Woodward, Okla. —
A wedding dress is often the most important dress a woman will ever have.
That's because it's so much more than just a dress. Each bride's wedding gown tells its own story.
There are many cherished memories told by the wedding dresses and other wedding items including albums, Bibles and cake toppers now on display at the Woodward Public Library.
The items were put up to go along with the library's adult summer reading program, Summer Romance: Between the Covers. The program involves reading books about the history of weddings and different cultural customs of weddings.
Here are just a few of the stories behind the 10 dresses on display at the library through July 28.
If you see a wedding dress on display that looks a little banged up, a little dirty and can't be zipped all the way, you've spotted the one that went through the April 15 tornado. The dress belongs to Anita Starling.
"I'm surprised they even found it," she said. "I looked at my dress, went to zip it up and the seam was totally pulled off."
Found in the field across from Lakeside Theater by a volunteer crew, the dress was one of few items that the Starlings recovered, as well as their wedding album and boy and girl cake topper.
Anita was glad her dress had been found because she wasn't sure how many of her cherished belongings could be recovered after the tornado completely destroyed her home.
The Starlings have what seems to be an All-American love story. Bob and Anita knew each other since they were teenagers, growing up in rival towns in Lincoln County. They were married June 19, 1982 by Bob's father who was a preacher at the time, Anita said.
"We've been married almost 30 years," she said.
The family moved to Woodward in 2000 and were living on Meadowlake Dr. when the tornado hit.
"We skirted around tornados all our lives when we lived in Lincoln County," she said. "This is the first one we were actually associated with though."
Anita said after the disaster many people tried to feed them, house them and help in any way they could and it has been a "humbling" and "honoring" experience.
The Starlings are now renting a house that they are planning to buy.