Something borrowed AND old: The exquisite 52-year-old wedding dress worn by three generations of women
15:02 GMT, 16 July 2012
Something old: Katy Elder's wedding dress was first worn by her grandmother in 1960, then by her mother in 1983
At first glace, there is nothing out of the ordinary about Katy Elder's creamy white wedding dress of silk and
However the 52-year-old gown is the bride's 'something borrowed' – a dress first worn by her grandmother, Yolanda Holliger,
in 1960, then by her mother, Rose Costello, in 1983.
The petite bride from Oklahoma who exchanged vows with husband Clayton Elder earlier this month, told NewsOk: 'I always knew that I wanted to wear
She added that she and her sisters used to fight over who
would wear the dress, but Mrs Elder won the race to the alter.
love the style. It's not like what everybody else is wearing. And the
meaning behind it means much more than anything else,' she said.
When the couple became engaged a year ago, the bride's family began to restore the gown and its original veil, unsure of
whether either would be in good enough shape for the wedding.
Mrs Elder's maternal grandmother mailed the
gown from New York, however the original veil had not aged to the same color as
the gown; they looked far from a perfect match.
So the bride decided to wear a hand-woven lace veil that came from her father's great grandmother, Jeanette Beattie, who first wore it to her wedding 60 years earlier on April 10, 1900.
It turned out the veil was a perfect match, and was Mrs Elder's 'something old'.
Mrs Costello, the bride's mother, said of Mrs Elder's grandmother: 'She had really good taste because it held up for a long time. I loved it. Obviously my daughter loves it 52 years later.'
Third time's the charm: The petite bride (left) from Oklahoma exchanged vows with Clayton Elder (right) earlier this month in the family heirloom dress
The tiny stature the grandmother, mother and daughter share is what allowed them to all wear the petite dress.
However when the dress arrived in Oklahoma, it was clear that some repairs would need to be made.
The family took the gown to Claire Kennedy in Nichols Hills, who has been designing, restoring and reimaging wedding dresses and debutante gowns for 30 years.
Ms Kennedy explained: 'You can't buy this kind of thing, the line, the cut, the beautiful quality of the lace …'
meaning behind it means much more than anything else'
The dressmaker added, that if you were to buy the dress or have it made today, it would cost anywhere from $7,000 for a ready-to-wear piece, to $120,000 from a designer like Vera Wang.
'Economy on the bolt of fabric is not what they were considering when they made this dress,' she said.
To restore the dress to it's original quality, Ms Kennedy replaced disintegrated netting behind the intricately layered Alencon lace that makes up the dress's bodice.
She installed a zipper, concealed
beneath the row of silk-covered buttons lining the back of the bodice,
to take the strain off the aged buttons.
She also repaired the numerous ties
under the skirts of the gown, used to cinch the skirt into a French
bustle after the ceremony so the bride can dance, and fixed tears and holes in
The picture-perfect result means the dress can now be worn by many more generations of the family.