Like most newlyweds, Mary Cobb packed away her precious gown after the wedding. “When it came time for my daughters, Mary Al and Susan, to get married, my husband told them, ‘I’m not buying you a new dress. There’s a perfectly good dress in the closet,” laughs Mary. “They were not eager! But they wore it to please their daddy, and they looked beautiful.”
Mary, affectionately known as “Ama” by her nine grandchildren, was shocked when her granddaughter, Leah Cox Hendrix, approached her about wearing the lace gown. Leah says, “I am extremely sentimental. My mom and aunt had worn it, and when I got engaged, I knew my grandmother had the dress packed away at her house. I tried it on and it fit like a glove. It was absolutely perfect.”
Leah started an extraordinary tradition among her cousins, and with the help of Jackson seamstress, Sandra Ashford, it has been exquisitely restored for each bride.
When Jenny Cobb Sneed became engaged, she shopped around for a new wedding gown. Leah laughs, “Jenny called me and said, ‘I cannot find a dress that I love as much as Ama’s.’” The 1954 dress fit Jenny stunningly. Jenny was living in Manhattan at the time and shot incredible bridal portraits throughout New York City. Mary laughs, “I did not think the dress would survive!” But it did.
Sara Jimenez Burns was the next to marry, and she embellished the gown with a lovely new cummerbund. With her fiancée standing at a handsome 6’ 8”, Sandra mended the sleeves so that Sara could reach up and embrace her new husband.
After Sara, Lauren Cobb Steele chose to wear her sweet grandmother’s dress. She reflects, “I wore it just like Ama did, which felt so special. I love the look of the gown because it is from the 1950’s: the feminine lines and elegant details make it beautifully regal. If the dress is still intact, I would absolutely love for my daughters to wear it one day.”
Mary says with awe, “It conforms to each girl perfectly. It is truly a magical dress. My mother would be so pleased, because she helped me pick out the dress. I think she is in Heaven smiling, because she knows.”
The dress will make its next debut when Mary’s last granddaughter, Mary Grace, gets married. “She tells me, ‘Ama, I have to wear the dress,” smiles Mary. “We will put it together beautifully somehow.’”
A special thank you to Christina Photo for the beautiful photographs!
Blog by Mitchell Walters