My wedding dress is a 1964 Alfred Angelo ballgown which I found on preownedweddingdresses.com (which I now swear by and recommend to every newly engaged woman I meet). I loved it the minute I saw it because of its unique and stunning train. I kept looking at other dresses for several weeks but couldn’t help always coming back to this one.
The dress was worn in the woman’s 1965 wedding and was one of the most expensive dresses at the time. The woman told me that she found it in a bridal magazine shortly after getting engaged it was the first and only dress she ever tried on. She, just like me fifty years later, had been completely blown away by the incredible train and knew she had to have it. The mailed me the page from the original bridal magazine, which is pictured above.
After emailing back and forth with the owner for several months I scheduled a time to drive to New Jersey over my spring break to try the dress on. By that time I had already decided to buy the dress and was planning on taking it home with me after trying it on.
Several weeks before I left I began researching the vacuum seal method of preserving gowns since that is how it had been preserved in 1965 after the wedding and hadn’t been opened since. I was horrified to read over and over again that vacuum seal preservations destroyed gowns by weakening and yellowing the fabric.
Sure enough, when my gown was opened several days before I tried it on it was severely weakened. The veil, which was on top, disintegrated upon being touched and the dress itself was yellowed and the lining entirely rotten. The yards of chantilly lace also tear with the slightest pressure. On top of everything, we realized that the cleaner who had “preserved” the dress hadn’t cleaned it first like they were supposed to and there were still original stains on the train and bodice.
I tried the dress on anyway, only to realize that it was undeniably too small. My rib cage was too broad for the bodice and no amount of weight loss would ever make me fit into the dress properly. That, on top of the previously unknown damage was enough to me sadly leave the dress behind, afraid of investing so much money into the dress before I even knew if I could make it work.
Several days later the couple contacted me saying that they would like to give me the dress if I was still interested in it. I was elated and completely blown away by their kindness! So during my finals week I drove to New Jersey again and picked up the dress!