A Minnesota bride chose to pose in four generations of wedding dresses, including one dating back to 1910, before walking down the aisle.
Colleen Dejno, 33, of St. Paul, was inspired to step back in time after learning her mother had Dejno’s great-grandmother’s wedding dress from 1910 stored in a closet.
“I had no idea that we had it and my mom just had it in a bag in the closet for years,” Dejno told ABC News. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we have a dress that’s over 100 years old I have to see it.’”
She continued, “Then I thought, ‘We can’t just put it back in the closet. We have to do something with it. This is so cool.’”
Dejno, who works at a children’s museum but is a hobbyist performer and costume designer, knew her mother, Patricia Cotter, still had her own wedding dress from 1973. She also knew her aunt had the wedding dress Dejno’s grandmother, Edith Jane, wore down the aisle in 1947.
Dejno hired a wedding photographer, Jeannine Pohl, to photograph her in all three wedding dresses, plus her own, at Minneapolis’s Semple Mansion, the same spot where Dejno’s wedding reception was held a few weeks later.
“It was unbelievable,” said Pohl, who noted the multi-generational photo shoot was a first in her 10-year career. “There was the fact that they were still in their original form and that people who’ve had them for so long knew they were unique and an heirloom.”
She added, “I think so many people these days just get rid of things and minimize and don’t hold onto these heirlooms for so long.”
Dejno studied family records and photographs of the weddings and did her own hair, including wigs, and makeup to match the different eras. She said the dresses need some steaming to remove wrinkles but were overall intact, remarkable considering they had been stored in closets for decades.
“It was amazing when we would change each outfit and I’d look at myself in a mirror I thought, ‘I look like an entirely different person,’” she said. “You could picture what it’d be like to be those women, just a little bit, to be in their shoes. That was a lot of fun.”
Dejno said she felt a special connection to her great-grandmother, Mary, whom she never met.
“My hobby is costuming and she was a seamstress so it was a cool way to connect with her,” she said. “I could look at the dress and picture her sewing each stitch. I’m amazed she made it herself.”
Dejno’s husband, Adam Dejno, also posed in the photo shoot, which also saw Dejno modeling the wedding gown worn by her mother-in-law in 1967.
The photos were on display at the Dejnos’ wedding last month. The photo of Dejno in her mother’s wedding dress made some people gasp, she said.
“It was a little trippy,” Dejno said. “One person said it was weird to see the photos because it looked like my mom with a different groom.”
Dejno’s mom, Cotter, described it as “amazing” to see her daughter transform into women of her family’s generations.
“Seeing her in my dress was the most amazing in a way because she looks a lot like me, other than the red hair, and I could really see it when she had the same hairdo and my dress,” Cotter told ABC News.
Dejno plans to compile the photos into a book as a family keepsake. She said she also hope to keep all the dresses intact as family heirlooms.