92-year-old is surprised with wish for a bridal gown

ctruman@herald-leader.comNovember 20, 2013 

When Ruth Sullivan got married in 1946, she wore a blue wool dress trimmed with black grosgrain ribbon — a peplum style, she recalled.

On Wednesday, Sullivan, who just turned 92 and is now a widow, got to finally live her bridal dream. She picked a floor-length David's Bridal design from the Lexington branch of the wedding superstore in her very own version of the show Say Yes to the Dress.

Sullivan was so entranced by the show that airs on TLC — in which brides and their families debate various dresses until the bride, finding her ideal garment, says "yes" to a confection of white tulle and lace and bling— that she thought she might have to arrange her own shopping trip.

"I thought I might have to do it and pay for it myself," she said.

But others knew what was on Sullivan's mind, and they arranged to give her a donated, belated wedding dress.

The trip to David's was a secret kept from Sullivan, who thought she was going to the doctor for some new eye drops.

Sullivan is just the latest resident of Frankfort's Ashwood Place to have a wish granted in conjunction with Second Wind Dreams in Marietta, Ga. The organization grants wishes for those in elder care or hospice care.

Cathy Moore, executive director of Ashwood, said residents are asked to detail an unfulfilled dream when they check into the senior living center. Among the wishes granted to residents were to be a state trooper or governor for a day.

"It really changes their whole outlook," Moore said. "It changes our perception of seniors. It's very addictive to see what it does for them."

Sullivan tried on three dresses, including a Melissa Sweet ball gown, an Oleg Cassini tea-length, and her third and final choice, a short-sleeved full-length David's Bridal design for $799.

With son Tim on her arm and flowers in her hands, she posed for photos with her bridesmaids: two friends from Ashwood. Her flower girl was her great-granddaughter, Rhys Staples, 7.

Later, Sullivan would go by limousine to a reception in Frankfort.

"I just wish Norm was here," she said, referring to her late husband.

What would Norm have thought of his wife all dressed up with a veil, flowers and bridesmaids?

Said Tim Sullivan, one of Norm and Ruth's three sons, "He would have said we were just putting on the dog."

Tim Sullivan described his father, who died in 2004, as frugal and utilitarian, a good provider.

"Mom likes fancy things," he said. "She's always liked to look nice. She likes jewelry and to get her hair done and her nails done."

A segment about Sullivan's wish is scheduled to air next week on the Today Show.

Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service