As a soon-to-be bride, I have been knee deep in wedding plans these last few months. I’m often faced with so many decisions that I don’t even know where to turn. That is why I was excited to learn about “Something Old, Something New: Wedding Dresses Through the Decades” at the Hancock County Historical Museum.
You might ask why that is. Well, there is something wonderful about finding out about all of these traditions from yesteryear and figuring out how to make a few of them your own. And that makes a few of these upcoming decisions I have to make just a bit easier.
The exhibit itself has dresses from real brides of the twentieth century with the accessories to match. And each dress has a description of the trends that were prevalent from that era. What surprised me was just how much societal pressures and historical events really affected just what a bride would wear.
Nowhere was that more prevalent than the bridal gown of Jean Margaret McGahey. Jean was married in the 1940s. That decade signaled the end of the Great Depression and ushered the world into World War II. That meant rationing and fewer funds for extravagances like wedding dresses. The styles were made to be classic with less flash and were many times made from fabric that was more likely to be used on furnishings. Basically, money-saving tactics were heavily in place. And no surprise to me, it was one of my favorites. It is a dress that would be at home in any decade and would make any bride feel special. Just further proof that sometimes a costly dress is not the most beautiful.
Another decade that struck me was the 1950s. After the wartime rationing, women began embracing more feminine designs with a shorter hemline. It was the decade of frills, and I kind of loved that too. With the appearance of sweetheart necklines and bolero jackets, I felt at home. After all, my own dress is heavily inspired by this decade. And Patricia Gail Maine’s dress that is on display speaks to me of Jackie Kennedy and the feeling of American royalty from that decade.
There were many other dresses representing other decades, and they are all special for their own reasons.
This exhibit is a must-stop on your Findlay journey. It will be at the Hancock County Historical Museum until July 3, and the cost of admission is free for members and $5 for non-members.