“Oceanside Cleaners treated me like an old friend, using utmost care with my precious dress and veil.”

When was your wedding date?

Our original wedding date was March 25, 1978. We recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and renewal of vows on March 24, 2018.

What was your wedding location and venue name?

Our original wedding location was Arlington Christian Church on Lone Star Road in Jacksonville, Florida. Our 40th anniversary and renewal of vows was held on Amelia River Cruises in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Who is the designer of your gown and where was it purchased?

My gown was purchased in January of 1978 at a May Cohens closeout sale of their bridal department. I purchased the veil at Riverside Gown Shop, also in 1978. These were the pieces that I asked Oceanside Cleaners to clean for our 40th renewal of vows celebration. Unfortunately, I was unable to squeeze back into the dress I wore as a 24-year-old girl, but I was able to use the veil and headdress.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

My favorite memory from my wedding day was my husband catching me as my knees buckled at the altar during our vows.

When did you know that your gown was “the one”?

I knew it was the one as soon as I put it on. The price was insane….May Cohens was closing out their bridal department, so it was slashed from $300 (which was outrageous in those days) to $25!

How did you and your husband meet?

We were brought up in the same church, but I married someone else upon graduation from high school. My present husband, Richard, was in attendance at my first wedding along with other friends. As my father walked me down the aisle, he leaned over and quietly whispered that I didn’t have to go through with this, he had the car running outside and I could just go. He meant it as a joke, but my father didn’t think it was at all funny. Little did I know that I would marry him three years later when we both moved back to our respective parents’ houses for different reasons (me fresh from a shattering divorce, him from a failed loan at Florida State University). We had not seen or talked to each other in the three years I was married.

Why did you want to get your gown cleaned and preserved?

When my mother had my gown cleaned 40 years ago, she packed it away in white tissue paper in a common shirt board box and stored it in the attic. She used the same procedure for my veil and headdress. When I opened the boxes, the dress, veil, and headdress were streaked yellow and orange from the heat of the attic. I wanted to wear the dress, veil, and headdress for our 40th renewal of vows.

What is your absolute favorite memory from your renewal of vows?

My favorite memories from our 40th anniversary and renewal of vows was that most of our wedding party was able to attend the renewal of vows (and we had each had eight attendants) as well as our original pastors (both good friends). We also wrote and exchanged our own vows this time, and my husband’s were extremely touching.

Why did you decide to get your gown cleaned by Oceanside?

I was very impressed by the reviews written by people that used Oceanside so I stopped by to talk with them. They were very patient with me and listened to my story. They made me feel as if I was the only customer they had that day, and that was not the case.  Clare was not there that day, but I was assured she would call me by the next day. She actually called me just a few hours later.

I shared with her that my beloved mother had passed away not long ago. For my original wedding in 1978, she had insisted (to put it mildly) that I NOT wear white as I had been previously married and that my dress MUST be off-white. She also insisted that I could not wear a veil that covered my face for the same reason. I was most unhappy about these parameters, but loved my mother and didn’t want to cause any unhappiness, so I went along with her requirements. When Clare talked to me about the processes that would be required to take out the orange and yellow streaking in my dress and veil, she told me that they both might turn out to be white. And that is exactly what happened. I couldn’t help but laugh because all I could visualize was that my mother must be looking down from heaven and laughing at the fact that I finally got the white dress and veil I had wanted from the beginning.

I’d like to add that Oceanside Cleaners treated me like an old friend, using utmost care with my precious dress and veil. The headpiece that held the veil was a Juliet cap with the tiniest of seed pearls. There were loose seed pearls when I took the cap and adjoining veil to be cleaned, and all were sewn perfectly in place when I got it back. It was this personal attention to detail that made my experience with Oceanside Cleaners such a joy.