• Pink 'American Brides' graphic with photo of five white historic dresses

    American Brides: Inspiration and Ingenuity
    The Greater Denton Arts Council's Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Arts
    June 28-Oct. 24, 2014

  • White gallery with several rows of contemporary wedding dresses on mannequins

    Meadows Gallery

  • Exhibition label with text about Victorian wedding traditions
  • By the early 1960s, breaking with tradition was the order of the day. American youth began to voice their opinions and throw off the yoke of their parents' wishes about many things, especially in what they chose to wear. The mini-dress symbolized freedom for women to make their own choices in life and to go against convention. The 1970s flourished with homemade, prairie-style dresses that represented a bride's individual personality.

    Today's American bride is free to express her personal taste with a desire for high fashion, Hollywood-style glamour, or to draw inspiration from a royal wedding. Brides may wear a symbolic family heirloom combined with current fashion trends and themes. While the white wedding gown remains the popular choice for brides today, there are many new wedding customs to contemplate in the 21st century. 

  • Pink text 1844 with two photos of an 1840s white wedding dress on mannequin

    c.1844: A wedding gown of cream silk satin with fan pleated yoke and fitted bodice and a full gathered skirt.
    Courtesy of Steven Porterfield

  • Three photos of white wedding dresses on mannequins dated 1878, 1874, 1880

    c.1878: A wedding gown, left top, of ecru silk satin, with a cuirassed-bodice trimmed with lace and ribbons; skirt features an asymmetrical draped front with piccadil tabbed hem and a long train.

    c. 1880: A wedding dress, left bottom, of ecru silk damask with a floral motif, the bodice has covered buttons with a piccadil-scalloped hem. The skirt is composed of draped panel overlays on top of rows of pleated ruffles in front, back is a high bustle with a polonaise-style train.

    1874: A wedding gown, right, of off-white silk with gathered front panel trimmed in lace; skirt has draped side panels with a long train.

    Images courtesy of Steven Porterfield

  • 1993 white embroidered wedding dress on mannequin next to 1878 purple wedding dress

    1993: A wedding gown, left, designed by Victor Costa, is made of cream silk faille with embroidered floral motif in a historical style inspired by late 19th-century styles. The bodice has long sleeves and a high choker collar with a full skirt and lace underskirt. This dress was worn by Camilla Codrington on her marriage to Count de Rochambeau at Cawdor Village Church, Inverness, Scotland, on May 29, 1993.
    Gift of Camilla de Rochambeau

    1878: Day dress, right, originally worn as a wedding dress, of plum silk satin trimmed with purple cut velvet in a floral motif; boned bodice features a velvet yoke inset and an attached skirt that has a draped satin front with two asymmetrical velvet panels and a long ruffled train.
    Gift of Mrs. Abraham J. Asche

  • 1912 white wedding dress, full garment on mannequin and two beading details

    A wedding gown of ivory silk satin trimmed with Chantilly lace with a draped bodice and beaded corsage, draped panel skirt with inset, long train attached at the waist.
    Gift of Mrs. Margaret Baker, from the Estate of Mrs. Tom Braniff

  • Two white 1920s wedding dresses on white mannequins

    c. 1920: Wedding dress, left, made of off-white net and machine-embroidered lace and piping on bodice, peplum, and full ankle-length skirt.
    Gift of Neiman Marcus

    c. 1925: Wedding dress, right, of cream silk chiffon crepe, metallic lace, silver and crystal bugle beads.
    Gift of Mrs. William Tobian

  • Two white wedding dresses dated 1912 and 1934 on mannequins on platform

    c.1912: left

    c. 1934: Wedding dress, right, of ivory silk satin with v-neckline, midriff of ruched satin in a large diamond pattern, and full-length bias-cut skirt and train.
    Anonymous Donor

  • White wedding dress with lace overlay and long veil against grey backdrop

    1936: This wedding gown designed by Edward Molyneux is made of candlelight silk satin, consisting of a sleeveless underdress with braided trim, over which is a full-length lace tunic and train. Worn by Bertha Marie Masur of Monroe Louisiana.
    Gift of Mrs. Jacqueline Masur McElhaney

