The years the dresses came from ranged from 1781 through to 2014, so you can imagine the difference in the look of these dresses! Some dresses also had the shoes that were worn included in the display.
1781 Wedding dress and shoes worn by Lucy Nichols when she married Reverend Philo Shelton. The dress was a good choice as it could be worn for other special occasions and was easy to care for. The wedding was most likely a small family affair held in the home of the bride's parents, as was tradition at that time.
Annie McKie Frye wore this dress when she married Hanford Lyon around 1850. The invention of synthetic dyes allowed for bright colours and the railway facilitated the distribution of the sewing machine and fashion magazines, making such a dress fall into the price range of the middle class!
Queen Victoria made the white wedding dress popular and it has since become traditional to wear white. It is also tradition to wear something blue, have something old and something new. The blue was often the wedding garter which came into fashion in nineteenth-century England.
I hope you take the time to visit a local historical society near you and see what they have in their collection. It is especially fun to go with friends and enjoy a lunch or afternoon tea afterwards!