 2012

        The very fact that there is even a debate AT ALL about a strapless dress says that it’s not universally seen as modest.” Then what, praytell, IS universally seen as modest. Because over in the middle east, a woman isnt modest until only her eyes are showing. Women must wear body length heavy burkas and veils 24/7. Or over in India women wear sari’s that wrap aroundtheir body many, many times which leaves their frames almost indistiguishable. So let’s face it, no matter what any 12-30 yr old woman wears, you will find something, anything wrong with it because that’s what the church is turning us into. We care more about the dress of a woman then her soul. She nees to hear the gospel, start an intimate, personal relationship with Christ before she changes her wardrobe. So indead of judging all these girls, try praying for them… dont worry! This is all in scripture, lol

  15. John L. May 20, 2012

    “The very fact that there is even a debate AT ALL about a strapless dress says that it’s not universally seen as modest.” Then what, praytell, IS universally seen as modest. Because over in the middle east, a woman isnt modest until only her eyes are showing. Women must wear body length heavy burkas and veils 24/7. Or over in India women wear sari’s that wrap aroundtheir body many, many times which leaves their frames almost indistiguishable. So let’s face it, no matter what any 12-30 yr old woman wears, you will find something, anything wrong with it because that’s what the church is turning us into. We care more about the dress of a woman then her soul. She nees to hear the gospel, start an intimate, personal relationship with Christ before she changes her wardrobe. So indead of judging all these girls, try praying for them… dont worry! This is all in scripture, lol ;)

    • Allison-565208 May 21, 2012

      John – no one is “judging” anyone here. As Christians we are instructed to approach our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when they are in error. Wearing immodest clothing in mass is an error. Having your chest and shoulders bare while receiving the Blessed Sacrament is not appropriate. A strapless dress is NOT modest. This is not an opinion or a judgement. And you do not have to go so far as to wear a nun’s habit to dress modestly as a woman. I think it’s funny how several of those defending her immodest dress like to be so dramatic and immediately default to “muu muus” or “nun’s habits” as the ONLY obvious alternative to a strapless dress. Give me a break…

      As one of the other commenters mentioned, the bride would not even have been allowed to enter St. Peter’s basilica wearing the dress she wore at her wedding without covering her chest and shoulders. Why should this attire be allowed in ANY church where Jesus is present?? The answer is: IT SHOULDN’T. Period.

      • John L. May 22, 2012

        Ya know Allison, I’ve been a Catholic my whole life. My mom works in the church, my uncle is a deacon and three of my aunts used to be in the convent. I attended Franciscan University of Steubenville and there are some things that never change. One of them is this: Catholics LOVE to challenge other Catholics, but NEVER want to be challenged themselves or have their views challenged in a rational, coherent manner. Look, if you insist that the bride cover what you want her to cover, then most STRAPPED dresses wouldn’t meet your expectations either! Covering everything you laid out would require cloth from the edge of your upper arm, across the whole chest and up to the neckline. This is why I said, why not just wear a nun’s habit? Because if you’re going to cover everything up, why bother even getting a wedding dress? Also remember most wedding take place in the summer where it’s hot and humid. One of my cousins got married and his wife wore a very modest, but heavy dress and she fainted after communion and was rushed to the hospital from heat stroke. Praise God she lived and went home the next morning, but the fact remains: wedding dresses are not just about being Modest/Immodest. And as far as the Vatican goes, they operate on a much different, stricter set of culture norms and folkways that I’d break 12 rules just walking in the door if I went there. We all fall short of the Glory of God, some harder than others. Even though she’s not the Catholic poster child for modesty, Regina is no “Bridezilla” either. Also, notice she has a full length veil that falls over her shoulders and chest so it’s not bare skin showing anyways!

  16. Shelly Renee L. May 21, 2012

    I believe the areas that are revealed from a strapless dress should be saved for your husband and God’s viewing alone. I had a really hard time finding a dress with sleeves and wasn’t strapless. Bridal shops do no favors for women trying to find a modest dress. It would cost more to buy the material and make it. I had lace sleeves and an open back. . couldn’t find anything more modest. . .

    • John L. May 26, 2012

      You do realize, and I mean this in the most charitable way possible, that the areas shown by a strapless dress are shoulders, collarbones and your sternum! What’s so sexual about those body parts? If the woman cant show those parts of herself, what CAN she show?!

