Today we have all kinds of ways to preserve our wedding dress for future generations, but what about those who plan to wear an heirloom wedding dress? They're not always in the best shape so what can you do? Recently, Abigail Kingston,30, planned to wear an heirloom dress that's been in her family for 120 years. It was first worn by the bride's great-great-grandmother, and since has been passed from one family member to another 10 previous times. It holds extra special sentimental value to Kingston because it was also her mother's wedding dress.
Kingston's first task was to track the dress down. Her mother told her, "The mother-of-the-last-bride has always been the keeper of the dress." They tracked it down, and the fourth bride to wear the dress (1960) shipped the gown. But when it arrived, and Kingston lifted it from the box, she worried that it might be a lost cause.
Over the 120 years since the silk/satin dress was first worn in 1895, it had been worn by brides of different sizes and was last worn in 1991. When Kingston retrieved the dress it was in less than ideal condition. According to the Pennsylvania news site Lehigh Valley Live "The sleeves were disintegrating, the dress was filled with holes and the satin had turned an unattractive brown. And when the tall, thin bride tried on the dress, it was so short it was a crop top."
Kingston turned to bridal designer Deborah LoPresti's salon, who after 200 hours of alterations, changing the color, and adding new sleeves were able to fix the dress in time for Kingston's October wedding.
The dress is beautifully restored, but because of its fragility, the bride has opted to wear a different gown for the outdoor ceremony, but she will be wearing her grandmother's locket and her great-grandmother's ring. She plans to change into the heirloom dress for cocktail hour.
The bride's mother said, "It is a magical wedding dress because she is the 11th bride to wear it, Who would think anything would last that long?"
Photo credit: Golgol Nokk