Abigail Kingston is set to walk down the aisle on October 17, 2015 in a dress that has been worn by 10 of her ancestors, including her great-great grandmother and mother. The moment her soon-to-be-husband proposed she knew she wanted to wear the old wedding dress that had been in her family for so many years.
30-year-old Abigail’s first hurdle was tracking down the dress. The keeper of the dress is always the mother of the last bride that wore it. Turns out, Sara “Sally” Seiler Ogden, the fourth bride to wear the dress, was the current keeper as her daughter, Abigail’s aunt, wore it in 1991. She happily shipped the dress to the Kingston’s address.
When Abigail excitedly opened the box she was instantly disappointed. The dress was full of holes and the delicate silk had turned funky shades of yellow and brown. Not to mention, Abigail is taller than the other women who have worn the dress so it was much too short.
Regardless, the Pennsylvania-native knew the historically rich old-fashioned gown was the perfect “something old” for her big day, and she decided to stop at nothing to make it work. Abigail had her doubts but Wilson Borough bridal designer Deborah LoPresti’s salon came to her rescue, taking many trips to New York City’s garment district and completing over 200 hours of carefully conducted alterations.
The dress has been reinvented for Abigail; all while maintaining it’s original appearance and charm. Mary Lowry Warren, Abigail’s great-great grandmother who was wed in Buffalo, New York on December 11, 1895, originally wore the Victorian-era silk dress.
It has since been passed down through the generations, worn by 10, almost 11, brides from Abigail’s mother’s side of the family. Each bride has put her own spin on the dress, but Abigail knew she wanted the dress to look just as it did 120-years-ago when her great-great grandmother first wore it.
The couple will be wed in an outdoor ceremony on Lake Nockamixon at the Lake House Inn in Perkasie, Bucks County. Due to the delicate nature of the dress, the bride will wear a different dress for the actual ceremony, slipping into the vintage family heirloom for cocktail hour.
Abigail is currently trying to persuade her aunt to come to the wedding, as this will bring the tradition full circle. After all, it was at her Aunt Ogden’s wedding that she originally saw the dress when she was around 5-years-old, at which time she decided it was the most beautiful dress she’d ever seen.
Abigail’s mother Leslie Kingston said, “It is a magical wedding dress because she is the 11th bride to wear it. Who would think anything would last that long? We’re just really happy and blessed we can keep the tradition going.”
Photo Credits: Kelly McEwan