  17. Jonathan D. May 21, 2012

    I cannot believe there is an actual debate here. Strapless dresses are immodest. Period. And another thing. Women, wouldn’t MEN be the best judges of whether something is modest or not, considering WE are the ones who are fighting with our eyes not to lust? I hate to completely dismiss all of your “opinions”, but seriously… 1 Tim 2:13. If your hearts were in the right place on this issue, then this discussion would have been over the minute strapless dresses were even called into question. Please, help your Christian brothers out… we’ve just told you how.

    • John L. May 22, 2012

      If you honestly cant help but lust after this girl, in that dress, honestly you have some growing and maturing to do. I wasnt tempted in the least by her. Modesty isnt just a project for women, we have to disipline ourselves as well….

      • Jonathan D. May 22, 2012

        John L., you are completely misguiding this conversation. I didn’t lust either, but we’re talking about a PRINCIPLE here, not a specific person/picture. OBVIOUSLY we have our responsibility to control our eyes. You know as well as I do what the truth is, so please don’t create division.

        • John L. May 23, 2012

          “Please dont cause Division” Tell that to our Lord and Savior who said, in Matthew 10:34, “Do not think I came to bring Peace to this world. I didnt come to bring Peace, but the sword.” Guess I’m just continuing the traditions of my Lord. By the way, did you know that 4,000 babies were aborted today, unjustly and brutally, Marriage is being defiled and peverted in 6 states and D.C., Countless hospitals choose to euthinize elderly patients desperatly tryign to live, beautiful potential human lives in the form of embryos are being destroyed in the name of scientific progress……. and you choose to accuse a new bride of modesty, putting CALLING OUT A GIRL ON MODESTY before any other issue facing our church and world. Talk about divisive

  18. Regina B. May 22, 2012

    Hi All,

    I would like to put forth a few additional points for consideration. The first is an excerpt from a recent piece by Jennifer Kaczor, which makes a great statement about the way some Catholics view modesty in an unhealthy or ineffective way:

    “And yet, a culture of false modesty isn’t the answer either. Some years ago, I knew a family who forbade their daughters to wear jeans…ever. They claimed it was immodest. The girls, who loved and respected their parents, acquiesced. Some years later, however, the parents’ dictum had unforeseen consequences. The girls went away to college, met other very conservative, very faith-filled young women and discovered that everyone else wore jeans. As simple as it might seem, this lead to questioning much else of what their parents had taught them. They suffered a crisis of faith because of an incomplete understanding of modesty. We have to be careful…We must draw a line, of course, but we must draw it thoughtfully. Our Catholic faith enjoins us to be free in the spirit of God. There is no prescriptive dress code to follow. Rather, we are called to follow a properly developed conscience, and if that fails, to fall back on common sense…”

    This lengthier excerpt is from Steve Skojec’s article entitled “The Well-Sheltered Catholic,” which I believe speaks to the points I made regarding our great ability and duty to evangelize our current culture:

    “For many Catholics — especially those with children — a retreat from the world seems at times the only option. Overwhelmed and surrounded by a secular, hedonistic, over-sexualized culture that grows increasingly antithetical to the faith, it becomes a constant battle to shelter our families. But in doing so, we risk losing touch with the very world in which we are meant to be the leaven.
    If the popular culture is an unhealthy environment for Catholic families, so too are echo chambers filled only with the ideas we like and agree with. This can transform into fantasy, a microcosm where — as my friend and Catholic journalist Hilary White recently described — Catholic enclavists have gone off into the woods to create a happy and comforting little Catholic world, well insulated from Outside. The kids are homeschooled, the women commonly wear the trademark shapeless plaid jumper/white t-shirt and sneakers combo, the men work at home, the books on the shelves are all from Ignatius or Angelus press, the jokes are clean and not very funny, conversation is always holy, the horrors of the squelching, seething pornographic world Outside are clucked at primly and the introduction of ironic humour is a wild and somewhat scandalous sensation.
    This is precisely the sort of mentality that is incapable of confronting the culture. Rather than trying to bring the light of the Church into a hostile world, such people find it safer to keep the light under a bushel basket. The reasons for doing so are noble, no question: We parents will stand before God and account for the formation of our children and want only what is best for their souls. But what also of the souls entrusted to our care? What of those individuals in society who, lost and needing a lifeline, find that all help has been withdrawn and they are alone?
    Those of us who have been blessed with a Catholic education and who wish to avoid being contaminated by a sinful culture may wish to consider the wisdom of the venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, who famously wrote in his Idea of a University, “It is a contradiction in terms to attempt a sinless literature about a sinful man.” Understanding that what we want man to be is something loftier than what man is, Newman believed that engaging the world meant understanding the reality of it. He continued:

