Following a Decades-Old Family Tradition, Young Bride Wears a 120-Year-Old Dress on Her Wedding Day

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This one’s for the books of all odd things. Young bride Abigail Kingston from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, got married wearing a 120 year-old wedding dress that has been worn by ten other brides from her mother’s ancestral line.

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Abigail’s great-grandmother Mary Lowry Warren was the first one to wear the Victorian-era satin dress way back in 1895. The last time it was used was more 25 years ago, in 1991.

Not all women in their family were able to use the dress. It took five decades before the tradition of passing the gown from one generation to the next started because Lowry’s daughters refused to wear it.

On February 20, 1946, Lowry’s granddaughter Jane Woodruff agreed to wear the wedding gown, starting the decades-long tradition. Two years later, Virginia Woodruff wore the same gown to her wedding on October 13, 1948.

Being aware of the tradition, Kingston wanted to wear the same dress, but they lost track of where it was last seen. Abby’s mother, Leslie Kingston, found out that Sara Ogden had it as she wore it on her wedding day in 1960.

However, when Abby got hold of the gown, she thought it would be impossible to use it, given its bad condition. But after hours of work by bridal designer Deborah LoPresti, the gown was restored. Kingston shared that it wasn’t actually the first time the gown underwent restoration. It was cut before and lengthened again, considering the varying sizes of the women who wore it.

The fourth time the wedding dress was worn was in 1960, then it reappeared in 1976 and was worn again in 1977. The seventh bride to wear it was Janet Kearns who got wed in October 30, 1982. It was used again in 1986 by Jane Ogden and was worn by Virginia Kearns during her wedding on August 26, 1989. The last woman to wear it was Ann Ogden, who got wed on July 4, 1991.

Abby was the eleventh bride to don the 120-year-old dress. But she said that because the dress was “too fragile,” she decided to wear a new one and just donned the gown during the cocktail hour.

Nevertheless, she was proud that even for a short time, she was able to relive the special tradition that her family had been following for decades now. As her mother said, “It’s not just the dress that’s been handed down, it’s the love.”

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