Bride Wears 127-Year-Old Wedding Dress—Would You?

allison rinaldi wedding dress

After I got engaged, one of the first things my mom did was she pulled out her preserved wedding gown from the 1980s, that she had stored away in her closet for that very moment. I'll never forget the look on my dad's face when he walked up the stairs and found quite a scene: My mom had draped the dress over her front side and stuck her arms in the poufy, lace sleeves, veil and all, while I was bowled over in laughter with tears silently streaming down my face. It was a gorgeous wedding dress—don't get me wrong. I just always envisioned having a custom-made version of my own. 

So it was only fitting that my mama dukes is the one who told me about this fascinating story, which aired on The Today Show this morning. The video segment was about Allison Rinaldi, a 23-year-old graphic artist who wed husband Chris Rinaldi on June 11 in the same dress that her great-great grandmother, grandmother, mother and aunt wore to their nuptials. “When I wore this on my wedding day it meant a lot to me to be connected with those marriages that went before,” Barbara told TODAY.  The dress was first worn in 1884 and its last appearance before Allison was in 1982. The priceless family heirloom is "Made of tone-on-tone ecru silk brocade and patterned with chrysanthemum flowers." Allison loved its history so much that she went to great lengths to wear it, even working with a personal trainer to be able to make it fit on her size 6 frame.

This touching tradition made me wonder: Aside from the sentiment associated with it, would you wear a family member's wedding dress on your big day to help cut back on costs? Tell us and leave a comment! In a recent Facebook discussion, we asked BG fans how they saved money on their gown. Some of you told us that you comparison-shopped, negotiated the price with a bridal retailer and even tried tracking down the dress overseas, where it may be less expensive, but no one mentioned wearing a gown passed down to them. I've heard stories from brides who have worn someone else's dress but made it their own by adding or deconstructing it in some way (with the original owner's permission, of course!) or modernizing it with accessories. I plan on incorporating my mother's veil into my bridal look, which will be my "something borrowed." What's yours?

—Stefania Sainato


Featured: David Tutera on Wedding Themes
Get more expert advice here!