A bride shares with Columbus Weddings how she made her mother's wedding dress her own, 31 years later.

A bride shares with Columbus Weddings how she made her mother's wedding dress her own, 31 years later.

Shopping for a wedding gown has become almost a rite of passage-an essential part of planning the celebration. But there are some brides who are eager to make a family dress-worn by a mother, grandmother or aunt, perhaps-their own.

When Erin Davis was married on June 9, 2012, she walked down the aisle in the gown her mother wore 31 years prior.

"When I was little, my mom had her wedding dress and a few of her prom dresses," Davis explains. "My sisters and I would look at them and try them on, and we thought it was cool. I always had it in my head that I would want to wear my mom's wedding dress someday. The dress she bought wasn't a typical '80s' poofy-sleeve dress … It was a bit more rustic and vintage for her time. It spoke to me and the theme of my wedding." Davis describes her Lancaster wedding as colorful and eclectic.

But to wear the dress, changes would have to be made to the original garment.

"I didn't have any desire to look for another dress," Davis says. "It was a matter of trying it on and figuring out if it could work, and what alterations we could have done."

The challenge was this: Davis was getting married outside in June while her mother, Diane Cochran, was married inside in October. Davis knew she wanted to remove the sleeves, and she also had to lengthen the gown's train since she is taller than Cochran. "We used lace and pieces of fabric from the train that I wasn't going to use to add another ruffle underneath to make it long enough," Davis says. Other alterations included opening up the back of the dress to let the shoulders breathe.

Davis says Cochran didn't have any qualms as her youngest daughter was making the wedding gown her own.

"My mom was all for it," Davis explains. "She went with me every time we went to the seamstress. I originally talked about a couple different alterations that would be more major. She helped talked me out of it … not because it would upset her, but because it would drastically change the structure of the dress. She was right."

At Davis' wedding ceremony and reception, she displayed photos of Cochran wearing the original dress. Says Davis: "My mom thought [wearing her dress] was a neat way to pass on the legacy."