Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

From This Day: A dress for generations

ST. PETERSBURG — Their relationship is of such long standing that they sometimes have trouble remembering when the romance began.

"We were always friends," says Jenny Giles Reese, who met her husband, Greg, when both were 12-year-old students at the Canterbury School of Florida.

"We didn't start dating until we were in college. We probably started dating our freshman year at (the University of) Florida. We started spending time every day together."

After Canterbury, Jenny went on to St. Petersburg High School; Greg, to Lakewood. In Gainesville, she studied economics, and he focused on finance. And after graduating from UF in 2009, they moved to the Orlando area, where he took a job with the Lockheed Martin Corp., and she worked in the Walt Disney World empire before moving back to St. Petersburg in summer 2011.

Jenny, 26, is a Realtor with YES-Homes, a team within Smith & Associates Real Estate. Greg, also 26, moved back to town in December 2011 and continues his work with Lockheed.

After a fairly lengthy courtship, they were engaged on Feb. 2.

"We planned the whole wedding in three months," Jenny says.

Tradition is a constant in the couple's story. For their May 4 marriage ceremony, which took place in the Episcopal Church of St. Bede, Jenny wore the wedding dress passed down from her maternal grandmother, Rosamond Dana, who wore it in December 1941, and from Jenny's mother, Anne Dana Giles, who wore it in her wedding in June 1979. Mrs. Dana's older sister also used the gown.

"So, I was the fourth bride to wear it," Jenny says. "Part of my veil was even older. The (Rose Point) lace front was from the late 1800s," originally from England. "It has been worn by many brides in my family. I added the very long tulle to it."

For the reception afterward, held in the Vinoy Sunset Ballroom, Jenny chose a more contemporary style, "more of a party dress" that lent itself to dancing.

And dance the couple did, surprising everyone with a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers number to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes that they learned from YouTube.

They are working on a house they bought in the Historic Old Northeast neighborhood last December, and they recently returned from a wedding trip along California's Pacific Coast Highway.

"We're very similar," Jenny says. "They say opposites attract, but we're very similar."

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