Imagine finding a wedding dress in pristine condition in a dusty attic– one that was hand-made and worn by your great-great-grandmother in 1870– and having some minor alterations done for a perfect fit on your own big day. Then imagine searching for a dry-cleaning company that will carefully clean the layers of hand-made lace and silk ribbon flowers, knowing the family heirloom will probably be worn by other brides in the family for years to come.
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Now imagine that dress mysteriously disappearing.
When Tess Newall found herself in this situation earlier this year, she was understandably distraught. When she told her grandmother that she’d gotten engaged in the summer of 2015, her grandmother mentioned she still had the dress her mother, Dora Torin, had worn at her own nuptials and “she thought that I might like it as I love antique things,”Newall recalled.
The dress was almost a perfect fit and, with some minor alterations, Newall was able to wear it during her wedding ceremony that summer. Photographer Seth Baines of Seth Baines Photovideo captured stunning images of the gown at the romantic ceremony, and its clear that Tess’s dress was a perfect choice for her big day!
“The dress was one of the most special things about the day, it made it complete and I was overjoyed to have been able to wear such a beautiful family heirloom,”she said.
In September, she took it to a dry cleaners in Edinburgh with such a solid reputation that it had what’s known as a Royal Warrant, essentially a seal of approval from members of the royal family for its high-quality service. But when her father returned in January to pick up the dress, “the shop was closed and there was a notice saying administrators had been called in to sequester the company.â€
Fearing the dress had been sold off, Newall took to Facebook and posted a plea for anyone with any information about the dress to get in touch as soon as possible. Her appeal was shared 300,000 times and eventually was seen by the cleaner’s landlord. He got in touch with the family, saying he “found what he thought was a pile of antique lace in the basement and realized it could be the dress,”and invited the family to come have a look.
Thankfully, he was right.
Newall’s family was finally reunited with their priceless heirloom — and thankfully so, since, as Newell pointed out, “more family memories need to be woven into its threads.â€
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