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  • Writer's pictureEvie West

Review : Celebrating Bridal Style exhibition - Rotherfield, East Sussex

I was lucky enough to have attended a fabulous exhibition at a local church where they were showing wedding dresses through the ages. There were so many different dresses it honestly was amazing! When I chose to go along with my mum (another wedding dress obsessed individual) I thought that there would be a few images of different dresses, but I was so impressed with how well put together the exhibition was. All of the dresses were supplied by people who lived in Rotherfield, or were married in the church, which made it all the more special.

historic wedding dress, Victorian wedding dress, bridal fashion
Wedding Dress circa 1881

In this blog post I'm going to share some pictures of my favourite dresses and tell you a little bit about them. But first of all, a little bit of history about the wedding dress itself; it was actually Queen Victoria who first wore a white wedding dress. Before she married Prince Albert in 1840, most brides simply wore their best dress on their wedding day; quite often they would choose to wear a blue gown as blue was a sign of purity. Victoria, however, chose to wear white and that soon became the colour of choice for brides all across the country; with white becoming the symbol of purity and wealth. Victoria also requested that only her bridesmaids wore white - starting the tradition of Royal Bridesmaids being dressed in white, as well as guests having to avoid the colour.


I'm going to tell you a little bit about each dress and then show you pictures below so that you can see the gorgeous dresses in all their glory!


1910, 1937, 1962 and 1998 - one of the dresses at the exhibition had been passed down through the family and had in fact been worn by 4 generations. I love the covered buttons and the detail around the neckline.


1964 - a velvet bridal gown. It was made for the bride by a client of hers, it's made with French velvet and dropped pearls.


1978 - the beautiful dress was made by the bride herself. It has a high collar, puff sleeves and a lace over dress.


1987 - a typical 1980s gown with a natural waist, long pointy sleeves, lace and sparkles. I love the pearl details on the sleeves and veil.


1990 - this dress was made of Thai oyster silk and like most of the other gowns on display, it has a small blue bow sewn inside as the 'something blue'.


1991 - I had to include this, not only was it from my year of birth, but I also loved the clusters of pearls. It has a natural waist and full skirt - skirts were beginning to slim down.


2005 - I loved the unusual colour of this gown and the shawl that matches. It's a strapless gown with boning - mirroring the corsetry of the Victorian gowns.



Wedding dress, family dress, bridal gown
Four Generations

Bridal gown, wedding dress, 60s gown, fashion
1964 Gown

wedding dress, bespoke dress, bridal gown
1978 Bridal Dress

80s fashion, Bridal gown, wedding dress
1987 Wedding Dress

wedding dress, 90s bride, bridal fashion
1990 Wedding Dress

Wedding dress, pearls, puff-sleeves
1991 Bridal Gown

Bride's dress, wedding dress, bridal gown
2005 Bridal Outfit

I hope that you have enjoyed looking at these wedding dresses as much as I have! It was a fantastic exhibition put on at St Denys' Church, Rotherfield - they did an amazing job and these few dresses are a tiny example of the selection which was on display. The dresses were beautifully presented and you walked through the church on a journey through the ages; starting right back in the 1800s, and ending up with dresses from brides who were married there this very summer!


Photos taken by me - with kind permission of the organisers of 'Celebrating Bridal Style at St Denys' Church'



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