With the whole world abuzz about the up and coming royal wedding this month, it’s worth taking a look at wedding fashions of yesteryear.
The Moruya & District Historical Society has just produced a new booklet entitled “Wedding Fashions, Local Moruya Couples” by Shirley Jurmann, covering weddings that have taken place in our area over the years.
The booklet includes descriptions of the dresses worn and photographs where they are available.
For any historical super-sleuths out there, the booklet also includes unidentified wedding photographs in the society’s collection.
The earliest wedding details we have are from 1859. This wedding lacks a description of what was worn by the bride, but does give us an idea of attitudes of the time.
James McCauley of Currawang, Clyde River married Margaret Heffernan of Muckenderra (Moggendoura).
At the close of this ceremony the reverend celebrant congratulated the couple and then lectured them about the dangers and struggles of the world they were now entering, and how they should lead a virtuous life as taught to them by their parents.
The party then returned to Muckenderra to the home of the bride’s father, had a sumptuous meal and partied on until dawn.
In 1903, when Laura Dunne married Hugh McKenzie-Haig at the Sacred Heart Church in Moruya, she wore: “A handsome gown of soft cream silk, with deep shirred flounce, train pin-tucked, bodice with transparent yoke of tucked chiffon, elbow sleeve frills of chiffon, finished with lace and orange blossoms, a long tulle silk embroidered veil, coronet and trails of orange blossoms. A pretty effect was made by the veil being looped through the engagement ring.”
Along with the description of the wedding, the presents given were often also reported in the Moruya Examiner of the time.
In 1899 Alex Livingstone, master cheesemaker at Kiora, married Ada Trapp.
Along with the usual gifts, they received a pair of fowls, two ostrich feathers, a pair of brackets, a water bottle and darning wool and buttons. Shirley believes the darning wool and buttons were probably from the groom’s mother – possibly a generous hint about the duties expected of a new bride?
For wedding items in the Museum collection go to https://ehive.com/collections/5495/moruya-and-district-historical-society-museum and enter the term wedding in the search box.