Growing up, Ame Bartlebaugh always dreamed of wearing her mother's wedding veil on her own walk down the aisle.
The veil was long and went perfectly with her mom's sleeveless dress with lace trim and a train. Her mom, Patti Bartlebaugh, wore it at her 1985 wedding. Her aunt, Lynne Holder, did, too.
So now that Ame Bartlebaugh is engaged to fiance Scott Iwan, it was her turn to wear the veil and maybe even the dress at her December 2019 wedding. She went to her grandmother's attic in Willowick, Ohio, to find the garments, but when she opened the dry cleaning box that the dress and veil had been carefully stored in for more than three decades, she discovered the wrong items.
Ame Bartlebaugh turned to Facebook with a desperate plea, posting, "I am now in search of the owner of this gown. I would hate for someone not to have their mothers [sic] dress."
Less than 24 hours later, a woman named Jenn Glem saw Ame Bartlebaugh's post and recognized the dress and veil in the box as belonging to her family friend Michelle Havrilla.
Havrilla had realized she had received the wrong garments in 2013 when her basement flooded and she opened the box she thought contained her wedding dress and veil and discovered the wrong ones.
"It was a horrible day when I opened that box and it wasn't my dress," Havrilla said in a video her son Brian posted on Facebook when she was reunited with the correct dress last week.
"I was stunned. I didn't think I would ever see it again," Havrilla told ABC News. "When I opened that box back in 2013 and found the wrong dress, it was like a piece of me was ripped out and last week, it was back."
Both families used the same dry cleaner to preserve the dresses, and both believe the dry cleaner is responsible for the mix-up. The dry cleaner in question has since closed.
The dress destroyed in the Havrilla's flood wasn't Patti Bartlebaugh's dress either, so Ame Bartlebaugh is still searching for her mom's dress.
The only lead so far? One person who got in contact with Ame Bartlebaugh on Facebook believes the dry cleaner may have mistakenly tried to give her Patti Bartlebaugh's dress when she picked up her wedding dress in 1994, but she checked the box and realized it was the wrong dress before leaving the cleaner's shop.