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Sisterhood of the Traveling Wedding Dress

Sisterhood of the Traveling Wedding Dress

Lucile (Rochon) DonFrancesco chose her wedding gown from a boutique in Woonsocket in 1950.

Four brides, one dress, multiple decades. See how these women passed down the seventy-five-year-old bridal gown.

Lucile Rochon purchases her wedding gown from a small boutique in Woonsocket. It’s 1950, and she’s set to wed Mr. DonFrancesco on Oct. 12 of that year. Buttons adorn the long-sleeved dress all the way down the front and flares out at the bottom, perfect for the era. Little does Lucile know that future generations will wear her high-collared, cream slipper satin dress time and time again.

On her twenty-fifth anniversary in 1975, her daughter Linda honored her mother by wearing the same gown for her own wedding. Lucile, having preserved the dress, has maintained its color and quality so that when Linda was looking for a dress, Lucile suggested her daughter try it on. “I fell in love with it,” Linda recalls, being the first bride to wear her mother’s gown.

Linda (DonFrancesco) Dubois is the first to wear her mother’s dress.

Fast forward seventeen years, like Linda, her sister Lori fell in love with the mother’s dress and wore it on her wedding day on May 17, 1992. For the dress to fit these three brides, it underwent very minor alterations, but the iconic dress remained the same.

That is, until Dec. 3, 2022, when Lori’s daughter, Marisa, decided to carry on the tradition, but with a few changes. Linda had only sons, and her daughters-in-law weren’t interested. “I was open to her having it tailored,” Linda says. “I was just happy to have her wear it.”

Initially, Marisa wasn’t interested in wearing the dress, as she had already picked one out. However, while visiting family, she tried on the gown and began crying. “There’s a lot of sentimental value, and my mom would be so happy,” Linda says. “So many people were touched by it.” While most of the dress was kept in tact, Marisa changed the neckline from the high collar to a v-neck, more suitable for her style and current wedding trends.

© Willow Photo Co. 2022

Three generations of women were able to claim the dress as their “something borrowed.” So much so, that Lucile’s friend embroidered Linda and Lori’s names into the inside seam with their wedding dates. After Lucile passed away, Linda will continue the tradition by adding Marisa’s name.

© Willow Photo Co. 2022

So where does the dress go next? For now, it has returned back to its storage to maintain its pristine condition until the next lucky generation tries it on and falls in love.

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