Christina Moffett met the love of her life, Alexander, in high school. But it would be several years before the couple would start dating.
"We knew each other through drama and music, plus his dad was my teacher and our sisters played together in the same special-needs baseball league. When we were in college, our high school drama program had an alumni get together at IHOP and we reconnected there. We continued talking and became best friends. That Christmas, in 2013, he asked me out," the 25-year-old told TODAY Style.
The couple dated long distance throughout college until Moffett moved back to Wisconsin in 2018. Her sweetheart proposed on their fifth anniversary. As she began to envision what she might wear on her wedding day, Moffett turned to a few of the most important ladies in her life for some guidance.
"I'm very nostalgic and love family heirlooms. My grandma, mother and future mother-in-law had all mentioned at one point that it would be fun to have me try on their gowns. I figured I'd get it all done at once, so I had a tea party with them, my future sister-in-law and two best friends to model the dresses. I was also hoping I could possibly wear one of the dresses for the wedding," she said.
Moffett began the fashion show with the gown her mom, Karen Spaeth, wore — an elegant lace dress with a big train — and "felt like a princess." Next came the dress her future mother-in-law, Anne Moffett, wore, which the bride said "was the comfiest thing I've ever worn; it felt like pajamas."
Last but not least came the dress that Moffett's grandmother, Shirley Ekstrand (fondly nicknamed "Mite"), wore back in 1956. And the third time was the charm.
"It was gorgeous, classy and timeless. It just worked. I twirled around in the hoop skirt and was beaming. I knew it was the look I wanted for my wedding. It was a very Grace Kelly look," she said. "I had seen photos of it on the mantle before but couldn't really imagine it until I wore it."
Naturally, Ekstrand was tickled pink to see her granddaughter all dolled up in the dress she once wore. "She was so thrilled and honored. She said the dress was all mine and I could do whatever I wanted to it," the newlywed said.
Luckily, the stunning dress didn't need a lot of altering.
"I only had it let out a bit, since Mite had worn a corset and I declined that. I also passed on the hoop skirt and instead wore an underskirt to give it some volume. Everything else about the dress was the same. I couldn't believe how good of shape it was in," Moffett said.
On her wedding day in October 2019, Moffet added another "something old" to her ensemble: earrings her grandmother had given her mother years before. Stepping into Mite's gown on that special day felt a bit surreal for the bride.
"It added to the whole experience and made it so much more special by adding deep family love to it. Mite is one of my favorite people and I was so happy to honor her 57 years of marriage. And, partly because of the dress, the theme of the wedding was vintage and books, so it matched," she said.
It was an equally special experience for Mite, who was happy that her granddaughter loved the gown so much.
"I was very honored that she asked me to be part of her wedding. And I was so sorry that Bada (Moffett's grandfather) wasn't with us, but yet he's in our hearts. I was so happy for both Christina and Alexander because they were meant for each other. And seeing her in the dress made me very happy," Ekstrand told TODAY.
Moffett's husband also appreciated the sentiment behind his wife's wedding gown.
"She looked beautiful. I thought wearing Mite's dress was a great idea. Mite is our favorite relative and it's super cool, especially because Christina looks exactly like her and wants to grow up to be her," he told TODAY, adding, "And there's something sentimental and nice about wearing what your family has worn. It was a really pretty dress."
Back in the '50s, Moffett's grandparents traveled to Michigan for their honeymoon. Flash forward a few decades and the Moffetts continued the tradition.
"We took a similar honeymoon. They went to Mackinac Island and we went to Upper Michigan. It wasn't intentional, but a fun coincidence. I loved taking trips up there as a kid and my husband hadn't ever been. So we took a week of much needed rest in isolated cabins and lighthouses," the bride said.
Earlier this month, Moffett shared a photo of her dress on Reddit, and the post quickly went viral, garnering more than 70,000 upvotes. The newlyweds are still kind of in shock about the reaction.
"I can't believe how much attention this all got! Absolutely stunned," Moffett said. "What a crazy way to start our marriage."