Lifestyle & Human Interest

When Grandma Can't Make It to Graduation, Student Wears Her Wedding Dress as Special Tribute


Some moments are too important not to share with those we love. But being together during those moments isn’t always possible.

Sometimes a little extra work, thought — or even fashion — can be necessary to share our successes with the people we care for the most.

After finding out that her grandmother wouldn’t be able to make it to her graduation ceremony, one student found a creative way to honor her grandma from a distance.

Jade Stephenson was disappointed when she learned that her grandmother, Nora, was unable to travel the 130 miles from her home in Carlisle to Liverpool to see her walk across the stage at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

The university student’s grandfather, James, passed away in 2009, and the thought of walking to receive her degree without either of them there to witness it didn’t feel right to Stephenson.

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“I didn’t want them to miss out on my graduation,” she told to BBC News. “And it a way they didn’t.”

Stephenson decided to ask Nora’s permission to wear her grandmother’s wedding dress to the ceremony. Jade always loved the unique red dress, and for years reminded her grandmother to save it for her, hoping one day she could wear it to a special event.

“I originally tried the dress on a few years ago, so I knew what it looked like on and her face then lit up,” she told CNN. “So I knew that asking her if I could wear it for graduation would make her smile.”

Stephenson’s grandmother was thrilled. The 22-year-old said her grandmother was overwhelmed by the gesture and honored that her granddaughter chose the dress to wear on her special day.

“My grandma and I are very close, I speak to her when I can and whenever I’m home I catch up with her. I see a lot of my own traits in her, I think we are very similar people,” Stephenson said.

“Although it’s 32 years old, it’s timeless and very me,” she said of the dress.

“Also, my grandad died in 2009 and to me, it felt like part of him was there with me on such a special day,” she added.

Underneath her cap and gown, Stephenson wore the dress proudly as she received her degree in teaching from Liverpool Hope University.

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She plans to work as a teacher starting this fall at St. Basil’s Catholic Primary School.

Several friends and other attendees at the graduation ceremony complimented Stephenson’s outfit, she said. “I think people thought it was quite heartwarming.”

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Laura Stewart was an associate story editor and news and lifestyle contributor for The Western Journal.
Laura Stewart was an associate story editor and news and lifestyle contributor for The Western Journal.
Phoenix, AZ