Why preserve a wedding gown? Maybe it’s to pass down to future generations, who may or may not find it horribly outdated.
Maybe it’s to pull it out every once in a while and reminisce about the day. Or maybe it’s so you can put it on again and party to celebrate your 65th anniversary, like Ruthie McCoy did in Lubbock, Texas.
“We just had to take it up a little bit,” McCoy told local station KCBD News. Husband Tom McCoy joked at her side, “Actually, we had to put two dresses together.”
In all seriousness, photos from the couple’s Feb 10, 1952, nuptials show the dress looks almost exactly the same now as it did the day she first wore it. And for Ruthie to be able to wear it for their celebration last week, it must be in remarkably good condition.
Of course, what’s more remarkable is the lasting condition of the couple’s marriage. “A lot of couples don’t get to enjoy that longevity,” Tom said. “We’re blessed with good health, considering our ages.”
Tom is a retired electrician who now builds toys to donate to children in need. He also put his skills to use in creating a special scooter and a rolling “crutches” contraption to help Ruth get around despite painful scoliosis.
“It’s been a fantastic 65 years,” Tom said. “I have to tell you that this girl was a gift from God to me, and when he gave me this girl … he gave me one of his angels.”
Want to make sure you can wear your wedding gown more than six decades later? First, get the dress professionally cleaned as soon as possible, before any stains (there are likely ones you don’t even see) can set in.
Then, if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional preservation service, you can DIY by ordering archival storage materials, such as acid-free tissue paper and acid-free cardboard boxes online. Store it unsealed in a climate-controlled environment.
Just be sure to take it out to inspect it, refold it, and replace the paper every year or so, and replace the box every 15 years.
“Garments, like people, need a stable environment with nonfluctuating temperature and humidity in order to avoid damage,” Sarah Scaturro, a conservator at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, told the New York Times.
If only there were such clear instructions for preserving a marriage for that long as well.
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