Finding the perfect wedding dress is no easy feat — unless you, like social media sensation Abby Kingston, first laid eyes on your future dream dress when you were a mere eight years old. When she walks down the aisle this October, the Pennsylvania bride-to-be will become the 11th member of her family to wear a 120-year-old heirloom wedding dress.
First donned in 1895 by Mary Lowry Warren, Kingston's great-great-grandmother, the dramatic two-piece Victorian dress — a bodice and skirt combo — has since been passed down multiple generations and worn by nine additional relatives, including Kingston's mother. And while the bones of the dress, so to speak, remain largely as they were originally designed, smaller aesthetic changes have been made here and there over the years to accommodate and accentuate the myriad brides who have made the family heirloom a crucial part of their wedding day — a tradition Abby Kingston plans to continue.
Kingston met her now-fiancé Jason Curtis at Manhattan's Pianos bar on the Lower East Side in 2013 and a little over a year and a half later, the couple was engaged (he proposed in Grand Central, the site of their first kiss — swoon). Shortly after, Kingston began working with her mother to track down the dress she'd been dreaming about since childhood.
"It took months!" she told Refinery29 via email. When they finally found it at the home of a great aunt, it was not in wedding-ready condition. "Not only was it a hideous brown color, but a crop top! I thought there was no way I would ever be able to wear the dress." But thanks to over 200 hours of work by vintage dress expert Deborah LoPresti in Easton, PA, the dress was able to be restored and updated. "Our main goal was to try and bring it back to its original state in hopes it would resemble my great-great-grandmother's dress, as each bride changed it to make it their own," Kingston explained. "I never imagined the dress would still be around 120 years later!"
See the vintage Victorian wedding dress and all of its romantic iterations, in the slideshow, ahead.