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Last week I got an unusual request, from a Brockville photographer I knew about a decade ago.  The call went kinda like this ” Hi Anne – it’s Mark Oliver calling, do you remember me?  I have a strange request – I know of a bride who is searching for her wedding dress.  Her wedding was in 2003, and she recently opened the previously sealed dry cleaners box containing what she thought was her dress – only to discover the the dress inside was NOT HER wedding dress.  This bride is searching for the owner of the dress in the box – in hopes that that true owner of this dress might have hers.  Can you take a look at a photo of the mystery dress & let me know if you might remember this dress from 2003?”

Melissa Hoogenraad's search for her wedding dress

*supplied photo*

So kind of a ‘switched at birth’ scenario, only this one is a ‘switched at the dry cleaners‘ version.  Truthfully my first reaction was ‘are you kidding?’  There is NO WAY I will remember a dress from 2003.  But for some reason I don’t truly understand myself – I am a bit obsessive about keeping ALL the work I have photographed these past 25 years, and so it was an easy task to go and pull the entire collection of images photographed in 2003.  Really not having any expectation that I would find the ‘mystery dress’ in my archive, I dove in to many hours of opening image files.  And eventually – there it was.  Or at least there was a dress that could be, might be.

Brockville mystery wedding  dress solved

*close up of Maureen’s 2003 wedding dress*  copyright Anne Edgar Photography

In the mean time, Severson Cleaners -the small family business  who cleaned the dress- contacted me sweetly and persistently from the time I was first made aware of the mystery, over the course of the time I searched my archive, and right up to the time I found the potential match.  Kudos to this business for going the extra mile to help this bride.  (aka nearly daily messages sent to me by Angela & Louise Severson to continually follow up on the search.)  In addition to the Severson inquiries and the call from Mark Oliver, this thing went viral on Facebook & in the media.  It was not long before bride Melissa was also contacting me in the remote chance that I might be able to help.

So – now that I had a match – it was time to connect these two ladies.  But I had lingering doubts.  Is it really the right dress?  It was a popular style that year & there could be several brides with the same gown.  Will she still have the dress?  We are talking about a wedding dress worn 12 years ago.  Can I even track this bride down?

Thanks to mutual friends Shannon & Shauna, and with the help of Facebook, a message got to bride Maureen, that if she still had her wedding dress – she might want to take a peek and make sure she had the right dress.  And the rest is now happy history.

You can see the ongoing search & saga here on the The RecordToronto Star,  Ottawa Citizen, CKWS, City TV (March 17th news cast) Huffington Post, and even more news outlets.  Who knew it could be such a big story.

…and the happy ‘dress reunion’ can be found here on the Toronto Star today, with a follow up story here on the Ottawa Citizen.

brockville mystery dress solved

Maureen & Gaston, on their 2003 wedding day  copyright Anne Edgar Photography