Area brides bring new life to old gownsWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
When Alyna Hinsch of Fremont walked down the aisle last month, her something old and something new were wrapped up in one piece — her wedding dress, which had once belonged to her husband’s late mother.
“When I was thinking about what kind of dress I wanted, I knew I wanted something different and unique that nobody else would have,” said Alyna, 25, who married Corey Hinsch, 24, on April 26 in Port Clinton. “My father-in-law offered me the old dress and then I got the idea to transform it into a new dress.”
Alyna’s father Paul Rash, whose mother taught him to sew as a boy, did the alterations. He stripped the dress to its original bodice and then rebuilt it into his daughter’s dream dress, trading the puffy sleeves and high neckline for an A-line style with a sweetheart neckline.
“Everyone thought the dress looked beautiful and were very touched that I used the old dress,” Alyna said. “They thought that it was awesome we were able to change it to something different while still using elements of the old dress. I thought it was amazing that my dad was able to do it. I loved how it turned out.”
Corey’s mom, Carol Hinsch, died not long after the couple started dating.
“I only got to meet her a few times, but everyone that knew her always talks about how nice of a person she was and very caring,” Alyna said.
Corey said it meant a lot to him that Alyna wore the dress.
“It was very special,” he said. “It made me feel like my mom was there.”
Alyna’s advice to other brides looking to wear an heirloom gown is to make sure they allow enough time for alterations. It took her dad about a month, finishing the week of the wedding.
“I was worried it wouldn’t be done in time. I was having dreams that it came down to the last minute before the wedding and it wasn’t done. But my dad was confident he could get it done and he did,” she said.
Amanda Taylor, 23, of Genoa isn’t engaged yet, but already knows she wants to wear her mom’s dress — minus the puffy sleeves — for her wedding someday.
“It would help us save money to start our lives without spending hundreds if not thousands on a dress,” Taylor said. “I’ve never been one to plan ahead as a little girl, but that is worth thinking about to me now.”
At least four of her mom’s cousins and friends have also worn the dress, but without altering it.
“I can tell how excited she gets when she tells me the stories of their wedding days wearing it,” Taylor said. “I imagine on my wedding day it will be even more special.
“I look at my mom’s marriage and want what they have. Being kind of superstitious, I see it like a good luck charm. We will probably bawl our eyes out. I think it will be cool for my dad too, to see me all grown up in my mom’s dress.”
Taylor does plan to change for the reception.
“I would hate to get something on it later!” she said.
Phyllis Sheets, owner of My Shop on Rugby Drive, an alterations and upscale resale shop in South Toledo, said nostalgia, not cost savings, is the main reason to wear an heirloom dress.
“Every dress is unique, but most of the time they could have bought a dress for what it costs [to make the alterations],” said Sheets, who has worked as a seamstress for more than 40 years. “It’s not necessarily going to save you money.”
The most common changes are to sleeves and necklines, Sheets said.
Lisa Boyd of East Toledo turned her wedding dress into ring bearer pillows and garter belts for her three daughters, Melissa Kepler, 24, of Curtice who married in 2010, Melanie Minnick, 27, of Oregon, who married in 2012, and Kelli Patay, 21, of Toledo, who is planning a wedding for 2015.
“In her opinion, the dress was just collecting dust and to take the material and use it for the pillows and garter belts was a unique way to recycle the dress,” Minnick said.
“They were originally made for Melissa, but Kelli’s and mine were made at the same time, too. For me, my wedding colors were added with ribbon later to personalize it. It was really creative and a great way to incorporate the ‘something old’ into my wedding day.”