Dry cleaning mix-up turns into wedding dress mystery for mother of a bride

Posted at 7:06 AM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 11:42:41-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — After 27 years sealed in a dry cleaning box, the mother of a bride in Murfreesboro opened her wedding dress box hoping to pass it on to her engaged daughter only to find someone else's dress was in the box. Now the family pleads for help.

"I loved my dress, I still love my dress because it was my wedding dress and it was, you know, one of the best days of my life," said Amy Francis Self.

Self was married in 1994, and like most brides, had her dress professionally dry cleaned following the festivities. When she received the dress back from the cleaners in a sealed box that year, she stored it in her parent's home in a closet -- for 27 years.

Amy Francis Self in her wedding dress on her wedding day in 1994. In July 2021, Self discovered her dress was missing after it was mixed up at a Mufreesboro dry cleaners leaving her with someone else's dress.

A few months ago, her daughter, Emma Self, got engaged.

"We're so excited for her. She's ready to move on to the next phase of her life," said Amy, "[She is] our only daughter, so this is our only wedding to plan and to get to do all the fun things."

"I didn't really know what I wanted for a dress, but I always knew that what mom's dress looked like and I'd always wanted to use part of it for my wedding. It was just kind of a, 'let's try this on just to see,' and then go from there," explained Emma.

Amy Francis Self and her daughter Emma sit together at their family home in Mufreesboro on August 11, 202`1, looking at Amy's wedding photo book ahead of Emma's wedding.

When Amy and Emma arrived at Amy's mother's home to find the wedding dress box in the closet, where Amy left it nearly three decades ago, they opened it to find the surprise they never wanted.

"It was sealed in an outer plastic seal, and then a cardboard box, and then an inner cardboard box that had a window... We started the unsealing process and when I looked through the window I thought, ‘I don't remember that kind of beading on the front of my dress but it's been 27 years, you know, who knows?’ And when she pulled the dress out, it is off-white. It is not white, mine is white, and it definitely was not my size... It is long sleeve, my dress was short sleeve. And so we kind of looked at each other, and both of our mouths dropped open, and we were like, 'What in the world. This is not my dress,'" explained Amy.

The following are images of the dress the Selfs found inside a dry cleaning box from Big B dry cleaners in Mufreesboro that has changed ownership since 1994, and has already offered to clean Emma's dress at no charge after her wedding next year.



Once the family realized what had happened 27 years ago, Amy posted on Facebook hoping and praying someone would have her dress and also recognize the dress she found.

Since she posted in late July, she has heard many stories about others who discovered a mix up since reading her story. But so far, she has not had any luck finding her dress.

Emma said having the chance to use part of her mom's wedding dress is more than a sweet sentiment.

"We're very close and she's just always been such a big part of my life, and it just, it feels special to me to be able to have a part of her and her wedding and commitment in my wedding," explained Emma. "It's always seemed like they've had a strong marriage and a very good example for me my brothers growing up, and I want to bring that example into my marriage with my husband."

"Every girl dreams of their wedding day and their wedding dress," reminisced Amy. "And my daughter's dream is to use part of my dress into her wedding. So, I just asked you, if you have my dress, I probably have yours. No questions asked. I just really would like my dress back."

If you think you have Amy's dress, think Amy has your dress or can help in the dress mystery in any way, contact her using the following email:

Emma Self (left), her grandmother Mary Dee Francis (center) and her mother Amy Francis Self (right) together at their family home in Mufreesboro on August 11, 202`1, in pursuit of finding Amy's wedding dress after a dry cleaning mix-up left them with someone else's dress.