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Katrina's Vintage Wedding Gown Care in Iowa

We interviewed our featured bride Katrina's mother, Laura, whose own mother's wedding gown the two of them took to Iris City Cleaners in Mount Pleasant, IA for restoration, cleaning, and preservation. Pictured are Laura and Katrina, together holding up a photo of Katrina's grandmother in her self-designed wedding gown. Katrina is wearing the same gown — some sixty years after her grandmother! Continue reading for Laura's moving Real Bride Spotlght of her daughter below, complete with more stunning photos of the heirloom dress, all taken by Amanda Dee Photography.

When was your wedding date and where did it take place?

Katrina Phillips married Seth Murray on April 22, 2016, in Cedar Rapids, IA

Who is the designer of your daughter's gown and where was it purchased? 

Katrina and her sisters, along with my sisters and I had all seen my mom’s picture and the 8mm color film of her wedding reception with my father.  No one from my generation could fit into the gown back in the 1980’s since we all had significantly larger bone structure than my mom–not to mention that the styles were just different during that particular time period.  We also didn’t have access to the proper means to remove the yellowing of the dress.   However, Katrina adored the photograph, and was delighted to consider my mom’s gown when Dad offered it as a possibility for ‘one of his granddaughters’ to use.  This happened BEFORE any of my daughters were even in a serious relationship!  

Since I am the mother of all of the granddaughters, the gown came home with me in the Summer of 2012.  Mom died a year later.  When Katrina and her husband became serious, the gown became a topic of discussion.  It was always the first choice.  Thanks to Ed Longnecker, at Iris City Cleaners in Mount Pleasant, IA, we were able to bring it back to its original white.  Mom had kept the ‘scraps’ from her construction of the gown (yes, it was beautifully homemade).  These were cleaned as well.  Judy Hoover-Warning does seamstress work for the brides who choose Ed’s services.  She masterfully used the scraps to fit the gown to Katrina’s healthy frame (Mom was too skinny!). 

NOTE:  Because the mid-1950's had nothing but strapless evening gowns in the pattern books and in the shops (lovely on some, but far from suitable for every body type) Katrina's grandmother took it upon herself to design the bodice.  She made her own gown to save money– and to wear a style that would look both elegant and attractive on her figure.

What is your absolute favorite memory from the wedding day? 

I don’t know what Katrina’s favorite memory was, but I have several.  It was very special to witness my Dad’s response to seeing his youngest granddaughter wearing her grandmother’s gown, sixty years after he married my mom.  Katrina’s marriage relationship story is particularly poignant and sweet.  Mom’s gown was elegant, attractive, sweet, and all about enduring love, triumph and family.  We all were smiling and weeping simultaneously, even the pastor!  Ed includes a ‘sixpence’ for the bride’s shoe.  The photographer got a shot of it.

Why did you want to get your gown cleaned and preserved?

We will be preserving the gown with Ed.   Katrina is wanting the gown protected in order to have to opportunity to be a blessing to another family bride, so it must be preserved.


Why did you decide to get your gown cleaned by a member of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists? 

Ed Longnecker’s membership in your organization is wonderful.  I am sure that you have access to the best techniques to safely care for heritage/heirloom garments, and that could be the reason that everything turned out so well.  I actually heard about Ed by word of mouth. 

The people involved with restoration of museum costumes damaged in Cedar Rapids’ flood of 2008 referred us to him.   We drove 100 miles to find him.  He should be made available to whoever can find him on the Internet.

Thanks so much to the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists for supporting the excellent services of Ed Longnecker.  We had a delightful, poignant, elegant, and beautiful wedding as a result. 



Photography credit: Amanda Dee Photography 

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