Google+Wearing an Heirloom Wedding Dress - Southern Weddings

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There are so many ways to layer family, history, tradition, and heirlooms into a wedding, and we love all of them! In the sartorial arena, we’ve featured hundreds of brides who wore a family veil (including me!), donned family jewelry (yep, I did that, too), or carried a passed-down handkerchief, but relatively few who actually wore a family wedding gown. When we heard the story of Alla’s gown, then, which was touched by not just two but four generations, we knew we had to share it with y’all!

From Alla, the bride: I have always wanted to wear my mother’s wedding dress, because it holds so much family history and beauty. The dress was handmade by my great-grandmother, Alla Youngblood, for whom I am named. She made every piece of lace, and every thread was hand sewn by her. My grandmother, her daughter, was the first one to wear the dress in 1957. She passed away nine years ago, and I knew that wearing the dress on my wedding day would bring back so many memories of her.

When I first tried the dress on, it fit like a glove — there were only a few alterations that needed to be made, but the dress was not changed. My mother also wore the dress for her wedding, and she also did not make any alterations — amazing! Due to the dress’s age, some of the lace was ripped. My mother, who loves to sew, used original lace from other parts of the dress to fix the holes.

My sister and matron of honor suggested adding a sash to the dress that she wore on her wedding day in 2012. My veil had previously been worn by my sister and mother — it was handmade by my grandmother in 1984.

We wanted the dress to play a huge role in our wedding day. To do this, we included the story of the dress in our program to share with guests at our wedding ceremony.

When I was walking down the aisle to be married to Jake, I felt so many different emotions. My grandmother was there with me, my mother was reminded of her wedding day, and my sister was represented, as well. I felt like I was making history, and it was such a humbling experience. Sharing the dress made my wedding day more special than I could have ever imagined.

Beautiful! Here’s to many more generations passing down this special dress! Ladies, I’d love to hear: did you wear any family heirlooms, or even a family gown, on your wedding day?

All photos by Candace Nelson, who is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar mary reply

    That dress is so lovely. I wore my mom’s wedding dress. I pretty much always knew I wanted to wear it and I was really lucky that it didn’t need any alterations! I just had a specially cleaned by a trusted tailor. I got my veil on a school trip to France (on a whim while I was engaged) so I’m saving it for any family members who want to wear it in the future.

  2. avatar Katie Corzo reply

    What a beautiful story! My necklace and earrings belonged to my great grandmother. My bouquet was wrapped i with a handkerchief and brooch that belonged to my great aunt. Also, I carried my paternal grandmother’s bible that she used in her wedding and my aunt carried in hers, along with a pink peony from a bush that belonged to my maternal grandmother. I wrapped my christening handkerchief around the bible and flower. And we toasted with the same silver goblets that my parents used at their reception almost 44 years ago.

  3. avatar Kelsey reply

    Beautiful! I love her dress as well as her Bridesmaids dresses. Very classy look.

  4. avatar Victoria reply

    That is a very beautiful sentiment. I love how the bride included the story of the dress in her wedding program.

  5. avatar FocusVogue South Africa reply

    Stunning pictures! Her wedding dress is so beautiful.

  6. avatar Kate reply

    What a beautiful dress! I also wore a dress that had previously been worn by my grandmother (1956) and my mother (1984). Though I likely would have chosen a different style if I had bought a new wedding dress, the family dress was so much more meaningful to me. I loved having that history of strong marriages – my grandparents were married for over 50 years and my parents celebrated their 30th anniversary just two days after my wedding – with me as I walked down the aisle!

  7. avatar Kate reply

    What a beautiful dress! I also wore a dress that had previously been worn by my grandmother (1956) and my mother (1984). Though I likely would have chosen a different style had I bought a new dress, the family dress was so much more meaningful to me. I loved having that history of strong marriages – my grandparents were married for over 50 years and my parents celebrated their 30th anniversary just two days after my wedding – with me as I walked down the aisle!

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