A Southampton bride-to-be will be reunited with her lost wedding dress after it flew off her car while she was driving to her wedding destination.
Jennifer Contini, 45, set off for her Ohio wedding on Friday and said her custom-made dress went missing during the road trip. She posted about it on Facebook and spoke to local media outlets, helping spread the story, while her friends and family searched for the dress in the location she believed it fell off the car’s roof.
Contini said she received an email early Thursday from a woman who said she knew where it was.
“It was through Facebook that my dress was found,” Contini said.
Southampton resident Aimee Clarke, 43, said she had just finished walking her dog at the beach along Noyac Road early Friday morning when she passed what appeared to be a wad of translucent pink material.
“It looked like a tutu, a girl’s pink tutu,” she said. “I thought it was bizarre, but drove away.”
Then, when Clarke passed by the same spot on the way to work a few hours later, she saw someone had hung it on a nearby fence, revealing that it was actually a white dress in a pink plastic bag. She didn’t think much of it until Wednesday night, when a friend shared a 27east story on Facebook about Contini’s search.
Everything clicked, Clarke said, and she headed back to the house where she’d last seen the dress hanging on a fence.
“I drove up this morning and the man came to the door and I said, ‘So sorry to bother you, but did you happen to find a dress?’ ” she said Thursday. “His eyes lit up.”
Contini said she had stopped to pick up her 14-year-old son in Southampton around 6 a.m. before heading to Ohio. She placed the dress bag on top of her Mini Cooper to make room for her son’s suitcase, but the dress never made it back inside.
“I don’t know what happened after that,” she said.
It wasn’t until Contini arrived in Ohio that she realized she was without her dress — a white gown with a V-neck, a slit and a bow on the back that her close friend Sara Nardi, of Southampton, helped make.
“She called me up in the afternoon and said ‘Sara, the dress is not in the car,’ ” Nardi, 52, recalled.
As Contini started to shop for a new dress in Ohio, the story of the missing dress spread on social media. But the message didn’t reach John Healey and his wife, who said they didn’t really use Facebook.
Healey, 53, a Southampton resident and gallery owner, said his wife had been driving to the gym early Friday morning and spotted the gown by the side of the road. She set it on a fence post, hoping whoever lost it would come back.
With rain in the forecast, Healey decided to bring the dress into the garage. The couple was planning to take it to Goodwill until Clarke showed up Thursday to confirm it was Contini’s dress. It’s now being shipped overnight to its owner.
Contini said she’s ecstatic that the dress was found before her wedding next month to her fiance, Steven Cunningham, 32. The ceremony will take place July 7 at a Dover, Ohio, winery near Cunningham’s home.
Contini, an artist whose work focuses on hearts, said the dress appears to be in relatively good condition, despite a few small tattered spots and a dark stain. She’s going to customize it even further with the help of her bridesmaids and paint it.
“I kept saying it was going to be a nontraditional wedding,” she said. “I had no idea it was going to be like this.”