Southern Lady Magazine

Wondrous Wedding Gowns at Biltmore Estate

Love is in the air this time of year! Celebrate wedding season with a visit to Biltmore Estate, where a special exhibit of bridal gowns is sure to make you swoon.

We love wedding season for more reasons than we can count—and chief among them is getting an up-close peek at so many gorgeous dresses. From tulle to taffeta and ruching to rosettes, we never tire of marveling over the intricate details that make each gown as unique as the bride who wears it.

Biltmore Wondrous Wedding Gown Designer

We were excited to learn that Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, would be hosting an exhibit themed around wedding gowns from the big screen. Now underway and open through midsummer, Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film features nearly four dozen spectacular dresses from beloved films such as Sense and Sensibility and Middlemarch. As a bonus, the Biltmore floral team has painstakingly crafted companion arrangements to suit the style and era of the different gowns—we can almost smell the heady fragrance of all those blooms.
 
One of our favorite displays is the replicas of the gown and veil that Cornelia Vanderbilt wore for her wedding to John Francis Amherst Cecil in 1924. It was the royal wedding of its day, creating every bit as much excitement as the marriages of Prince Charles to Princess Diana and Prince William to Kate Middleton. British costumier John Bright, whose company, Cosprop, fashioned elaborate period ensembles for Downton Abbey, spearheaded the garments’ reconstruction. Since the original gown and veil aren’t in the Biltmore collection, John and his talented team relied on photographs, newspaper clippings, and other documentation to bring the replicas to life. The new gown and veil are virtual duplicates of the originals—what an incredible feat of design and detailing!   

The latest issue of our sister magazine, Classic Sewing, has much more in-depth information about the bridal ensemble and its elaborate construction. If you have a passion both for sewing and wedding attire, you’ll enjoy leafing through its beautiful pages.