“Hold still, just one more moment. We’re almost done.”
Laura Marie Dansby Tudor of Beaufort, South Carolina, held pins in her mouth, pursing her lips in steadied concentration while draping the panels of a carefully cut dress pattern on her daughter Carole. The wedding reception would be held on June 27, 1964 at the Historic Anchorage hotel, and Carole’s dress would need the proper length to navigate the stairs.
This dress pattern, and the resulting bridal gown would soon become one of the most significant family heirlooms, spanning three generations of women.
Something Old & Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Carole was married on June 27, 1964 at the historic Anchorage Hotel. There, Carole wore the beautiful gown, handcrafted by her mother, as she married her high school sweetheart, Charles Bruce Whitney, Jr.
Thirty-five years later, Carole was thrilled when her youngest daughter Laura decided to try on the same handmade wedding dress on a visit to Jefferson City, TN in 1999. Laura immediately fell in love with the warm, creme-white color of the aged fabric, and it fit her like a glove — except in the arms.
A talented seamstress searched high and low for some similar lace and carefully dyed it, steeping the lace with tea until it matched the original fabric perfectly. The seamstress then expanded the delicate organza sleeves, carefully adding lace down each arm and repairing any signs of wear the gown had gathered over time. Several tiny rips in the bodice and skirt were skillfully hidden, and Carole watched as her wedding dress stepped into its second life, preserved and restored by her daughter’s love story. The gown was now absolutely perfect for Laura to wear as she wed Warren Heath Hoagland on July 17, 1999.
To mark the wedding dress’ second chapter, the seamstress also added a ribbon, embroidered with both wedding dates, to the inside of the gown along the hem of the skirt. This new, small detail would mean so much for the future of this wedding dress.
Little did the flower girl, Whitney, know that she would someday wear her grandmother’s gown as well!
Celebrating A Love Story That Spans 3 Generations
On October 17, 2021, Whitney was able to slip her arms into the altered gown 58 years after its creation. The hand sewn ribbon along the hem now holds three wedding dates enclosed by two white doves.
Whitney married Hunter wearing the gown that spanned three generations in her family. Created by her great grandmother, worn by her grandmother, and worn again by her aunt, Whitney chose to continue this beautiful family tradition by wearing the gown for her wedding this past October.
I am so honored to have witnessed such a special love story, and was absolutely thrilled to receive the request from Shannon, Whitney’s mother, to create two replicas of this very special gown, one for Whitney and one for her Aunt Laura.
I am humbled and honored to play a small roll in preserving such a meaningful family tradition and love story. How amazing that this gown, created in 1964, has now become a work of art and inspired another pair of heirloom pieces in its likeness, set in stone to continue this beautiful story across future generations of this family.
Start Your StoneWear Design
A wedding dress replica from StoneWear Ceramics celebrates the love you share, which makes it one of the best, personalized wedding anniversary gifts you can give. If you’re looking to do something special and one-of-a-kind, use our Order Form to start your StoneWear design! Once we receive your request, we’ll send you an estimate and discuss the details of bringing your custom piece to life.