Bride's Name: Debora Russell
Groom's Name: William Ellis West
Wedding Date: January 03, 1981
City of Wedding: Charleston
Church: John Wesley United Methodist Church
I was getting married in January of 1981. My grandmother bought my wedding dress at Condon’s for my birthday present in November. It was a beautiful long sleeved gown with beaded Chantilly lace. We worked together and altered the gown until it fit perfectly. I carried it to Lyerlys to have it pressed. I was having my portrait sitting in early December at Furchgott’s on a Saturday morning. I went to pick up my gown from the cleaners and I just couldn’t understand why I could not find the place. I drove around the block hunting for a place I had known all my life. The cleaners had burned down the night before. I spoke to a lone gentleman sitting at a folding table in the parking lot. He remembered my gown and told me that it hadn’t been destroyed but that it was smoke and water damaged. They wanted to send it to a specialty center to restore it. I agreed but I was in a panic because my wedding was in 4 weeks. I went with my grandmother on Sunday afternoon to look for a new gown. Rosalie Myers opened her store for me and even though the season had changed, she went into her storeroom and showed me some gowns. The first one she brought out was perfect. The problem: the gown cost 5 times what my first gown cost. When my original gown came back from the cleaners it was a disaster. I cried and cried because my wedding was in one week and I didn’t have a wedding gown. Mrs. Myers called the owner of the cleaners and I was stunned when the insurance company paid for my new gown. Furchgott’s scheduled an evening sitting and took my bridal portrait two days before my wedding.
The wedding was perfect. Will and I were the last ones to leave the church after the ceremony and the custodian locked up behind us. We looked around for our ride and there was no one there. We had been left behind. Will and I walked the neighborhood behind John Wesley knocking on doors looking for someone home so we could call for a ride. The groom in tails and the bride with her veil and train thrown over her arm walking the sidewalks of Charleston.