The DAR Museum has an impressive collection of wedding attire, including wedding dresses worn by three generations of one Philadelphia family. On Mary Emma Funk Radcliffe’s wedding day in 1882, she wore a white satin bustle skirt and bodice (left). Wearing white for your wedding didn’t become a common cultural ideal in America
until the second half of the 19th century. Queen Victoria of England was credited with setting the style for white, but white had already become the custom for bridal attire among the English aristocracy in the 18th century.
Mary Emma’s daughter, Sarah Cunningham Radcliffe MacKay, reflected the fashion of the time in her 1914 dress and veil (center). The 1942 white rayon satin dress worn by Jean Radcliffe MacKay Christie was accompanied by a veil and “Juliet cap” made with lace taken from her mother’s 1914 wedding dress. The recycling of dresses and veils was a common practice then, and many brides today still enjoy adopting family heirlooms into their own wedding attire.
The dresses were the gift of Mr. James W. Christie III, Mr. Stuart R. Christie and Mr. John M. Christie.
American Spirit, Volume 141, No. 3, May/June 2007, Page 15
Photo by Mark Gulezian/QuickSilver