Bride Wears 127-Year-Old Wedding Dress for Good Luck


wedding gown

Like most women, I've been fantasizing about my ultimate wedding dress ever since I was a little girl (in my case, when I watched my first Disney movie). But Allison Shellito Rinaldi didn't have to think twice about her dream gown. When the 23-year-old got married in June, she chose to wear a 127-year-old wedding dress.

Normally, I'd be all like, What's up with that!? But this particular dress is very, very special. First worn by her great-grandmother in 1884, Allison was the fifth woman in her family to wear the gown on her wedding day.

My first thought: How does such an ancient dress stay so well-preserved and beautiful? Allison's mother told the Today show that all they do is keep it wrapped in linen in the closet. It also helped that Allison changed into a different dress for the reception.

Even better: The ecru silk brocade gown seems to bring good luck to those who wear it, as all of the women in their family have had long, happy marriages, Allison's mom says. Marriage insurance in the form of a dress? I say l'chaim! Why not?!

My mom and I moved last March, and only just recently did we finally find her wedding dress. Preserved ever so delicately in a box, we opened the extensive saran wrap packaging together. For the first time since my parents got married, the dress was back in her hands.

Admittedly, it was beautiful. It has long sleeves and is covered from top to bottom in lace. But I've got to be honest: The design is totally dated. I told Mom that the dress wasn't my style, and I wouldn't want to wear it on my wedding day (years and years from now). I didn't mean to be rude -- she said herself she couldn't envision me wearing it either. My dream dress, a strapless sweetheart style with an empire waist, is essentially the complete opposite of hers. And you know what? That's OK.

Of course, it would be totally neat for me and my mother to start a tradition of our own, like Allison's family has done. Maybe for now, however, we'll think smaller. Like a garter, or a necklace. Everyone needs something borrowed, right?

Take a look-see at Allison's story from Today last week:

Would you wear a 127-year-old wedding dress?


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clothes, wedding, style


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jalaz77 jalaz77

As long as it was intact! That is really cool!

colin... colins_mom

I want to wear my grandmothers dress from 1953 so if it had been in my family that long and was in good shape hell yeah! I love that style of dress any way :)

madam... madamekatekate

I wouldn't wear just any old dress, but if it were my style and flattering on me-and I didn't desperately want a different gown-why not?

This particular dress is beautiful and well-preserved.

cassi... cassie_kellison

Only if it had family history like this.


mikey... mikeyjavimami21

I would if it were that dress! it's beautiful!!!

nonmember avatar Becca

Actually, I *would* wear an antique gown, if I could find one to fit me. I got the figure whammy of classic top-heavy bombshell curves plus linebacker shoulders. I look like a 1905 to 1910 fashion illustration, and I don't need the corset.

When my middle sister got married two years ago, I got her permission to make my own bridesmaid's dress using fabric from the company that she picked in her colors, rather than choosing one of their dress styles which would have needed extreme alterations to make it wearable. I used a modified pattern for a day dress from 1914, with bodice details from a wedding gown of 1918. The result was gorgeous; my sister loved it, and my fiance had (as he put it) a "very inappropriate reaction for being in a church".

I'll be making my own wedding gown, and the style I've picked is high Titanic era; imagine something from "Downton Abbey", "Somewhere In Time" or "Titanic", and you're on the right track. Again, if I could find an antique gown that would fit across my shoulders, I'd wear it in a heartbeat; it would be the ultimate in "something old"! Given that I have enough trouble finding modern blouses that fit properly, though, I'll be putting my dressmaker's form through its paces again.

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