3 generations of brides wore the same wedding dress from 1955

  • Natalie Nicolson wore her grandmother's wedding dress from 1955 to her 2018 nuptials.
  • Nicolson's mother also wore the dress when she got married in 1984.
  • The dress only needed to be dry cleaned before Nicolson wore it, requiring no other alterations.
  • "Do it if you can," Nicolson said of wearing an heirloom wedding dress. "Fashion trends come and go."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Natalie Nicolson and Nathan Suits got married in 2018, after meeting 10 years earlier in 2008.

"We met on a cruise to Mexico in 2008," Nicolson told Insider.

"He was with his whole family for his grandparents' wedding anniversary and I was with my mom. He lived in Alabama, and I lived in California so it wasn't perfect for a relationship."

"I knew it was love right away, though," Nicolson added. 

"A couple of years later, on Valentine's Day, he sent me a long message confirming the feelings were mutual," Nicolson said of their love story.

"He was working as a counselor at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, and I was finishing my last quarter of college at the time," Nicolson said of Suits.

"One thing led to another, and he moved out to California later the following year."

"We got engaged six years after that," Nicolson added. 

When it came time to shop for a wedding dress, Nicolson originally thought she would go with something more modern.

"I started looking for dresses almost right after we got engaged in every dress shop I could with my mom and sister," Nicolson told Insider.

"There were a few I came close to getting, but nothing felt perfect" in terms of price or fit, she said. 

"At some point, my mom said, 'You know, your grandmother's dress is in the closet,'" Nicolson explained.

Her grandmother originally wore the Bonwit Teller dress in 1955.

"I dismissed the idea at first because I was picturing something more modern, like a two-piece set or a jumpsuit," she said.

Nicolson's mother also wore the dress to her wedding in 1984.

And Nicolson had even tried the dress on when she was 12 and loved it. However, she was resistant to the idea of wearing the dress to her own wedding.

"I thought it would be important to wear something distinctly me," she told Insider.

But Nicolson found herself being drawn to gowns with full skirts in stores, so she decided to try her grandmother's dress on again.

Nicolson explained to Insider that after she came close to buying a dress with a full skirt, she went back to her parents' house to try on her grandmother's dress one more time, as it had the silhouette she was finding herself drawn to.

"It just felt right this time. My mom thinks she secretly coerced me into it — but I made the decision despite her 'subtle' hints, not because of them."

"It just took me looking at all my options to get there," she added.

Nicolson didn't need to alter the dress in any way, as it was a perfect fit.

"I didn't have to get anything altered — just a dry clean," Nicolson said of her gown.

"It was more cream than the white it had been when my grandma wore it," she added.

"My mom had altered it back in the '80s, so luckily we were the same size," Nicolson said of the gown.

"There was a big hoop underskirt that sadly didn't make it," she also said, which is why the gown looks slightly less full on both Nicolson and her mother.

One of Nicolson's concerns about wearing the dress was harming it because of the gown's age.

"I was scared it was too delicate," she said of the over 60-year-old gown.

"My family assured me it was OK if something happened to it."

"No one was counting on it lasting another generation," she added.

"I did get an outfit change for dancing later in the night, just in case," Nicolson told Insider.

The outfit change ensured the dress didn't get harmed.

"I also wore pearls from the other side of the family that my aunt brought from New Zealand," Nicolson said of the heirlooms included in her ensemble.

Nicolson was "surprised" she ended up wearing the dress.

"Before, I thought it would be important to wear something distinctly me," she said.

Nicolson's mom and grandmother had different reactions to seeing the dress.

"I don't think she was as surprised as everyone else was that it held up all these years," she said of her grandmother.

"It was a Bonwit Teller dress so she was really proud of it — as she should be. It's been in fashion for over 60 years."

Her mom, on the other hand, was more emotional. "I think it meant more to her than she can even admit," Nicolson said.

The dress was a hit with Nicolson's husband, too.

"He would have been happy if I had shown up in a T-shirt, to be honest," she said of Suits.

"But he knew it meant a lot to me and my family," she added of his opinion on the dress.

Nicolson had some advice for brides considering wearing an heirloom dress: "Do it if you can."

"Fashion trends come and go," she said.

"There was a big chance I'd regret wearing a jumpsuit for my wedding, but I will never regret wearing something as timeless as that dress." 

If you wore your mother or grandmother's wedding dress to get married (or plan to do so), and want to share your photos and talk to Insider for a story, get in touch at [email protected]

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