Story: Marriage and partnering

Wedding fashions, 1890s to 1950s

Wedding dress fashion changed from one decade to the next. The tight bodice typical of the late 19th century gave way to a fuller, rounded look and a more flowing skirt in the early 20th century. Hems began to lift in the 1910s, and in the 1920s veils were often worn low on the forehead. In the 1930s Hollywood movies encouraged a sleeker, more glamorous look. Brides in the 1940s were far more restrained, often choosing streetwear. Once post-war rationing eased, bridal wear was back, with fuller skirts and generous veils. In contrast, menswear remained relatively static. Although the photos shown here span several decades, the grooms shown up to the 1940s are almost interchangeable.

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Private collection, Fran McGowan

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Marriage and partnering - The big day', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 July 2024)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 May 2017