Milson Combined Church's fundraiser Brides Through the Ages featured 38 wedding and bridesmaids' frocks modelled.
Friday night's event was organised by church members after some visited Te Papa's recent wedding gown exhibition.
The oldest dress, too delicate to be worn, was a 1929 handkerchief-hem frock made of fine silk brocade with accordion-pleated silk chiffon insets in the front panel, that had been worn by bride Edith Ward of Christchurch.
Long fitted sleeves of silk chiffon had points extending over the back of the hand.
Handmade flowers, of ruched frock fabric, accented a low waist semi-fitted with handstitched exterior darts, and all the hems were finished with narrow satin bias bindings. Every gown had a story.
Organiser Anne Schnell's 1970 frock of heavy satin used parts of her mother's wedding dress.
"She was Betty Knudson, married in 1946. She cut the yoke from her frock and we used it on mine.''
The yoke was rows of flowers made of narrow satin bias tubes. The same flowers edged the hem of the frock, and the train. The floor-length wedding veil had been worn by three generations of the family.
Mrs Schnell said one slight difficulty had been finding models small enough to wear the dresses.\
Many young women today were bigger than their mothers at the same age; they were taller, had larger frames and were heavier through the bust and waist.
Rev Purdie said funds raised from the evening would go toward the church's work.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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