The fashion for wearing a white wedding dress began after Queen Victoria wore a white dress at her wedding to Albert in 1840. However, in the case of this pioneering woman “Mary” who married in the Albany area in 1880, the fashion of England and Europe possibly felt rather distant, expensive and impractical. This was the bride’s “best dress” rather than a one-off wedding dress. Perhaps the cream edging to the drapes of the bustle was the extent to which “Mary” could accommodate the dictates of fashion. The size of the dress suggests that the bride was short and petite, possibly young. Marriage would have been a milestone event for a young woman in 1880. It not only changed her status, but also opened her life to the joys and sadnesses of childbirth, to caring for her husband and children, and no doubt to hard physical work as well. Her bridal dress would continue to have been worn for best occasions for as long as possible.

Available at:

Wesley Wedding Gown Collection

a unique collection of historical textiles

The Collection of Bridal Dresses and Historical Clothes is housed in a hall behind the historic buildings of the Wesley Church, the Church Hall and the Manse. Couples have been married here since 1863...


12 Duke Street
Albany WA 6330

Open Hours

Tues, Wed & Thurs 9am - 11am. Entry cost is a gold coin.

More from the Wesley Wedding Gown Collection

“Aunty Lenny was a lady in the real sense of the word. She was such an elegant, quietly spoken woman, who always looked immaculate” says Judy McKechnie, the Collection’s curator, as she remembers her...

The 1981 wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Lady Diana Spencer set a new benchmark in wedding style. Diana’s ivory silk taffeta gown was designed by London designers, David and Elizabeth Emmanuel...

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