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“I would get to wear the dress of my dreams.”

Aug 16th

Guest Post by Jessica Joy Satryan Shaw: The photos on my grandma’s wall tell the story of our family tree.  I remember looking up at those photos as a little girl, fascinated by the collage of generations hanging together.

The bride's grandmother at her wedding in 1954.

The story of my wedding dress begins with those photos.  You see, when my dad proposed to my mom, there was not a lot in the way of a wedding budget.  That didn’t really matter, as is often the case when two young people are in love and have decided it’s forever.  As the planning went along, my grandma offered my mom her wedding dress, and so in 1978, my mom wore the same wedding dress that my grandma wore in 1954.  The little girl staring up at those photos on the wall was determined that she too would wear that dress.

As a little girl, the bride dreamed of wearing her grandmother's original wedding gown.

Jessica's Mom also wore the dress at her wedding in 1978.

Flash forward to 2014.  The love of my life proposes and what’s the first thing I do?  Well, okay, the first thing I did was say yes, drink champagne, and call my family and friends.  The first planning thing I did, however, was try on the dress.  And I was crushed.  I loved this dress, and remarkably, it was in mint condition.  But it didn’t fit, and it wasn’t flattering.  Enter Janice.  Janice Martin Couture had gotten rave reviews, especially when it came to heirloom dresses, and it’s clear why.  Her expertise is outstanding.  She easily assessed my dress and my figure, listened to what I wanted, and arrived at the perfect solution.  We would build an identical new bodice – one that fit me, lower the waistline to a more flattering position, and fix the only part of the dress I disliked – the poufy sleeves. I would get to wear the dress of my dreams.

The bride wearing her grandmother's wedding dress which had been redesigned and updated by Janice Martin.

And so began our time together, full of sketches, muslin fittings, tea, and laughter.  Beyond her expertise in design and alterations, Janice is a wonderfully warm human being, and the atmosphere she creates in her shop is so comfortable.  We were a team in this project, discussing ideas and comparing looks.  Along the way, I decided to include items from all of the mothers and grandmothers in our families.  My headpiece, from my mother-in-law, was also redesigned by Janice.  The original long veil was replaced with a birdcage veil, a perfect style match for my 1950’s dress.  And that’s what it was now: still my grandma’s dress and my mom’s dress, but now, my dress too.

The bride wears her dream dress on her wedding day!

I don’t know if I will have a daughter, or if she would even be interested in my dress.  But I do know that she will grow up seeing photos of it worn by her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother.  Thanks to Janice Martin Couture, the story of the dress continues.

Jessica and her groom celebrate on their wedding day.

Are you interested in wearing your grandmother’s or mother’s original wedding dress? Explore our heirloom wedding gowns for more information about how your dream dress can be brought to life!

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