Organizing a wedding is both exciting and anxiety-inducing. There are so, so many kinks to iron out, but one of the most enjoyable parts of the planning (at least for the bride) is finding the perfect dress.
Many brides-to-be have very detailed ideas of what they want their dress to look like, and have decided upon the details from a very young age. The largest source of tension, though, comes from finding the perfect dress only to be leveled by the cost.
That dress is Gorgeous!! The average cost of a wedding dress in the U.S. is over $1,200, but that didn’t stop this…
According to The Knot, the typical amount spent on a wedding dress in 2017 was $1500, with accessories coming in at around $270. That’s a ton of money for a single dress that you will only wear one time for a few hours.
The wedding industry absolutely knows what is going on, and taps heavily into emotions during the dress selection, creating a party out of what would otherwise be fairly standard tryouts. For many brides, having family and friends join and getting all teary-eyed is exactly what they want — and that’s fine.
Others, though, might want a dress that is maybe less expensive than the standard fare available in bridal shops. Those with an artistic streak will often try their own hand at designing and putting together their special gown, and the results are often stunning.
Think about those individuals handy with sewing machines who can turn something horribly out-of-style to something modern and elegant. YouTube is full of amazing crafting souls who take to Goodwill and record their progress as they turn bargain finds into show-stopping dresses.
Then there are those who decide to just make the thing from scratch, using strange materials to bring their vision to life. Sometimes the end results are a bit too creative to be universally appealing, but the talent is apparent even when the good taste is not.
One woman named Ruth was tasked with a big challenge when her husband-to-be gave her the material he wanted her dress to be made out of: his old parachute from WWII.
There is more to the story than that, as the parachute was an extremely important part of the man’s life. Major Claude Hensinger jumped out of a B-29 during WWII while flying back from a bombing run in 1944.
This wedding dress was made from a nylon parachute that saved Major Claude Hensinger during World War II. Hensinger, a…
The parachute got him safely back to the ground in China, and according to him, it also kept him warm and stopped the bleeding from an injury he’d sustained. He continued to hold on to the tainted parachute and even presented it to Ruth while he was proposing.
“This is the parachute that saved my life,” he said to her her, according to sources. “I want you to make a wedding gown out of it.”
It’s not clear exactly what Ruth’s initial reaction was, but the soon-to-be-wife accepted the challenge and got to it, working with a seamstress to put together a dress that was based on Scarlett O’Hara’s from “Gone With the Wind.
Apparently Hensinger loved what he saw when Ruth walked down the aisle in her bespoke creation, and others did, too, as the dress was actually used by several other brides in the years that followed.
Now retired, the gorgeous dress is an installation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where it will be admired for years to come. It’s quite amazing to imagine that such a striking dress could have had such an unexpected past.