A dress that spans the generations: Wedding belles share passion for 1950s fashion

Sarah Clark is due to marry Jonathan Humphreys in the same dress as mum Catherine Clark and grand-mother Dorothy Sampson (below).
Sarah Clark is due to marry Jonathan Humphreys in the same dress as mum Catherine Clark and grand-mother Dorothy Sampson (below).
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SOMETHING old, something new, something borrowed, something blue... When 25-year-old Sarah Clark walks down the aisle it will be in a dress that ticks all four boxes.

She will be getting married in the same Viennese bow fronted gown worn by her grandmother in 1959 and then by her mother in 1984.

Dorothy Sampson with Peter in the wedding dress which her daughter Catherine Clark used

Dorothy Sampson with Peter in the wedding dress which her daughter Catherine Clark used

But this is not the only thing she will share with them.

She will also share June 9 - today - as her wedding anniversary with grandmother, Dorothy Sampson, and her mother, Catherine Clark, after tying the knot on the same date as the pair.

Miss Clark will be marrying Jonathan Humphreys before 80 guests at St Michael and All Angels Church in Thornhill, Dewsbury, and admits that apart from contemplating wearing her granny’s dress as a youngster, she had completely forgotten the idea until she got engaged in 2009.

She said: “When I put the dress on it just felt right. I hadn’t even tried any other wedding dresses on, but I can’t really describe it, it just had a homely feel to it. It would cost thousands of pounds to have one similar made today.

“We were already looking at June for a wedding date anyway when mum rang and said ‘just see what day June the 9th falls on.’ We found out it was Saturday and thought why not?”

But she maintains that the similarities end there.

“We’ve all worn the dress differently – with the collar up or down and with or without a necklace, we’ve all put our own spin on it. It’s looked different on everyone who’s put it on. Mum and granny both had the veil towards the top of their heads, but I’m wearing it to the back. It’s a bit more modern.”

The bride-to-be from Cawood, North Yorkshire, agrees that it is unusual to be able to wear a dress with so much family history.

She admits to being initially a little bit cautious about the idea of wearing a dress made such a long time ago.

“Not many people can say they have their wedding dress from 1959,” she said.

“I was a bit dubious as to whether it would still be a dress and hadn’t disintegrated.

“There’s a bit of blue confetti that got stuck and has been there since mum and dad got married – I will consider it my lucky charm,” she said.

Originally described as a Viennese gown with a tiered back, Chantilly lace and appliqué work, the dress has remained in near perfect condition for the past 53 years.

It was purchased for £30 from Anne Corbett on Bond Street in Leeds.

Proof that all fashions come back around again, the frock has drawn comparisons to Royal bride Kate Middleton’s Alexander McQueen gown.

Miss Clark’s fiancé Jonathan even spotted the similarity. He sent a text message to Sarah during the Royal Wedding last year saying he had ‘seen a dress like this before’.

The mother-of-the-bride remembers how excited she was to discover and wear the 1950s design.

She said: “The big thing was getting it out of the loft and if it had kept its colour. I thought, ‘if I find it, I’ll wear it’. It’s unique – when I saw it I just thought ‘wow’, it’s beautiful.”

The 50-year-old rapid response nurse from Wakefield picked June 9 1984 to marry Anthony, as she thought it would be nice to share the date with her parents’ silver wedding anniversary.

“When we were discussing the wedding in 1984, we had no special date in mind. We thought we’d make it a special double occasion. I hope that granddaughters will pick the same day and continue the tradition,” she said.

What is surprising is that all three women are naturally the same size, to within an inch.

The only alterations to the garment have been the addition of 25 meters of netting to stiffen the train, and an adjustment of an inch-and-a-half to the bodice.

The lady who started it all, Dorothy Sampson, said: “I suppose I must have tried several dresses on, but that was the one I liked the best. It is still in perfect condition now.

“I kept it for sentimental reasons, locked away in a box in the loft.”