It’s one of those wedding horror stories.
Amanda Timm saw it online for the first time late last year: a woman opened her wedding dress keepsake box to discover someone else’s dress inside.
“And in the back of my mind I said, ‘I have to tick my box,'” Timm recalled. And maybe another time after that. “I’ll do it another time,” she recalled.
Eventually her 5 year old daughter Brynn – like 5 year olds – started pestering her about it. After Timm married her husband Mike in St. Paul in 2013, she took her dress to a dry cleaner in Woodbury to be cleaned and packed shortly after her honeymoon.
Last month, Timm pulled the box out from under her stairs in her Clear Lake, Minnesota home to show her middle daughter the gleaming white, tailored lace gown she’d been married in. But instead in the box found an ivory-colored, beaded dress by Oleg Cassini. With one train.
“After 8 years I was like … I just said to my husband, ‘There’s no way I’m going to get the dress back, baby, just so you know,'” said Timm. He offered to have another one done. You I knew this wasn’t going to work. “I was just sitting in a dark room and crying alone that night and he was like, ‘You wanna come out and hang out and see a show? ‘And I say, “I can’t. I just have to sit here and cry.” “”
Kris and Troy Lystad (left photo) were married on June 30, 2012 in Woodbury Central Park. Amanda Timm poses for a picture on her wedding day, Feb. 23, 2013, in St. Paul.
Courtesy Kris Lystad and Amanda Timm
But hope, like true love, never dies, so Timm called and called the Woodbury dry cleaner that packed her dress years ago. It looked bleak: the business had changed hands twice. There was a label on the wrong dress, but no name, just one store – Men’s Wearhouse – that obviously had NOT worn the dress. And could have been anywhere.
Step inside Polly Nemec who now owns the Woodbury dry cleaning business along with several other businesses.
“I really, really didn’t have much hope,” she said.
But there was another clue: the claim tag in Timms Box indicated that the software the shop was using almost eight years ago was the same company that Nemec was still using. Nemec telephoned with crossed fingers to see if the company had any backup data long ago.
They did – and it showed that the clothes had come apart in just two days. And there, in the digital dust, was an email address. Nemec dropped a message hoping someone would see it.
Kris Lystad did.
Amanda Timm hugs Polly Nemec (right), who found Timm’s wedding dress. Timm looked in her wedding dress box and found that she had another woman’s dress after hearing a message about a wedding dress mix-up.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR news
“I looked at it and I’m like, ‘Oh my god,” she said. “I left and I got really close to where the box was, so I took the box out.”
Lystad, who lives in Stillwater, said it had been unopened in a front entryway for nearly a decade.
“And I looked at it and thought, ‘No, this is not my dress.’ “Your husband Troy knew it too.
Lystad had been working in the evening wear at Men’s Wearhouse at the time and – months after their 2012 wedding – had simply sent her dress to the dry cleaner her shop used. She got it back, life went on and she hadn’t thought about it any further.
Kris Lystad’s wedding dress sits on a table while Polly Nemec adjusts Amanda Timm’s wedding dress on Saturday. Lystad and Timm discovered they had the wedding dresses for almost eight years and met on Saturday to swap.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR news
Nemec brought Lystad and Timm together on Saturday at their Stillwater store, aptly named treasure dress restoration. In the back room, surrounded by dozens of other wedding dresses waiting to be packed – all kept a safe distance apart – they spread out and admired the dresses they had last worn on their wedding nights.
“Oh my god, I’m so happy,” said Timm, the dress finally in hand. “It’s crazy to see it again.”
Nemec removed the cardboard bust forms from the clothes; She said they could stain the fabric. She wrapped everything in tissue paper while the two women – brides for the afternoon again – watched.
When Nemec was packing the second dress, Timm opened a felt pen and stuck her initials on the outside of her box. Just in case.
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