    If then a University is a direct preparation for this world, let it be what it professes. It is not a Convent, it is not a Seminary; it is a place to fit men of the world for the world. We cannot possibly keep them from plunging into the world, with all its ways and principles and maxims, when their time comes; but we can prepare them against what is inevitable; and it is not the way to learn to swim in troubled waters, never to have gone into them.

    And those troubled waters are ripe with possibilities, though we won’t see them if we avoid them out of fear. I’ve watched tremendous “R”-rated movies, found brilliant satire in shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, heard poetic Christian allegory and a pining for salvation in the dark rock ballads of U2, been soothed by the tragic voice of Amy Winehouse, and seen gripping accounts of dystopic consumerist futures in the writings of William Gibson. Critical consumption combined with a Catholic worldview allows us to recognize artistry even when the artist falls short or the message misses the mark. Art is both an inspiration for and a reflection of the culture it derives from, and where it fails to inspire, it cannot help but provide insight (even if only to shed light on what is broken in the heart of postmodern man).
    At its best, it can also be a lot of fun.
    We can try to avoid all of this in the interest of avoiding danger, but there is no guarantee of safe passage in this life. If we do not bring Christ to the world, who will? We alone have the sacraments, and the rich intellectual and cultural and moral tradition of the Catholic Church. What we can learn about artistry from the master storytellers of our age, we can infuse with the hope of the greatest story ever known.
    Of those who are willing to speak to the world through culture and the arts, it must be conceded that their message is often the last thing the world needs to hear. That’s why it’s so important for the faithful to once again inspire and create culture, not only in an explicitly religious sense, but through the wider lens of the Catholic worldview. This is the worldview that encompasses both sinners and saints, that professes belief in a God made Man who ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, and died on a cross. Catholicism encompasses the breadth of human experience, from the height of ecstasy to the darkness of death. We have something to say because our Faith does not find hope in the notion of sinless man, but in the recognition of fallen man redeemed.”

    Finally, regarding the comments made about the dress code at the Vatican, being that that is the singular resting place of the Bones of St. Peter, I do believe that the stringent dress code is warranted and very appropriate. Furthermore, the Vatican has never issued a statement regarding a universal dress code for churches (nor has it spoken infallibly about strapless dresses, as Craig’s post seems to insinuate), and an individual’s parish church, by whom she is to be formed, is given the authority to determine whether or not a certain type of dress is appropriate for a wedding. Given that the dress was not low cut and that shoulder coverage was provided by a translucent veil, my ensemble was approved by the church in which I was married. Thus, I had no qualms presenting myself in front of my husband and Christ Himself in that dress on the day of my wedding.

    • Regina B. May 22, 2012

      Also, to be more clear on my use of the Kaczor excerpt, I think that many of the beliefs articulated in some of these responses (i.e. that strapless dresses are inappropriate…period) fall under that umbrella of a “culture of false modesty.”

      • Jonathan D. May 22, 2012

        Regina B., before you write another essay, please browse this site first:

        http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse_112

        • Regina B. May 22, 2012

          Jonathan,

          Thanks for providing this interesting source for opinions regarding modesty. I appreciate it! I checked out the overview of the survey, which states the following:

          “The Modesty Survey was not intended to serve as a scientific measurement of what the average man thinks about modesty. In the strictest sense, it isn’t a survey, but a discussion between Christian guys and girls who care about modesty. Over 200 Christian girls submitted their questions. In less than twenty days, over 1,600 Christian guys (12 and up) responded. Close to 200,000 separate pieces of data were collected, including 25,000 text responses.”

          The designers clearly state that this is not actually a survey, nor does it serve as a scientific measurement of what the average man thinks about modesty (as you insinuated in your first post); rather, it is a discussion piece and is, therefore, based upon opinion. Also, as Jesse previously noted, the study is not statistically significant due to the fact that it is not, in fact, an actual survey. The responses there are the result of the opinions of a very small subset of individuals.

