It’s All About the Dress!

Betty Altheide 1953

It was a warm Saturday in Minneapolis, July 18th, 1953. Betty Schuler arrived at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in her beautiful white eyelet layered wedding gown and she was a bit nervous, yet excited as she was about to become the bride of John Altheide.  Betty recalls that it was rather warm that day and that there was no air conditioning; “I don’t remember the temperature exactly, but I do know that no one fainted” (as was the case in many hot, summer weddings in those days).

After growing up in Edina, MN, Betty went on to college at William Woods University, an all-girls school in Fulton, MO.  John grew up around St. Louis, Mo and attended Westminister College, also in Fulton, MO.  How did they meet?  “It was December 3, 1949, we met on a blind date going to a Fraternity party”, she blushed, as John stands by, in disbelief, that she even remembers the date!

After they finished school, John went into the Air Force.  They got to see each other only about 3 or 4 times in the ensuing 2 years that he was enlisted.  After 1 year, he proposed to her.

Betty proceeded with all the wedding planning on her own since John was not around.  The ceremony was held at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, the reception was held at the Edina Country Club.  She purchased her dress at Dayton’s in downtown Minneapolis and remembers that the dress plus the hoop skirt she wore with it was under $100.00. She was careful with the dress at her wedding, no cake spilled, no punch spilled, no drinking at the reception—so it was looking great after the big day.

The newlywed couple then spent their honeymoon at Maddens Resort in northern Minnesota where they actually were able to spend some time together to really get to know each other.  John, having been in the military for a couple of years, had been doing his own laundry, and Betty was alarmed to find that he didn’t spend much time sorting his colors—all of his underwear was pink! They then moved to St. Louis, Missouri after the wedding.  It seems that everything worked out through the years — Betty and John just celebrated their 59th Wedding Anniversary this summer—and they’re looking forward to number 60 in 2013!

In the spring of 2012 when Betty and John and their children were cleaning out their nooks and crannies, they came upon the dress, yellowed and stained, and it was sent to Treasured Garment Restoration for evaluation.  If the gown was so well protected the day of the wedding, what happened, then, with the horrible spills we saw on it when it came to be restored? “Well”, Betty explained, “35 years ago –when the dress was 25 years old—there was a party amongst our friends and the requirement was to bring or wear something from your wedding.  So, I wore my wedding gown!”  Amazingly, Betty was still able to wear the gown after 25 years and 2 children and her only comment was “yes, I fit into it, but I didn’t sit down all night”.

Fortunately, this spill was only 35 years old.               After careful testing, TGR was able to
If it had been spilled 59 years ago, it is possible          determine that the latent stains – aka
that these stains may have created holes                      caramelized sugar stains would be
in the fabric.                                                                                   able to be removed!

We, at Treasured Garment Restoration, have seen a number of things show up on vintage wedding dresses that can re-ignite memories of the day… and we are truly passionate about restoring and preserving the each unique dress along with the memories it symbolizes for our customers!

One thing remains constant– it’s all about THE DRESS!  Brides will spend countless hours looking at photos, magazines, (now Pinterest) and shopping for the one dress that makes them feel like a princess for the day.  Each dress is unique and could tell a story of its own—if only a dress could talk!

1953 Gown, oxidized (yellowed) and stained.                                      After – restored to white in 2012!
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