A Loving Tribute: the Mother of the Bride Dress

When is a dress more than a dress? When, like with Linda Mitchell, it becomes a family tradition. We are thrilled to share her story. 

The Perfect Dress

Linda Mitchell was planning her wedding in the early months of 1975. Her mother bought a new dress at Yolanda’s of Belmont in Massachusetts for the special occasion. The floor-length sky blue gown featured delicate weave-work and baby pearl beading covering the tank-style bodice, and it beautifully fit the mother of the bride. To this day, Linda recalls with clarity the memory of watching her mother in the showroom, thinking at the time she had definitely picked the perfect dress.

Linda’s mother passed away in 1992. Yolanda’s, an institution in bridal and formalwear in the metropolitan Boston area since the 1960s, closed permanently in 2009. Yet Linda hung onto the blue dress and treasured the memories associated with it. 

The dress remained in a special place in her closet, never worn until 2001, when Linda’s daughter announced her plans to marry in Bermuda. Linda’s own search for the perfect mother of the bride gown proved fruitless at first. Linda wanted an outfit suitable for a tropical destination wedding, elegant yet formal. As it turned out, she had the perfect dress all along, and it fit.

“How about I wear the dress Nanny wore to my wedding?” Linda suggested to Heather one day after trying it on. She’d meant it as a joke, but Heather was thrilled with the idea. The Mitchells thus began a tradition of spanning the perfect mother of the bride dress over generations. While Linda’s mother could not be present for Heather’s wedding, both women embraced the nostalgia tied to the gown and happy thoughts of “Nanny” being with them in spirit.

The Perfect Gift

In 2021, Linda was about to welcome her new daughter-in-law to the family and wanted something unique and from the heart to commemorate the event. While browsing Instagram for ideas, she discovered StoneWear Ceramics and our beautiful, customized wedding gown sculptures. The pictures inspired Linda to commission us for a replica of her daughter-in-law’s dress (see below). 

As Linda surveyed our other works, she noticed a sculpture of a wedding gown also worn by different generations in the same family. Linda was so pleased with the replica of her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress, she asked if we would be willing to create a second sculpture, this time of her beaded heirloom gown.

We founded StoneWear Ceramics in 2019 to create inspirational gifts celebrating love and new beginnings associated with weddings, so we happily took on the commission because this dress had special meaning for Linda’s family. We sculpted the dress using our special stoneware” clay and, after two firings, painted the dress to color match Linda’s sky blue gown. 

The biggest achievement associated with this particular sculpture was the intricate beadwork not only on the bodice and sleeves but the miniature purse attached to the left cuff. We completed all these details of pearls and glass beading after sealing the sculpture. Overall, the entire work took approximately forty hours–over the course of 8 weeks–to complete. Work on the purse alone, which we added as a surprise detail for Linda, took five hours.

In the end, the attention to detail and color was well worth it when Linda received her commission. The two-time mother of the bride was so thrilled with our work, she immediately donned the dress again to pose with her newest heirloom and sang our praises on video:

The Perfect Memory

Linda Mitchell’s sculpture is one of a kind, as is the dress that inspired it. The sculpture not only symbolizes the beautiful and unique design of the dress but its role in the Mitchell family for the last five decades, a tradition passed from mother to daughter.

The gift of a StoneWear Ceramics bridal gown or formal dress sculpture is one to treasure. No two StoneWear sculptures are alike because every work of art is based on a bride’s wedding day dress–from the gown’s length to the individual accents that give the bride her unique style. Every gown we create also aligns with the bride’s form, adding a truly personalized touch that isn’t copied elsewhere. Mothers–and mothers-in-law–have given StoneWear Ceramics sculptures to the brides in their families and wedding and anniversary gifts, as have husbands for the special women in their lives. 

A StoneWear gown is a personal gift that makes a statement and preserves cherished memories. We are proud to capture the beauty of your wedding or formal gown and present you with a work of art you will pass down to new generations. Contact us today to learn more about commissioning your gown in stone.

Looking for a special, one-of-a-kind gift? 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.

Order your Stonewear Sculpture

Honoring An Heirloom: The Generation Gown

“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.

Order your Stonewear Sculpture
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