          That said, once again, I think you are absolutely entitled to your opinion on the matter (as is everyone else who responded to those questions and who posted on this blog). However, I believe it would be erroneous to assert that such a site demonstrates or proves that “strapless dresses are immodest…Period.”

      • Allison-565208 May 22, 2012

        First of all, I don’t think any of the commenters who have suggested
        that strapless dresses are immodest would go so far as to say that
        women should wear “shapeless plaid jumpers.” On the contrary, I think
        that perhaps we just believe that a view of a woman’s bare shoulders,
        back and chest should be something reserved for that woman’s husband
        alone.

        And as for your argument that St. Peter’s requires more modest attire
        because the “bones of St. Peter” are there…well…forgive me if I’m
        wrong, but should we not show more modesty, reserve, and respect to
        our LORD Jesus Christ, present in the Eucharist in EVERY single
        Catholic mass than we would show to the relics of St. Peter? I’m just
        not seeing the validity of this argument.

        Regina, I used to be where you are. I wore things that were not
        modest, and I was defensive and argumentative when I was called out on
        it by a fellow brother in Christ. Perhaps before you write any more
        replies or continue to defend showing so much skin in church, you
        should prayerfully consider that MAYBE you are in error. There is no
        shame in coming to the conclusion that we have made a mistake. The
        REAL problem comes when our ill-placed intentions and our well-meaning
        actions turn into disobedience because of our refusal to consider that
        we might just be wrong.

        • Regina B. May 22, 2012

          Allison,

          Thank you for engaging in this dialogue. As I stated previously, and as you can see from my comments, I am neither defensive nor argumentative. Rather, I am simply putting forth my opinions on the subject and additional considerations for everyone’s review, especially since we Catholics can often become tempted to impose our opinions on others as if they were Church dogma (which none of these opinions are) and substitute unwarranted rigor for charity. You are more than entitled to disagree with my views. I respect your perspective on the matter but continue to stand by the opinions put forth in my piece.

          • Jonathan D. May 23, 2012

            Regina, the Church doesn’t need more luke-warm Catholics. There are enough of those already. We need faithful and obedient Catholics who are reverent and respectful, and are more interested in WHAT is right than BEING right.

            Again, don’t you think since men are the ones fighting with our eyes not to lust (Matthew 5:28), that WE would know BEST what is immodest? Unless your heart changes, even the Pope could call you out, and you’d still argue with him. Speaking of Popes, let’s hear what one of them had to say (so you don’t have to just take MY word for it):

            Pope Benedict XV – “One can not sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and station. Made foolish by a desire to please, they do not see to what degree the indecency of their clothing shocks every honest man and offends God. Most of them would formerly have blushed for such apparel as for a grave fault against Christian modesty. Now it does not suffice to exhibit themselves on public thoroughfares; they do not fear to cross the threshold of churches, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and even to bear the seducing food of shameful passions to the Eucharistic Table, where one receives the Heavenly Author of Purity.”

            Your entire article and all your comments are none other than disrespect to your Christian Brothers and irreverence to our Holy God. Bend over in front of a mirror before you leave your house, and if you can see your breasts, then either add a layer, don’t wear it, or don’t be Catholic.

            This article should be taken down so that young women who might be reading this will not be led to follow your example. And since I know you’re going to want the last word, (or last thousand words), you can have it. I’m out.

          • John L. May 23, 2012

            Regina- You looked beautiful, graceful and pure! Your veil especially was radiant and pretty, i loved it! I love long veils like that! May God Bless you and your marriage! :)

          • Carrie-529869 May 24, 2012

            I don’t think women understand men’s struggle. I think women grossly underestimate the amount of skin needed to be covered to help a guy out. I don’t blame women for this as they don’t have “men’s eyes and hearts” to know how much of a struggle it is.

            And… THIS is what happens when people wear strapless dresses:

            http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/2012/02/21/strapless/

  19. John-379366 May 26, 2012

    @Carrie-529869 Ok, please dont look all guys into one category and make us feel like we all should be walking around with funnels around our necks, stareing and wagging our tongues out of our mouths. We can handle ourselves, than you very much.

  20. Carrie-529869 May 26, 2012

    John, wow. Please read my post with a little more charity. This is meant to be compassionate and loving toward my holy brothers, not condemning or condescending. Your post, however, is.

