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Eight brides in one family have worn a Marshall Field's wedding gown purchased in 1950: 'it's a lucky dress'

Caroline Kubzansky, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Parenting News

CHICAGO -- When Serena Stoneberg walked down the aisle of a North Side church this month, her wedding continued a family tradition that spanned seven previous brides across three generations and multiple Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs.

Stoneberg became the eighth bride to say her vows in the satin gown that was previously worn by her grandmother, great aunt, aunt and cousins on their wedding days. Her late grandmother purchased it for $100.75 at the Brides’ Room at the former Marshall Field’s on State Street and was the first bride to wear it in 1950.

The family heirloom has made seven more brides look good since then, with all but one of the weddings taking place in and around Chicago. Many of those brides gathered in Serena Stoneberg’s River North Hotel room the day before the wedding, to socialize.

The third bride to wear the dress, Sharon Larson Frank, 77, who was the youngest of the first generation of brides to wear the dress, said it didn’t start out as a significant tradition to be married in the same gown.

“We never talked about it and said ‘well, you’ll wear the dress,’” Larson said. “It just sort of evolved.”

But over time, they said, the garment has taken on deep meaning as a connection to one another and to Chicago.

 

Larson’s daughter and the seventh bride, Julie Frank Mackey, 42, who got married in 2013 and was the last person to wear the dress before this month, said she never considered being married in anything else.

“You were going to make it work,” Mackey said. “Even when it didn’t fit me. It was really important just to be a part of that tradition. I just always knew from when I was a little girl that I would wear that dress.”

The dress is long-sleeved, with a high collar and floor-length train.

Serena Stoneberg, 27, added a few of her own flourishes for her ceremony. She wore her own shoes, her own jewelry and a new veil from her great aunt, the third woman to be married in the dress.

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