The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 12, 2014

2 women get lost wedding dresses back

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Two Tampa Bay area women are now back in possession of their own wedding dresses nine years after a mix-up got them switched.

The Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/1ffIBIa ) reported Wednesday that Marie Keeney was planning a ceremony to renew her vows with her husband of nine years. Her 8-year-old son, Braden, had asked them to do it so he could be part of the ceremony.

But the planning came to a halt last year when she took the wedding dress out of the storage box and realized it wasn't hers. She was devastated and canceled the ceremony.

"It made me cry," she said. "And I never cry."

But Keeney, 45, began investigating.

She contacted the dry cleaners that did the preservation and was told the task had been outsourced to a New York company, Wedding Gown Preservation.

She felt her dress was lost but wanted to get the dress she had back to its proper owner. She posted photos on Facebook and contacted the media, in hopes that the owner would learn about the dress. But no one came forward.

Then Wedding Gown Preservation found Keeney's dress and shipped it back to the dry cleaners.

"I think it's a miracle," Keeney said. "I can't believe I got my dress back."

An invoice that was also found showed that the other dress belonged to a Katherine Stephenson. The Times tracked down Stephenson living three miles from Keeney. Stephenson had long accepted that her dress had been lost. She picked it up last week.

"Several people at that wedding are not with us anymore," Stephenson said of the 2001 ceremony. "It will be really nice to have something special from a time when they were all in our lives."

Meanwhile, Keeney has rescheduled her renewal ceremony for her 10th anniversary in November. And the dress still fits.

"They say it's bad luck to wear your dress twice," Keeney said, smiling. "But I don't believe any of that."

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Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.

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