-- Pennsylvania bride-to-be Abby Kingston will be the 11th woman in her family to wear a wedding dress that has been passed down for generations.
Abby first laid eyes on the 120-year-old heirloom wedding dress when she was eight years old. Photos of past brides hung above a piano in her house.
One of the bridal portraits featured Leslie Kingston, Abby’s mother.
Leslie was the sixth bride to wear the dress. The Victorian gown was first worn by Leslie’s grandmother and Abby’s great grandmother, Mary Lowry Warren, in 1895.
Abby’s great aunt mailed the wedding dress to Leslie in “two boxes with archival tissue paper.”
When Abby opened the box she immediately thought there was “no way” she would be able to wear the dress at her wedding because of its condition.
“Not only was it a hideous color brown, but [it was] a crop top,” Abby said.
The length of the dress also posed an issue for the bride.
“I'm 5'10" and [my great grandmother] was short, as many of the other brides were," said Abby. "When I put it on, I thought there was no way."
Leslie reached out to designer Deborah LoPresti of Easton, Pa., to try and bring the dress back to life.
LoPresti’s salon spent over 200 hours on repairs and trips to New York City for fabric matching to restore the dress to its former glory.
Because of its fragility, Abby will wear the vintage heirloom dress just for the cocktail party. She will wear a new Rivini wedding gown for the 150-person outdoor ceremony.
“I'm equally as excited to have two dresses to wear on my wedding day to incorporate something old, something borrowed and something new,” said the bride.
Abby’s “something blue” will be her grandmother’s blue star sapphire ring.
Leslie said that the “secret behind the dress” is something special and unique to each of the brides, present and past, who have kept the tradition alive.
“It is not the style or the fit or the condition of the gown that matters,” said Leslie, “but rather the love that has been handed down through the generations.”
Abby and her fiancé Jason Curtis will wed on Oct. 17 at The Lake House Inn in Perkasie, Pa.