The wedding gown has been on top of the bridal checklist for ages. Oftentimes, it receives more importance than the wedding ring or the contract. But what makes a wedding gown even more special? Here’s a bride who may have found the most special wedding dress ever to be worn.
The term “something borrowed” refers to a token of love that a bride receives from her mother, sister or other relatives before her big day. To some, this refers to a bridal gown passed down from mother to daughter.
Abigail Kingston from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania may have worn a borrowed dress for her wedding day, but she took the famous term to a completely different level. That’s because her famous wedding dress had been passed down to several generations beginning in 1895.
It was Mary Lowry Warren, Abigail’s great-great-grandmother, who first wore the Victorian-era satin gown in 1895. Since then, it had been passed down to 10 brides on Abigail’s mother’s side of the family. It was last worn in 1991.
Abigail first saw the wedding dress at her Aunt’s wedding when she was 5 years old. She quickly fell in love with it. She said that when she and her fiancé, Jason Curtis got engaged, she immediately knew that she wanted to wear the family heirloom. But she had to go on quite the journey to track down the dress.
Her mother, Leslie Kingston, found out that the current keeper of the gown was family member Sara ‘Sally’ Seiler Ogden, who wore it in 1960.
Sara happily shipped it to Abigail, but when Abigail saw the condition of the dress when she received it ahead of her October 17 nuptials, she wasn’t sure it would be possible for her to wear it. The sleeves were disintegrating, it was riddled with holes, and the once-white satin had turned an unattractive brown. And the century-old dress didn’t even come close to fitting the tall, slender bride.
“I thought it’s just not possible. I’m just not going to be able to wear it,” said Abigail.
A friend of Abigail’s mother told her about Deborah LoPresti in Easton, Pennsylvania, who had experience working with vintage dresses, “but never one worn by 10 other brides,” said Abigail.
Thanks to 200 hours of painstakingly restoring the dress from brown to champagne color, reworking the sleeves, fitting it to Abigail’s body and working around the wiring in the skirt, Abigail will don the dress on her wedding day on Oct. 17.
The dress may have gone through several alterations which required replacing the hand-sewn pleated sleeves, something which Leslie was “sad” about, it’s finally restored to its original design, worn by Abigail’s great-great-grandmother Mary when she got married in Buffalo, New York on December 11, 1895.
“The sleeves were in rags, and I had my fairy godmother make it back into this beautiful dress. I never imagined that I would ever put that dress on, and I feel like it fits perfectly. At the same time, I felt like Cinderella,” said Abigail.
Abigail will be the 11th bride to wear the gown and on her big day she plans to wear a locket her grandfather gave her grandmother on their 50th wedding anniversary, as well as her great-grandmother’s ring. To honor the women in her beautiful family line she will also display framed photos of each of the previous 10 brides wearing the historic gown throughout the wedding venue.
Bride one: Mary Lowry Warren, Kingston’s great-great-grandmother, first donned the Victorian-era satin gown in 1895
Bride No. 2: Lowry’s granddaughter Jane Woodruff who was delighted to wear the dress for her February 20, 1946, wedding to John Kearns and is the one who started the dress tradition after her mother didn’t want to wear it
Bride No. 3: Another granddaughter Virginia Woodruff married Douglas MacConnell Oct. 13, 1948 and was the third bride to wear the dress
Bride No. 4: Sara Seiler married Duncan Ogden on June 15, 1960. The dress was still long an in its original style back then before her relatives made it shorter in the 1980s
Bride No. 5: Keeping with the tradition: Laird MacConnell became the fifth bride to wear the dress when she married Timothy Hensler on Oct. 16, 1976
Bride No. 6: Mother-of-our-bride Leslie Woodruff Kingston is shown on her Aug. 6, 1977 wedding day. She was the sixth bride to walk down the aisle in the gown.
Bride No. 7: Janet Kearns married Mark Daigle Oct. 30, 1982 maker her the 7th bride. She added lace to the dress to cover up the damage done over the years
Bride No. 9: Virginia Kearns wed Charles Stinnett on Aug. 26, 1989
Bride No. 10: Ann Ogden was the last bride to wear the dress. She married Robert Hausslein on July 4, 1991
- Something borrowed for the tenth time: Woman will be the 11th member of her family to get married in the same wedding gown that’s been handed down for 120 years
- Bethlehem native is 11th to wear wedding gown – News – poconorecord.com – Stroudsburg, PA
- This Bride Will Be The 11th Person In Her Family To Wear This Wedding Dress