I always cry at weddings (research projects)

by Erin on April 14, 2009

V&A wedding site

(Photo by lovedaylemon, used by permission)

Gail at the V&A emailed me to say that the museum is organi[s|z]ing a new exhibition on wedding fashion for 2011, and they need some help in creating a very large database of wedding fashions. They're looking for photographs of clothes worn for weddings from all cultures between 1840 and the present (and by "weddings," they include civil partnerships, yay).

You can upload up to three photographs from any wedding and the V&A would like the emphasis to be on the fashion (although they already have some lovely pictures of flowers and cakes).

Their only stipulation is that the couple should be named and the date of the wedding should be included. There are also some optional fields, such as location, religion of ceremony, and dressmaker/designer. The V&A would love to see some handmade dresses added!

I think this is a fantastic project (and I hope to be able to upload some photos myself)! Check it out here!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa April 14, 2009 at 8:39 am

Awesome. I’m goign to try to up load my Grandparents, parents and my photo.


Anonymous April 14, 2009 at 9:01 am

(and by “weddings,” they include civil partnerships, yay).Yay? That doesn’t sound very enthusiastic. Come on, let’s give it up for gay marriage worldwide!


Ann V. April 14, 2009 at 9:49 am

I LOVE wedding dress history! Even though they rarely represent what people actually wore on a day-to-day basis, wedding dresses reflect prevailing attitudes (cultural, social and fashion) of the day. And, because it is an artifact, these dresses are saved and protected.


Anonymous April 14, 2009 at 10:30 am

the link does not work for me.


theresa April 14, 2009 at 10:48 am

anonymous – click the picture it will take you there.


Renee April 14, 2009 at 11:23 am

I will upload pics of both my parents and myself – handmade dresses all around.I have a soft spot for weddings – though not the over the top mega affair that has come to be in style. I’m for the hand done, self organized event where the couple actually knows all of the attendees, and will likely see them again after the party’s over. Bridesmaids – limit of two – in dresses that won’t go into the dark recesses of the closet. Uh-oh, sorry about that, I’ll get off the platform now. I can’t wait to see the finished project.


paisleyapron April 14, 2009 at 11:23 am

What a fantastic idea! Handmade dresses? Sure, I can post mine, my mother’s, and my grandmother’s. It’s nice to be a part of such a project.


Cookie April 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Wow. I had just brought in my grandparents’ wedding photo to scan at work today! I have a question: If a 1933 wedding dress doesn’t have a label, does that imply it was either custom or home made?


oracle April 14, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Link not working for me, either.


Erin April 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Fixed now! Sorry, I thought I’d fixed it earlier, but it didn’t “take”.Thanks!


Shrinky Inky April 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Thanks fot this! I love vintage wedding photos! I uploaded a photo of my grandparent’s 1937 wedding and also my own 2003 Halloween wedding. I have a beautiful wedding gift from a friend that is a collection of vintage wedding photos she spent a year collecting for us – and she left space for three of our own pictures in the multi-picture frame. It’s one of our treasures!


joni April 14, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Awesome site – I have bookmarked it. My favorite so far is the polka-dot bride:http://www.vam.ac.uk/things-to-do/wedding-fashion/320Although I’m also partial to the striped bride.http://www.vam.ac.uk/things-to-do/wedding-fashion/204


indigotangerine April 14, 2009 at 7:03 pm

I always love vintage wedding photos. Not only are the dresses divine, but the couples look so much more relaxed. now a days, people make too big of a deal out of weddings, and the photos feel forced and stiffed.-indigo


Barbara Prime April 14, 2009 at 8:23 pm

I added photos from my wedding. I had a very special dress for my wedding – my godmother’s wedding dress, which she had made in the early 1950’s. It was sewn from silver silk brocade with an orchid pattern. Fabric she brought back from Japan on one of her trips there as a stewardess. It was a struggle to fit into, as I couldn’t find any undergarments for tiny people like and me! http://www.flickr.com/photos/mricon/1465804664/


