Heidi Roland Photography

Amazingly, no alterations were even made to the vintage gown.

One of the greatest honors of being a Southern bride is donning something from Grandma on your wedding day. For some brides, this means even after she’s gone. For 29-year-old bride Madison Kantzer, this meant wearing grandma’s dress—even though the two had never met.

During her childhood in Potomac, Maryland, Kantzer had always adored a delicately beaded gown that belonged to her late grandmother, Adele Schiff Greene. Greene, who died at only 40 in 1969, wore the dress for Kantzer’s uncle’s Bar Mitzvah in 1966.

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While the bride never had the opportunity to meet her grandmother, Kantzer’s mother, Patricia Greene, keeps her own mother's spirit alive through stories and photos. When Kantzer became engaged to boyfriend Adam Hoffman in 2015, she knew right away her dress was already hanging in the closet. Since she had always loved her grandma's gown and had never wanted to wear a white wedding dress, what could be more perfect?

“For my grandmother's family, my mom especially, it was nice to have the presence of her mom in the form of the dress, both of her parents died when she was young,” 

Kantzer told Southern Living. “And I know she would have loved for them to see her children and the life she made. She cried the first time I tried it on actually.” The couple wed at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in April, a fitting venue for the Virginia history teacher. The newlyweds reside in Washington, D.C..

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“The dress was special for me because it was meaningful to my mom. Even though I've never met my grandma, my mom says I am like her in some ways, so it was nice to have her spirit in the wedding,” Kanzer continued. “I was also wearing my adopted grandmother’s ring and another adopted grandmother’s earrings. So as many generations of women as possible!”

Clearly, Kantzer also glowed with the love of those women on her big day.

Heidi Roland Photography
Heidi Roland Photography

Photos courtesy heidirolandphotography.com.