    • John L. May 28, 2012

      I’m not tempted or lusting, in the least, by regina or her dress. So i apparently dont fit into your category. What do you want me to say? I wasnt condemning or condecending, just firm.

  21. Allison-565208 May 27, 2012

    This is probably the best explanation I have EVER seen about modesty, what the DEFINITION of modesty is, how guys’ brains work (something we as women CANNOT understand, no matter how much we would like to claim we can…), and practical advice on how to uphold your self-worth as a woman while not leading your brothers-in-Christ into temptation.

    PLEASE, before any more of you defend Regina and her immodest wedding dress, take a little time out of your day and watch this with an open heart and mind.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWKipaNH83E&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    • John L. May 28, 2012

      I watched the video…… Look, I’ll act as the voice (lone voice I may be lol) of those “defending Regina. First of all, I never said, nor did Regina or anyone else that Modesty is BAD, ugly or irrelevant. Far from it! A woman clothed modestly is a HUGE sign of relief and a very big sign of their moral fortitude and character! I love when a girl is dressed modestly; it brings joy to my heart. However, living in the real world and being realistic, I have come not to expect most girls to dress modestly. So, I have trained myself to always start any friendship, any relationship or even just any glance as aversion to avoid lusting. So, in doing this, yes, modesty does get lost in the shuffle because I’m avoiding the girls who are completely hanging out of their clothes, but sometimes in my efforts to do that, I never notice the girl who tries her best to be modest. I’m sorry if the sounds harsh, but it’s the sad reality of our world. Now that day-to-day life in the physical world. Online, like here or facebook or twitter, your focus can be completely geared onto a picture or set of pictures so you notice a lot more because that screen has your full, unadulterated attention. Why do you think porn does so well on the internet? Cause we let our guard down online. So looking at pictures of girls online, you notice a lot more and you can draw more conclusions or facts, if you will, about how exactly they’re dressed. And I’m telling you, as a 23 yr. old man, with a pretty well formed moral compass (No, I’m not perfect, the man with the perfectly formed moral compass hangs on the cross) but I can tell you, I find nothing but beauty and subtle grace in what Regina’s wearing. None of her bare skin is showing, did you even notice that? The veil covers her shoulders and collarbones so she’s technically covered; it’s just a distorted view. Also, there’s nothing exciting or exhilarating about modesty, there’s just not! When you date and/or eventually marry a modest girl, we do sort of take that modesty for granted. Once we go on like 10 dates and every date the girl is dressed modestly every time, we sort of let our guard down and come to expect that level of modesty because we feel safe with you. It doesn’t excite our carnal desires or arouse us. So modesty isn’t attractive, per se, it stops a girl from showing her full beauty to men that don’t deserve to see it. But with all that, I still hold firm that there is nothing wrong with what Regina wore because at the end of the day, men find different things attractive and different physical attributes and images are tempting for different men. We’re not all the same, we are unique in many ways.

  22. Adrienne U. May 28, 2012

    I am not Catholic any longer, but I am always trying to wear attractive, yet modest clothing. Modest means not drawing attention to onesself, especially to private parts of the body.

    I try to think….where are someone’s eyes going when they look at me?

    Recently , we went to a wedding as a family. The bride and bridesmaids were all in strapless dresses. My son commented later, “Mommy – what did you think about those dresses? I could easily see a lot of their (insert our word for a woman’s breasts)?”

    I have always thought that strapless dressed look like they are about to fall down and I personally wish women wouldn’t wear them.

    That being said, I think highly of the bride — I hope to talk w/ her about her choice at some point. We, as sisters in Christ, need to be willing to say something. It’s too late for the wedding, but not for other choices.

  23. Gemma G. May 28, 2012

    While I haven’t read every word of every comment, I have one question:

    WWMW?

    What would Mary wear?

    What would our Holy Mother wear?

    Do Brides of Christ wear strapless gowns?

    • John L. May 29, 2012

      WWMW? That’s easy, she’d cover up as much as humanly possible except her face, ya know why? Cause that was the cultural norm to do so in her times! Women were seen as evil, lustful, inherently disordered temtresses who were lower on the chain of importance than a man’s livestock! Plus they lived in a middle-eastern climate and landspape so you had to cover up in case of sandstorms wich, if you have bare flesh showing, could rip the skin right off depending on the severity of the storm. Yesterday I worked outside with my mom and aunt planting crops for the season. It was 95 degrees out. Imagine if my poor, 60 yr old aunt had to plant out in the summer heat, wearing what Mary wore. That’d be almost abusive on my part, wouldnt it?

