Niagara Gazette — When Josephine Santangelo was a little girl, brides were always in danger of tripping over her.
In those days, weddings were more of a family affair, and little children were usually welcome. She remembers being transfixed by the brides, always so beautiful in their fine white dresses.
“The minute the bride and groom would start to dance, there would be me, right behind the bride,” recalled Santangelo, owner of Tattler’s Lane Bridal Shop at 1519 Pine Ave. in Niagara Falls. “My mother would have to pull me away.”
Her fascination with brides has never left her.
“I just love brides,” said Santangelo, 89, whose bridal gown business is closing after 67 years.
The story of how her shop came to be presents the picture of a woman who knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life after meeting and marrying the man of her dreams. She wanted to open a bridal shop, which was quite an unusual thing for a woman to do in the late 1940s.
She and John had met at a wedding, of course. But, after their own nuptials, instead of a honeymoon, they took the $900 they’d received for wedding gifts and went to New York to meet with a wedding dress manufacturer.
“They looked at us like we were two little kids,” she recalled, sitting among the remnants of her little shop as she, her daughter and a niece were preparing for its final sale. “The owner said, ‘You’re both so young. Can you come back in about 10 years?’ “
Josephine was insulted by that. “I said, ‘We’re not going to listen to him.’ “
But then the manufacturer did something that saved her dream. He sent the newlyweds down the road to a place where they could buy wedding dresses off the rack.
“We were able to buy six gowns. We were so excited,” she remembered, a smile flashing across her face.