Influencer Alexis Houston received nearly half a million likes on Instagram when she shared a video of her mother, her sisters, and her sister-in-laws heading to dinner in their wedding gowns. “My five sisters, mom and I wore our wedding dresses for our monthly dinner and dessert,” she wrote over the viral clip.
The family outing included their mother, Terri Bonin, and her four daughters: Madeleine Frost, 28, Alexis Houston, 25, Annalise Hiley, 23, and Kate Bonin, 18. Her daughters-in-law, Hannah Joy Bonin, 30, and Sydnie Bonin, 26, also joined in on the fun.
Each month, Terri and her daughters gather together (while their husbands stay home with their children) for a girls’ night out at True Food Kitchen in The Woodlands, Texas, located near Houston. But this time was different, as they opted to show up to the restaurant in their wedding dresses.
“We decided that the most expensive dresses we owned deserved to be worn and enjoyed for more than just one day in our lives,” Alexis captioned the video, which showed the women each in their floor-length gowns. “We’ve decided to make this a yearly tradition.”
However, it seems that trying to fit into years-old wedding dresses wasn’t an easy feat. “We met together before the dinner to tape each other into our dresses,” Alexis revealed, before adding that her mother borrowed her daughter-in-law’s prom dress and her 18-year-old sister thrifted hers.
After their dinner, the women filmed themselves twirling outside in their wedding gowns. “100/10 recommend doing this! Absolutely SO fun!!” she wrote.
In her caption, Alexis revealed how fellow patrons at the restaurant reacted to all the women arriving for dinner in their wedding dresses. “I’ve been asked what the response was from the people around us,” she added. “Well, we were recorded on phones, complimented, asked what the occasion was and asked to be taken photos with. Can’t say we didn’t enjoy the attention.”
Since it was posted on 19 May, Alexis Houston’s video has been flooded with comments from people praising the women for their bold yearly tradition.
“Yearly tradition???? What if one of you doesn’t fit in the dress anymore?” asked one user to which Houston jokingly replied: “More duct tape.”
“I wear mine every year on our anniversary,” said someone else. “It’s too expensive of a dress to not wear it!”
“This is so amazing!!!” a third user wrote.
Speaking to The Independent, the Bonin family revealed that they were inspired to wear their wedding dresses out in public after watching an Instagram Reel of another woman going out in her own wedding dress. “We saw this Reel that was so funny of this woman putting on her wedding dress with her friends and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, we should do this,’” Alexis told us. “But instead of doing it in the house, let’s just go to our normal restaurant.”
“So, we decided to do it, took lots of pictures and film, and it was so fun and hilarious,” she said, adding that their restaurant outing wasn’t “out of the blue.”
In fact, because their mother-daughter dinner is a monthly occurrence, eldest sister Madeleine said that’s partly why it was so “hilarious” that their video went viral. “It’s like, this is just a normal dinner for us,” Madeleine explained. “We just happened to wear our dresses and everyone thinks it’s such a big deal, and I think that’s just so funny.”
When it came time to put on their actual wedding dresses, after several years and several children later, many of the women found themselves “squeezing” into their dresses using bobby pins and tape. As they arrived at the restaurant, daughter-in-law Sydnie recalled how patrons at True Food Kitchen were equally “surprised” and “confused” to see the group of women dining in their wedding gowns.
“We had so many people come up to us,” Alexis added, describing how one woman who was celebrating her birthday had even asked for a group photo. “It was almost like they thought we had all gotten married to husbands and had just left them at the altar to go hang out.”
For matriarch Terri, the best part about the wedding dress experience was hearing from former brides who wanted to carry on the tradition for themselves. “That was exactly what we wanted to happen, is we wanted to inspire women to get out, get dressed up, have some fun with their sisters and with their friends,” Terri told us.
As for how the wedding dress outing brought them closer together as a family, Sydnie explained that the experience was just the icing on the cake of their already tight-knit bond. “Sometimes you need time to go deeper with people, and then other times you need experience to go deeper with people,” Sydnie noted. “This was something where it was an experience that drew us together.”
Now, the Bonins hope their viral video inspires others to “make time for fun.”