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Mary Ellen and the Traveling Wedding Dress

Mary Ellen and the magic dress.

My good friend Mary Ellen Apgar is getting married to Josh Oertle a week from tomorrow and she’s doing it the very modern way: backwards. But that’s not the story here.

The story is about a magic dress, one that didn’t come to the front immediately, but waited until both it and Mary Ellen were ready for it to appear. It’s such a good story that I’ll let her tell it, since it’s hers. Here goes:

Mary Ellen’s son, Bennett, anticipating the blessed event.

“Josh and I first got engaged in June 2013 shortly before he left for Afghanistan. In the last four years we have been engaged, we have endured a deployment, successfully bought our first house together and had the privilege of bringing life into this world with our son.  After all that, we thought this is the perfect time to get hitched.

“Perfect, don’t you think?! We did things a little unconventional, backwards, and nontraditional.  Some people have not agreed with it (my folks have been so very supportive), but it’s what worked for us.

“Over the past four years, I have gotten three different wedding dresses. It has been quite the saga. I got all of them from Newfangled Bride in Salem, a consignment shop.  For one reason or another, the first two dresses just didn’t suite me anymore.  I didn’t realize how much I wanted to sparkle!  The first two dresses did not sparkle.  The dress I have now totally sparks.

“The dress I bought two weeks from my wedding has quite the story.  If I recall correctly, I am the fifth bride to wear this dress.  It was originally either $4,000 or $2,800 (I can’t quite remember).  Newfangled Bride sold it to me for a teeny, tiny fraction of that amount.  Totally affordable for me.

“Newfangled Bride calls the dress I bought the ‘traveling dress.’  Not only has it been worn by so many brides, but it’s been worn in weddings at a vineyard in California and at a castle in Scotland and another in Slovakia. This dress’s destiny is to be worn by many amazing women and worn all over the world.  I am so honored to wear this dress at Hollins University for my wedding.

“Because of the dress’s destiny, I will return it to Newfangled after my wedding.  I can’t wait to learn who will wear it next.

Mary Ellen and me at the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference this past January.

“Because this dress is magical and could potentially bring happiness to another bride (affordable happiness) and because it is about a locally owned business, I just had to share the story.”

I probably don’t need to say it, but I will: I’m thrilled for Mary Ellen’s wedding, her  child, her dress and mostly for her friendship. She has been of enormous value to me over the years both personally and professionally and her happiness simply delights me. Although I don’t usually do weddings unless I’m the groom (and there have been plenty of those), I’ll be the one at in the Hollins Talmadge Recital Hall Saturday with the biggest smile.

By admin

Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

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