Creative ways Long Islanders preserve their sentimental items

When Eriella Dobry was born during the early days of the pandemic, her parents wanted her trip home from the hospital memorialized in a very special way.

“Our daughter was like a light that got us through a crazy time,” says Eriella’s mother, Breheney Dobry. So Breheney and her husband, Jason, had a shadow box made of Eriella’s “coming home” dress. The exhibit containers can preserve life-size items behind framed glass.

The Dobrys’ shadow box, created by Don’t Toss the Bouquet in Patchogue, sits on a shelf in their living room and includes a crown, preserved pink flowers given to Eriella by her maternal grandmother, and a wand with a note that reads, “10 little fingers and 10 little toes.”

The Huntington Station couple is just one of many Lomng Islanders finding new and creative ways to preserve mementos from important events such as births, baptisms, communions, graduations, weddings and anniversaries with the help of custom services available at local shops.

This shadow box incorporates several items from a wedding including...

This shadow box incorporates several items from a wedding including a photo of the couple, the bride’s bouquet and tiara, and the nuptials invitation.
Credit: Don’t Toss the Bouquet


Christa Morris, owner of Don’t Toss the Bouquet, says she specializes in creating shadow boxes and resin pieces to commemorate “life’s events that involve flowers.” She notes she can restore the look of flowers that are decades old.

“No matter how far those days go back for you, you can create something special on your timeline of life,” with a 3D keepsake rather than just a photograph or video, Morris says. “Resin is definitely a trend, and for a wedding, shadow boxes can fit the depth of cake toppers, toasting flutes, shoes …”

Wedding dresses can be framed alone too — something that’s done at Parthenon Framing & Printing in Medford.

This photograph taken with a Polaroid camera during a 1965...

This photograph taken with a Polaroid camera during a 1965 capping ceremony at the Huntington School of Practical Nursing, was made into a canvas print in early April of this year by Parthenon Framing & Printing in Medford.


Steve Rowland, of West Sayville, had his wife Ashley’s wedding dress framed, as a fifth anniversary present, by Parthenon, which also transforms photographs into canvas artwork.

“There are traditional gifts for every year and I try to stick to that — the fifth anniversary is wood — so the wood frame…,” Rowland says. “The dress was made by Ashley’s mother and grandmother so it’s a handmade heirloom. I wanted to do something special.”

The framed dress hangs in the Rowland’s bedroom, and it’s a gift that brings Ashley to tears as she talks about it.

Caitlin Henrriquez views her framed wedding gown at Parthenon Framing...

Caitlin Henrriquez views her framed wedding gown at Parthenon Framing and Printing in Medford.
Credit: Morgan Campbell

“He’s a hopeless romantic,” Ashley says. “I picked the fabric; my mother designed the dress and my grandmother sewed it.” She adds, “It had been in a closet — now, I wake up and it’s the first thing I see. It’s been turned into a beautiful piece of artwork.”

Caitlin Henrriquez, of Mastic Beach, had her wedding dress framed by Parthenon as well. She wore it for her Aug. 5, 2021, marriage to her husband, David.

“I had seen it done on Pinterest and liked the idea,” Henrriquez explains. “You spend so much money on a dress and then you wear it for just a few hours.” She says she plans to hang it in an upstairs hallway lined with photographs from the nuptials. “I want to see it every day as a reminder of our wedding.”

Ashley Hadjoglou, of Shoreham, went to Don’t Toss the Bouquet to have the memory preserved of the April 8, 2021, Communion of her 12-year-old daughter, Lily. Morris encased a gold cross in resin along with flowers from a corsage Lily wore on that day.

“It’s a small keepsake,” Hadjoglou says. “Christa suggested that to me — she did my grandfather’s funeral flowers a few years ago, preserving them by putting them into clear plastic ornaments.” Hadjoglou adds, “When we take them out every Christmas, he’s with us. I think it’s nice to have something you can hold and see rather than a photo on your phone, on a computer, or in an album that you put away.”

Things to know about framing, resin and canvas preservation, per the owners of Don’t Toss the Bouquet and Parthenon Framing & Printing:

Custom framing and shadow boxes — Almost anything can be framed, from complete outfits and sports team uniforms to particularly unusual objects such as car parts. Things made of fabric, such as wedding dresses, are typically professionally treated as part of the framing process to prevent discoloration and other damage.

Resin — This is a nice option for turning memories into either display or practical pieces. Keepsakes can be encapsulated in clear resin to create coasters, serving trays, cutting boards, paper weights, ring and candle holders, keychains and more.

Canvas — Any image can be printed on canvas, but the higher the resolution of the photograph the clearer the canvas version. The lower the resolution, the smaller you should make the print.