  • Four contemporary wedding dresses in white gallery on white mannequins

    2011: A wedding gown designed by Chelsea Bell is made of pale rose silk taffeta in a strapless sheath-style dress with a full, gathered skirt below the knee and fabric floral embellishments at right shoulder and lower skirt. Chelsea Creech married Brian Bell in an outdoor ceremony near Austin, Texas. Several designs by Ines di Santo inspired her to create her dream wedding gown.
    Courtesy of Chelsea Bell

    c. 2007: A dress and jacket designed by Janie Stidham are made of oyster-white silk with bead and feather embellishment. Custom designed for Lari Gibbons, this dress is titled “Arctic Bliss.” Gibbons was married in Alaska and wanted a dress that expressed the Alaskan climate. With this in mind, Janie Stidham chose a cool gray satin embellished with bead trim to reflect light.
    Courtesy of Lari Gibbons

    1994: Designed by Victor Costa, this wedding gown designed is made of white silk satin with a sleeveless bodice in piped-satin rows and a cone-shaped skirt of geometric cut-outs. Worn by Patricia Barlerin Farman-Farmaian at her wedding to Prince Alexander Farman-Farmaian. Oct. 1, 1994, at St. James Episcopal Church, Madison Ave., New York City. Inspired by an Italian gown the bride saw, she and Costa kept it secret from everyone — including the mother of the bride — until the wedding.
    Gift of Patricia M. Patterson

    2011: Designed by Zigwai Remy Odukomaiya, this wedding gown is made of white Duchess silk, silk gauze, and dupioni silk embellished with hand-coiled medallion appliques on the bodice, with a full gathered skirt. The title of this dress is “Bliss.” Zigwai Remy Odukomaiya crafted the coils of fabric using traditional Nigerian Basket-making techniques as her inspiration.
    Courtesy of Zigwai Remy Odukomaiya

  • Two photos of white wedding dress with puffed sleeves and full skirt  on dressform

    Designed by Winn Morton; Made in New York by Jon Rager of Michael-Jon Costumes. Custom wedding dress of silk taffeta. Bodice with high collar and lace net inset with a ruffle yoke and large puffed sleeves trimmed in a deep ruffle hem; pleated waistband and train. This dress, inspired by Princess Diana’s wedding gown, was described by the bride as her “dream wedding gown.”
    Courtesy of Martha Wyly Miller

  • Exhibition label with text about brides breaking with tradition

    Breaking with Tradition

  • White gallery with four platforms featuring unconventional wedding dresses

    Gough Gallery

  • Yellow lace dress from 1972 and 2009 white dress with navy blue cropped jacket

    2009: Designed by Matthew Earnest, this wedding dress of white jersey knit has inverted pleats at the midriff and a navy linen faille Spencer-style jacket. Worn by Allison V. Smith, granddaughter of Stanley Marcus, at her wedding to Barry Whistler in August 2009. Smith worked closely with Matthew Earnest on a full-length dress for the ceremony in Rockport, Maine. The dress was then altered by the designer, who cut off the dress below the knew, transforming it for the reception.
    Courtesy of Allison V. Smith

  • Three 1970s prairie-style wedding dresses on dressforms in white gallery

    1974: This two-piece wedding dress is made of embroidered eyelet cotton; bodice with a soft tie collar, long sleeves, and a full pleated skirt. The dress was made from a Vogue Pattern by a neighbor, Evelyn Manning. Worn by Myra Walker in an outdoor ceremony in Germantown, Tenn., on Aug. 10, 1974.
    Gift of Myra Walker

    1972: Wedding dress of purple calico cotton in a floral motif. This dress was made from a Folkwear Pattern by the donor’s college roommate, Jane, in 1972.  Worn by Nancy Walkup during her ceremony at a Mission Church on an Indian Reservation.
    Gift of Nancy Walkup

    1977: Designed by Jessica McClintock. Wedding dress of ivory cotton with lace details, scoop neckline, long sleeves with cuffs and a wide band at empire waistline. Worn by Janelle McCabe at her wedding on April 29, 1977. McCabe chose a Gunne Sax dress because it was a popular brand at the time.
    Courtesy of Janelle McCabe

  • American Brides graphic and photo of pink flowers and cake on table at event

    Finale