(LIMA, Ohio) -- Lily Whittaker's First Communion dress may have been the typical white color, but it was far from average.
The dress was made from the wedding gown that Lily’s mother, Quinn Whittaker, wore, which was made by her grandmother, Suzanne Kelley.
Whittaker, of Lima, Ohio, said she started to panic a few weeks before Lily’s May 7th First Communion when she realized she did not yet have a dress for her daughter, or much time to shop. She was nine months pregnant at the time.
When she saw her own wedding dress hanging in her 8-year-old daughter’s closet, she said she had a stroke of inspiration.
“I’ve kept it in her closet and I never got it preserved or anything,” said Whittaker, who will celebrate her tenth wedding anniversary in July. “Originally, I thought my mom would make a christening gown with it but that didn’t happen because we have a family gown.”
Whittaker’s mom, Suzanne Kelley, also of Lima, happens to be a seamstress in her spare time. She creates handmade items like prom dresses and princess dresses for her three children and nine grandchildren, including Lily.
Kelley, who could not be reached, was preparing for a trip to Florida, but did not hesitate when her daughter asked her to take on the dressmaking challenge.
“She didn’t have any qualms about it,” Whittaker said. “I will say that she did say, ‘Are you sure want to do this? Because once I start we can’t go back.’”
Lily gave her grandmother the guidelines that she wanted her dress to be “flowy” and “princess like.” Whittaker and Kelley then found a combination of patterns they liked and Kelley quickly created her granddaughter's dream First Communion gown.
Lily Whittaker, 8, of Lima, Ohio, wore a First Communion dress made from her mother's wedding gown.
The only parts that remain of Whittaker’s wedding gown are now the very top and the very bottom sections of the dress.
“My mom held it up and said, ‘This is what left,’” Whittaker recalled. “I had a little pang of, ‘Oh this is sad,’ but when I saw the finished product on Lily it made me feel good because it looked beautiful.”
Lily received many compliments on her unique dress, during what Whittaker described as an "emotional" First Communion celebration.
“She is our oldest, so watching her go through that sacrament was in and of itself great. But then seeing her in that dress, it was emotional,” Whittaker said. “We were so proud of her, too.”
Kelley returned home from her trip in time to watch her granddaughter receive the sacrament in the wedding gown she’d previously helped her daughter select.
"She’s just the best grandmother and is so willing to do these types of things and puts her heart and passion into whatever it is she does," Whittaker said about her mom.
The scraps from Whittaker’s wedding dress will probably see a second life in a few years at the First Communion of her middle child, 5-year-old Jack.
“He’ll be getting a tie made out of mom’s wedding dress,” Whittaker said.
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