#WCW – Leah Brogan Murray
“My grandmother got married in [this gown] in 1947 and, after her wedding and the birth of my mom, she allowed my mom to play “dress up” in it as a child. My mom had a few minor alterations made to the gown for her own wedding to my dad in 1985 and, after their wedding, it got washed in a bath tub of ivory soap and placed in a box under my grandmother’s bed. When the time came for me to get married, my mom and grandmother offered the dress to me, thinking I would want something more contemporary. However, I was sold on wearing this gown given its history in our family and its resiliency through time!” Priscilla wowed Leah in being able to give the gown a “contemporary facelift” while still maintaining the gown’s original integrity.
Priscilla was able to turn the portrait neckline and long sleeves on the dress into a corset like bodice with lacey back while still maintaining essential details of the dress like the beaded flowers at the bottom of the dress and underlying lace that Leah really admired. Leah had gone into the first re-design consultation knowing that she did not want long sleeves, and wanting a little less fabric “up top.” Taking the lace from the back of the train and adding it to the keyhole straps and wrapping it around to the illusion back, Priscilla was able to use every piece of fabric that was taken off of the dress. The dress also originally had been gathered at the waist. Priscilla transformed the gathering into pleats so that to decrease some of the overall volume of the dress. Regarding the back of the gown, the original could not support an open back, so Priscilla added a built in corset around the bodice. This then allowed her to open up the back of the gown and create the illusion back that Leah had really wanted. When asked the benefits of having a custom altered gown created by Priscilla, Leah gushed, “On your wedding day, you want everything to be a genuine reflection of you and your spouse. My gown was more than just a dress I wore on my wedding day. It was a reflection of my love and respect for my family and our appreciation for family traditions (Kyle had given me his maternal grandmother’s stone for my engagement ring). Priscilla allowed this to happen by translating features of my personality, style, and family history into the gown I had envisioned.”
The alteration process was the biggest part of this dress’ transformation, and it was also Leah’s favorite. She came in for four fittings; three that occurred within the three months prior to the wedding and then one that occurred the week of the wedding, standard practice at Priscilla Costa Bridal. Leah states “At each fitting, regardless of the stage at which the dress was under, I felt like I was wearing the dress for the first time. Priscilla ensured that every modification I requested, coupled with her suggestions/recommendations, was made by the time I arrived for the next appointment. Additionally, she welcomed any ideas I had after the fitting without judgment and provided input that made you feel like she really had your best interest at heart.”
It was truly a storybook introduction for Leah and her now husband, Kyle. Two runners, a “The Hawk Will Never Die” T-Shirt, and the grandeur of an airport terminal were the confines of Leah and Kyle’s first hello. Leah, a runner for the UPenn track team, and Kyle, a runner for the Saint Joseph’s track team; they met while waiting for a plane back to Philadelphia, after both competing in the Division I National Cross Country Championships. A mutual friend of the two mentioned to Leah that Kyle would be competing at the Championships in Terra Haute, IN and to keep an eye out for him while at the competition. While in the airport terminal awaiting her flight, Leah noticed a guy wearing a “The Hawk Will Never Die,” shirt (a notable slogan from the hawks at St. Joe’s) and went over and introduced herself. After a few Facebook messages and a move to Boston, they found themselves together and as Leah states “the rest is, well, history.”
Married on September 18, 2015 at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Toms River, NJ, Leah came to Priscilla because she had unique dress needs: a 69 year old wedding gown! Passed down from her grandmother, then to her mother, Leah had no hesitation when it came to what wedding dress she would wear. Having known the dress would need some alterations and updating, Leah searched for an atelier in the Greater Philadelphia Area, and found Priscilla to be more than qualified to do the job. Many are not aware that not only does Priscilla design custom dresses, she is also a master of designing and altering existing dresses, and this was exactly what Leah needed.
Adding even more life to the dress, Leah’s mother created a short story about the journey of Leah’s gown and displayed it at the entrance of the wedding reception along with Priscilla’s original sketch of the gown. Leah states “I love Priscilla’s approach and attitude to her work. She is serious about her work as evidenced by her attention to detail, the layout of her shop, and her poise with clients. However, she is very down-to-earth, patient, and genuinely kind—features that every bride needs during the wedding planning process! “
To book your appointment with Priscilla head to www.priscillacosta.com or call 215-938-1009