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I Do! I Do! I Do! Bedford bride dons her wedding gown—again and again

Bridesmaids are always assured that they will be able to wear their gowns again after the wedding (ha!), but as a rule, the bride only plans to wear hers once. Not one to follow the crowd, Kate Paletta disregarded that “rule” and celebrated her first and the following 21anniversaries in her wedding dress.

It hadn’t been a conscious decision. After her wedding, she did what most brides do: had the gown cleaned and then hermetically sealed in a box. For what? Chances are pretty slim that a future daughter or daughter-in-law would want or be able to wear the gown in 25 years. In most cases, the beautifully preserved dress sits in its box in the back of a closet, neglected, forlorn, and unworn. Kate wasn’t having any of that.

“I loved the dress from the first time I saw it, and when I put it on, it made me feel so beautiful,” she explains. “It seemed wrong somehow to only wear it once. So when our first anniversary came around, I decided to rip open the box, unwrap the gown, and wear it to surprise my husband, Mike.”

That night she decorated the house with weddings photos and lit some candles to set the mood. When her husband walked in the door, his bride was standing in front of him, their wedding song “Looking in the Eyes of Love” playing softly in the background. “He was so surprised—and delighted. Then we just started dancing around the living room, and I felt the magic of our wedding day all over again.”

With a baby underfoot, the couple celebrated that first anniversary at home. But eventually Kate wanted to take her dress out for a night on the town. “At first Mike thought I was crazy when I said, ‘Okay, let’s go out to dinner now.’ He asked if I was going to change into a regular outfit, and I said, ‘No, why would I?’ He has gotten used to it over the years, and so has everyone else in town. I love when people tell me that I have inspired them to start wearing their gowns again to bring that spark back into their own marriages.”

“It is incredible to see other people’s reactions to Kate in her dress when we go out,” says Mike. “They always want to talk to us about why we celebrate this way, and Kate loves to tell them how they can do it too. The gown just transforms our anniversary into a real celebration.”

She has kept the tradition going through thick and thin—quite literally. “I would just leave the back open when I was pregnant,” she says, “but I always wore it and have loved every minute of it.” Their children—three sons and a daughter—have gotten into the spirit as well. “One year my son and his friends got together and cooked a delicious meal for us. They had the table all set and waited on us, and then I got to dance with each one of them. I danced with the dogs and cats too. Everyone knows I’m crazy, but I think they enjoy all the hoopla too.”

This past January, the couple decided to return to the place they originally tied the knot: The Inn at Longshore in Westport. The staff knew they were coming and pulled out all the stops, treating them with Champagne and a special dessert. “All the workers came out to greet us and speak with Kate and were impressed that she had her wedding dress on,” says Mike. Naturally, all the happy buzz spread throughout the restaurant, and patrons at the bar were curious as to what was going on—and Kate was happy to share her story with them. “I think this tradition has strengthened our marriage because every year we are reminded of all the anniversaries we have shared—through the good times and difficult times—and just how lucky we are,” Mike says.

Kate’s advice to other brides, no matter how long ago the original nuptials were held: “Rip open the box and let that dress breathe! Don’t be shy—just put it on and remember how you felt the day you got married and why you fell in love with your husband in the first place. It’s the most romantic and fun thing to do.”



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