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When Dominic T. Telesco and Patty A. Herbst were preparing for their wedding, Patty’s daughter, Erin Culligan-Gagen, offered her own wedding dress for the occasion. She knew how much her mother liked it – when they first selected the dress, Patty recalled, “I think I liked it more than she did at first.”

Still, Patty was hesitant about this reversal of tradition.

“I felt like it was [Erin’s] and thought that it was special and should remain hers,” Patty said. But as the mother and daughter kept searching for something new, nothing compared to that taffeta A-line dress from Erin’s big day four years ago.

So when the Telescos married on June 1 in the Orchard Park Country Club, the dress returned to the altar – fitting Patty perfectly, but with the train now removed, to make things simpler. The dress’s second appearance was supposed to be a secret among the couple and a few family members, but once the word got out, “everyone talked about it,” Patty said.

“We didn’t think it would be a conversation topic,” Dominic added. “But it was on top of the conversation that night.” When Patty’s daughter toasted to the second-time newlyweds, she capitalized on those conversations with her opening joke: “Looks like my little girl is all grown up.”

The bride is the daughter of Edward J. and Mary E. Herbst from Buffalo. She graduated from Mount Mercy Academy and D’Youville College, where she studied nursing. She recently retired as the director of nursing at the New York State Veterans’ Home at Batavia. She has two sons and a daughter, and four grandchildren.

The groom is the son of Caine J. and Lena Telesco from Buffalo. He is a graduate of South Park High School and Trine University (formerly Tri-State University) in Indiana, where he studied accounting. He is a retired guidance counselor at Lake Shore Central High School in Angola. He has a son and daughter, and six grandchildren.

Dominic and Patty were already in their own marriages when they were introduced at a party almost 30 years ago. Through their network of mutual friends, they occasionally saw each other over the years – at weddings, usually. But it took decades before they finally talked to each other, and it wasn’t until late 2010, when each of them was single again, that a friend finally convinced Dominic to ask for a date.

Their first date was at Jack Devine’s, an Irish pub near Ralph Wilson Stadium. Patty chose a relatively obscure, unromantic location in case the long-awaited date was a disaster.

“We didn’t think we’d see anybody we knew,” she said. “If it didn’t work out, nobody would know but the two of us. It’d be our little secret.” But the two ended up talking for hours that night, and realized that they could take their relationship beyond sports bars.

For their honeymoon, the couple will travel to Boston, Mass., and Bar Harbor, Maine. But they won’t be leaving their Hamburg home until the end of June, because they decided to stay here for as long as their respective children – all of whom live out of town, but are now joined into a new family – could spend time at home.

And what about the two-generation wedding dress? As of press time, it’s at the cleaners.

- Jason Silverstein