Most girls spend their lives daydreaming of the perfect wedding dress. Would it favor a romantic touch or a minimalist design? How about the fabric? Would you look for off-the-rack selections, or should you have it handmade by a designer? These are all important questions as one scours every boutique and bridal book for the ideal wedding dress. For Patty Escolin-Zaguirre, however, the search for her wedding look's pièce de résistance need not run that far. As luck would have it, the answer was already safely preserved and tucked away in her mother's closet. 

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"The idea to wear my mom’s wedding dress came from my dad. In a way, I think it was his way of giving tribute to his aunt, who was like a second mom to him," Patty tells Preview. "She played such a big part in planning their wedding 35 years ago. Dad made the suggestion a few weeks after I got engaged, and I figured—why not? I also really liked the idea of being able to honor my mom by wearing her dress." 

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The 35-year-old dress originally designed by Boysie Villavicencio turned out to be the perfect fit—after a few alterations, of course. As for her mom's reaction? "Mom was excited when I finally decided to wear her dress.  She said she was "honored and overjoyed, that 35 years later, one of her daughters wanted to wear her dress and didn’t think it was baduy," Patty recounts.

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Check out photos of Patty in her mom's dress below, as she regales the full story behind the fated frock.

Did you have other dream wedding gowns in mind or was wearing your mom’s dress always the plan?

"I was pretty set on wearing my mom’s dress already ever since my dad made the suggestion. I still did look at bridal blogs and magazines, and went through the process of trying on dresses to get an idea of what silhouette might work best for me.

"Mom’s dress was made by a very good friend of my dad’s aunt, Tito Boysie Villavicencio, who Dad eventually became very close to. After deciding that I would use mom’s dress, my dad also suggested that we visit Tito Boysie to see if we could work with him for my dress. During that visit, we found out that he has since shifted his artistic focus to painting. It was also then that he explained how Mom’s dress was made, the intricacies of the callado weave and all the little details he put into making her dress. His stories made me realize how much time, thought, effort, and love was put into making her dress and gave me more reason to go ahead and wear her dress."

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"Since he was no longer into dress making, we took the visit as an opportunity to get his blessing to work with another designer to update the dress and make it more me. Tito Boysie was with us at the wedding and it was so nice to be able to honor him as well as his talent that night.”

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Did you have to alter the dress? If so, could you tell us about the work done?

“The dress definitely needed to be altered since mom and I had very different body types. Mom and I also both agreed that we would change it up a little so that she still had 'her' dress and I had 'mine'. Mom’s dress was a two-piece ensemble—an A-line dress with a spaghetti strap neckline, with a separate and very intricate blouse. Mom and I worked with Ivarluski Aseron in the creation of my dress. I thought that it would be important that mom had a say [in how] her dress would be deconstructed."

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"We used the same A-line silhouette but chose a sweetheart neckline for my dress. Our church was quite strict with their dress code, so Ivar picked apart elements from mom’s blouse and made detachable sleeves for me to wear to the church. He also added some ruffled elements to the back of the skirt, and added some beadwork to make the callado details pop out even more. We also had to add a little length to the dress since my now-husband is quite tall and I didn’t want to look too short next to him so additional layers of scalloped fabric were worked into the bottom of my dress."

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"Other old and borrowed elements were my veil, our secondary veil, and cord. Dad and Mom lent us the same set they used in their wedding.”

What was your mom’s reaction upon finding out that you’d be wearing her old gown?

“Mom was excited when I finally decided to wear her dress.  She said she was 'honored and overjoyed,' that 35 years later, one of her daughters wanted to wear her dress and didn’t think it was baduy.  At the same time, she said she was wary that the fabric might not hold up anymore because of the delicate nature of the callado style embroidery. Thankfully, Mom was able to preserve the dress really well, and Ivar appreciated and respected the delicacy of the fabric.”

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*This interview has been condensed and edited.

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