      • John L. May 29, 2012

        Besides, Mary’s life isnt completely 100% the gospel on how a woman should live. if she was, they sex would be banned in marriage and we’d never have children would we? Cause Joseph and Mary never had sex…… That being said, a woman should have the same humble, loving, compassionate, strong attitude Mary had and the same willingness to step out and do the Lord’s work, no matter the personal cost.

  24. Marita-847688 May 29, 2012

    Let’s say for argument’s sake, that Regina is wrong. Nonetheless, you could be making her feel like she is an immodest person. There she was trying so hard to remain chaste to her husband before marriage and some of you are being very harsh about her clothing. Maybe the dress choice wasn’t the way to go, but I know if I was Regina I’d feel pretty awful about myself because I tried so hard to wait for my husband and then someone is calling me immodest and not chaste-like (if that’s a word). Not many 26 year olds are chaste these days and I commend her for waiting. Maybe next time she wears a dress she might see your point more clearly, but some of you are almost attacking her CHARACTER instead of the dress choice. Regina seems like such a lovely young lady, and her husband is lucky to have her. I’m going to stop now before tears start streaming down my cheeks.

    • John L. May 30, 2012

      Thank you, Marita! Well said! Agreed 100%

    • Diahann-472491 August 1, 2012

      I think immodesty and chastity are two different things. One can practice chastity but be immodest in clothing baring more than what should needed be esp in a sacred place. Remember, we have to be careful that our brothers as well as sisters in Christ who has to fight sexual orientation temptations should also not be put to the test or occasions of sins. We all have heard for sure that we should flee occasions of sins. In the end, one can be beautiful without baring a whole lot of skinl. As Our Lord told sister Lucia in one of the apparitions in Our Lady of Fatima, fashion for women will be introduced that would greatly offend our Lord. So it is up to us females to put ourselves in the presence of our Lord and really asked why we choose the particular clothing that we are wearing. Is it to glorify ourselves or our Lord? If we are daughters of Our Blessed Mother, look at her and see her as an example, would she wear what we are wearing?

  25. Marita-847688 June 6, 2012

    Just curious….Those of you who think Regina’s dress is immodest, what do you think would be acceptable? I do agree that you should be more covered, but I’d be interested to hear what people’s opinions are on this. Allison-I did check out your video, and it opened my eyes some, but I’m confused on the sleeve length. Is a thick strap okay for a regular dress that’s not for church? What about if it covers all of your shoulders but has no sleeves? What about one that has short sleeves that cover an inch or two? Could you check out my pictures on my profile?
    Anyway, I’d appreciate it if no one attacks Regina’s character.

  26. Shovo S. June 16, 2013

    My First Bandage Big Cartel provides you with your own independent store to sell online. Over 250,000 clothing designers, “BUY” Cloth from our online store. Delivery will be made within 3-10 business days from the day of purchase. A signature is required on delivery, therefore we recommend a work address if this is more convenient for you.
    Buy from here:>> http://myfirstbandage.bigcartel.com/

  27. Gabriela-998893 August 26, 2013

    I understand the point of view of both parts… yet the wedding is such an special event and we shouldn’t just go out there trying to prove our point over Regina’s one-in-a-lifetime event. I agree with Marita… we should be more careful in how the issue is approached, we all look forward to that very day and I really can’t concieve to talk about somebody’s wedding dress and judge her by it. Yes, modesty is a subject we may debate with no problem, but in my opinion attacking a person who is sharing with us that special moment for her and for her mother with harsh comments about her dressing code is very wrong. Besides as far as I could read just a couple congratulate her before acting like judges. We should practices charity even in little things like the comments we post.

    Regina, congratulations on your wedding, you looked beautiful, may God bless your marriage always! Don’t let any comment ruin the concept of your wedding day or the way you looked. Best wishes!

  28. Tom-995241 December 3, 2013

    As soon as I read the heading of this article I was sure that it would garnish a ton of responses.

  29. Emma-1018020 March 8, 2014

    Such a lovely dress, Regina! I hope your wedding was absolutely beautiful. :) God bless.

Post a comment

To post your comment please login:

-OR-