Albert Lea native uses mother’s wedding dress in her ceremony

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, July 16, 2017

By Kylie Brown

Albert Lean Jan Hench sewed her own dress, along with her entire wedding party’s attire — including the men’s suits and the priest’s vestments — 45 years ago when she married her husband, Dick Hench.

Now, nearly half a century later, their daughter, Tammy Rakowitz repurposed her mother’s dress into a unique gown for her own wedding.

Rakowitz was born and raised in Albert Lea and graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1992. She now lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, with her husband, Bryan. They got married June 17 in Corpus Christi.

Rakowitz said she had wanted to remake her mom’s dress for her wedding for some time.

“I’ve always wanted to wear my mom’s train and remake her dress,” Rakowitz said.

Hench has her dress, along Rakowitz’s grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s dresses at her house. Rakowitz remembers her mom pulling out the wedding dresses and said that was when she decided to add the other dresses that were included in the wedding party. With the help of her mom and aunt who both sew a lot, Rakowitz was able to make her wedding dress, the bridesmaids’ dresses and the flower girl’s dress.

The base of Rakowitz’s dress was new and the rest of the material came from Hench’s dress. Some of the material included in the other dresses came from Hench, as well as dresses belonging to Rakowitz’s aunts, grandma, mother-in-law, godparent and great-great-grandma.

Her garter was made with lace from her mother-in-law’s dress, her great-great grandmother’s dress and material from her own dress. Her bouquet has lace with her godmother’s wedding headpiece.

The bridesmaid’s dresses are different styles, but all had the same teal color. The lace shawlette accents were made from Rakowitz’s aunt’s and mother-in-law’s wedding dresses. The bows on the shawlettes are from the her aunt’s wedding.

Rakowitz’s niece was the junior bridesmaid. She wore a lace jacket made from the lace bodice of her great-grandmother’s wedding dress. Material from Hench’s wedding dress skirt was used to make the flower girls’ dresses. Their overskirts were made from the Rakowitz’s aunt’s dress. The nylon ruffle with lace edging was made from the her mother-in-law’s dress.

Their daughter wore her great-grandmother’s baptismal gown from 1914. Material from Hench’s wedding dress and lace from her great-aunt’s wedding dress were used to make her reception dress.

“My mom wore the dress 45 years ago on the same day for her wedding,” Rakowitz said. “You could say the dress was 45 years old on the day I got married.”