Jules April 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Sounds interesting..;DThat was a great idea.


lsaspacey April 14, 2009 at 10:20 pm

As soon as I saw this I knew I had to get my friends wedding included. She wore a periwinkle and seafoam tulle bridesmaid dress with handmade wings inspired by the movie Ever After. Her page is here.


scarabee April 14, 2009 at 11:03 pm

I’m still getting a 404 on the text link, Erin. :(


Pinup Dresses April 14, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I love this idea! It’s perfect timing too.I’m having a 2010 wedding and will be incorporating vintage wedding photos in my centerpieces.


La BellaDonna April 15, 2009 at 8:28 am

OOhh. If I can a) find the album and b) someone to scan it for me, I will defnitely send in the outfits I made for my full-blown Cavalier wedding! Swords, lace, and ostrich plumes abound!


anniebelle April 15, 2009 at 8:36 am

I wonder if Gunny Sax gowns (what I wore) really do count as wedding gowns? LOL, any way we were married at the court house in 1984 and had our church wedding (renewing our vows) in 1989. So I guess I should be more concerned with whether a renewal would be accepted then the type of gown it’s self.Nancy


Cassi April 15, 2009 at 9:26 am

I love old black and white photos. Am just putting together a selection of family wedding photos through the decades…need one more from my sister! The bride is so beautiful here in classic wedding gown and veil. Gorgeous.


La BellaDonna April 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Anniebelle, if you got married in it, it counts! Thats all it takes for something to be a wedding dress – getting married in it. I wandered into a thrift shop and stroked a pretty skirt, thinking, How Gunne Sax! Well, turned out it WAS a Gunne Sax skirt! I loved Gunne Sax clothes – loved them then, loved them still, and am STILL hoarding a couple of Gunne Sax patterns, which I intend to make up – some day!OH! I can upload my sister-in-laws dress! Shes more scanner-ept than I am, and I did make her dress, too! scurries off to find pictures of SILs dress


La BellaDonna April 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm

And is it wrong that I actually recognized the VERY FIRST PICTURE that turned up when I clicked on the website???


Sewing Siren April 16, 2009 at 7:08 am

What an interesting project. I made my gown and also the grooms vest. I should submit our picture for the project.I agree with fabricgirl about the charm of smaller weddings. The whole wedding industry really took off in the mid 80’s when everyone thought they had to copy Prince Charles and Lady Di ( and look how that turned out).


Gail Durbin April 16, 2009 at 7:39 am

This is a wonderful thread. I am so pleased you find this an interesting project. Please go ahead and upload all the images you have mentioned. We have had some really interesting contributions right back to 1864 already. And yes, I agree with La BellaDonna, whatever you wore when you got married is a wedding dress. In a way the whole point of the site is to show diversity and variation. I look forward to some of the vintage photographs too. Keep them coming. Thank you very much.


Anonymous April 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm

you are hilarious. thanks for making me laugh.


Jen ~ MOMSPatterns April 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Mom Dad are officially on there under 1962 now, and my mom just called COMPLETELY panicking that shes going to become some strange internet star now. lol! Shes so silly. :)


Sewing Siren April 17, 2009 at 7:34 am

Barbara Prime, You should ask permission of your godmother to post her wedding picture , with her wearing the same gown you wore. I think that is the type of thing they are looking for.Isaspacey, your friend’s wedding looks absolutely charming. Is that you in the bridesmaid line?Shrinky Inky, The picture of your veil blowing is very cool. And your grandparents picture is quite elegant.Jen- If your mom is wearing the brocade gown with fur trim she is very likely to end up a huge internet star. Hotness!!


Melissa April 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

I’m the proud owner of two Gunne Sax dresses. They’ve seen a lot of wear in the community theater!I think there have only been three or four non-elopement weddings in the history of my family. My mother made her own wedding dress, but then she wore it to the office the following Monday morning.


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