News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

August 1, 2009

Stephanie Salter: Something old, something new, something borrowed and Earth-friendly, too

TERRE HAUTE — Like so many brides-to-be, Sarah Oblon was fairly fixated on getting exactly the right wedding dress. But it wasn’t visions of Vera Wang and imported peu de soie that swirled in Sarah’s head.

It was T-shirts. Everyday, white cotton T-shirts. And used ones, thank you, not new.

Sarah, who is marrying Andrew Distelrath on Saturday in Indianapolis, may be having one of the most untraditional traditional weddings in the state. Her full-length, strapless T-shirt gown pretty much typifies the approach she and her fiancé have taken to their big day, from the pre-wedding shower to their honeymoon.

“Maybe an Earth-friendly wedding?” Sarah said, when asked to categorize her nuptials.

Sarah is the granddaughter of Bob and Maggie Pabst (and the late Phyllis Pabst), who live in Seelyville and are parishioners of St. Ann Catholic Church, where I first heard about the comfy and environmentally-conscious wedding taking place Aug. 8.

Maggie and Bob were among dozens of relatives who responded to Sarah’s request for donated T-shirts. Kelly Lucas, a family friend and theater costume designer, transformed 45 shirts into a lovely, clingy gown for Sarah.

“It’s genius. He so got what I wanted,” said Sarah, by phone last week from Houston, where she and Andrew live — for now.

“Both of us have a strong urge to move back home,” she said. “We’re looking for a house to buy in Indianapolis.”

I haven’t met Sarah, but I gather from her grandparents that people who have watched her grow up are not surprised at the kind of wedding she and Andrew have fashioned. Always a kid who wanted to help the less fortunate, Sarah vowed in high school, after hearing a Peace Corps volunteer speak, that she, too, would join the corps.

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