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    Auction Finds

    A discarded wedding dress & the woman who wore it

    Old wedding dresses – either still in their whiteness or in an aged yellow – seem to turn up pretty often at auction. The bride has passed on, leaving behind that symbol of one of the happiest days of her life that she had kept forever.

    But the family isn’t quite sure what to do with it, since the women themselves probably have stored-away wedding dresses of their own.

    I came across one of those dresses at auction over the weekend. It lay exposed in a flat box, yellowed and aged. I noticed something different about this one, though.

    wedding dress and bride's photo

    A wedding dress and a photo of the bride wearing it. Both were up for sale at auction.

    Lying front and center on top of the satin skirt of the wrinkled gown was a photograph of the bride wearing it. That was different. Never had I seen a wedding dress and the bride’s photo together. How sweet, I thought.

    The other dresses I’d seen at auction were still in their boxes, or were inventory from a wedding shop that had closed.

    I didn’t take the dress out of the box, but I visually examined both the photo and the headpiece lying next to it. The headpiece looked to be the same one she was wearing in the photo, and the dress seemed to be of the same satin material.

    bride wearing wedding dress

    The bride wearing the wedding dress. I blanked out her face to avoid recognition.

    I suspected that the auction-house staff had found the photo in the box, and placed it strategically near the dress to give it some grounding, to remind us auction-goers that it had a personal history. A way of advertising a product to elicit a warm feeling from us so we’d dig a little deeper and bid a little higher. It did make me stop and linger, and wonder about this dark-haired woman with the big smile.

    Did she place this particular photo with the gown when she put it away for keeps so many years ago? Maybe she put it there to remind herself of that oh-so-happy-day or as a way to share it with her family-to-be.

    I assumed that it was an old photo and a long-ago wedding, since the items had ended up on the auction table. No new bride still with the fresh memory of her wedding day tosses the gown so quickly (unless the marriage had not lived up to her expectations).

    wedding dress

    A closer look at the wedding dress and headpiece.

    The dress hadn’t been properly preserved or stored, so it wasn’t likely that the bride was offering it as a family heirloom.

    A properly stored gown isn’t supposed to turn yellow, or be stored in an attic or basement. There is a way to keep it as fresh as the day it was purchased.

    Although the gown may not have been maintained, both it and the photo preserved a very special day for a woman embarking on a new life.

    What do you think?


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