‘I Thee Wed’ displays trends in weddings

Published 8:44 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2019

By Rachel Wartian


The Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society this summer is hosting an exhibit of wedding memorabilia from throughout the ages called “I Thee Wed.”

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The historical society received donations for this exhibit representing different cultures and decades.

“We do these displays so the public can see what we have and enjoy it,” said Kimberly Blair Greene, the executive director of the historical society.

On display are wedding dresses from numerous decades. These are dresses that are dated from 1900 to 2017. Some of the dresses on display are believed to be from the late 1800s, but there is no research yet to officially date them. Each dress is in great condition with a greater story to tell.

Also on display is a selection of bridal portraits. Hamblin Studios, which did most of the portraits, was located on Pinner Street in Suffolk. These portraits date to 1932.

One of the most notable displays in the collection is from France. Odile Baderspach donated family wedding pictures from the years 1910 to 1920. These photographs were taken on the French countryside. Included in the display are French postcard wedding announcements. It was a common tradition to send a postcard of a risqué picture of the couple for their announcement — a practice not seen in American history.

Other displays include a collection of items such as gloves, jewelry, shoes, nylons and a cake topper. All items are in good condition and show how much has changed over the years.

“I love to see the nostalgia of some of the people who come to view our collections,” said Greene.

This collection was made possible by people including board member Hazel White, Sandra Leggett Wilson of Array Events, archivist Debra Smith and researcher Chris Claud.

This exhibit goes through Sept. 2 and is located at the Philips-Dawson House, 137 Bank St. The society’s next display will feature toys and will run through the holiday season.