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LIKE GREAT-GRANDMOTHER, LIKE GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER
A few weeks before her wedding day, Colleen Dejno posed for photos in the wedding gowns of women in her family, spanning several generations.
The 33-year-old bride played dress-up with photographer Jeannine Pohl at Semple Mansion in Minneapolis for the touching shoot, where she wore her great-grandmother's 1910 lace gown, her grandmother's satin long-sleeved dress and her mom's 1970s retro puffer-sleeved frock. She even had her hair and makeup done to match the era during which each woman got married.
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A HOMEMADE GOWN
"My great-grandmother's dress was the cornerstone of this whole idea," Dejno, who works at a children's musuem in St. Paul, Minnesota, tells PEOPLE. "My mom is interested in genealogy and tracking family records and had my great-grandmother's bag in her closet for decades. I said, 'I can't belive we have a dress that's over 100 years old! We have to do something!' "
Dejno never met her great-grandmother, Mary Lethert, but knows she "was a great seamstress," she says. "Mary acutally made this dress and it has beautiful pleating and lace. The fabric felt so fragile! I felt honored to be in it."
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POST WAR WEDDING
"Nothing would have looked right without the right hair," says Dejno. "I got wigs and tried to get them more or less in my hair color and we tried to style the wigs that matched that time period and the actual person too."
Here she wears the satin gown her grandmother, Edith Jane Corrigan, wore when she walked down the aisle in 1947.
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"When I put her dress on, it was weird because everyone felt like they were in a time warp and looking at my mom!" says Dejno of wearing her mom's 1970s frock. "It was definitely trippy."
Dejno's mother, Patricia Cotter, was at the shoot and thought it was "very cool" to see her daughter in her dress. "It was fun to see me as a representation of her," says Dejno.
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A SENSE OF AWE
Dejno describes feeling "a sense of awe" as she switched hair, makeup and dresses for the different eras. "Each outfit was so different and I felt different too," she says. "I was truly honored to wear each of these amazing women's dresses."
The bride also posed in her mother-in-law's gown. "She really appreciated being included," says Dejno of her husband's mother, Lucy Dejno. "I wanted to represent her too."
Dejno sported a bob and posed in front of a photo of Lucy for this part of the shoot.
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HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Dejno and her husband, Adam Dejno, tied the knot on June 3 at Holy Spirit Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their reception took place at Semple Mansion, the very location where wedding photographer Pohl shot Dejno in the dresses.
"We actually framed all of the photos Jeannine took and displayed them at the wedding," says Dejno. "As people walked around they could look at them. Our guests loved it!"
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Dejno's own gown was a stunning off-the-shoulder Oleg Cassini gown. "I looked at a lot of dresses and I loved this one's princesses style," she says. "I knew when I tried it on that it was special."
The newlywed will keep the framed photographs (and dresses!) in a safe place to show her children one day. "If I have kids I want them to see this piece of family history," says Dejno. "And if I have a daughter, I wonder if she will think I'm a lame mom, or maybe she'll want to carry on the tradition!"
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