Belfast Telegraph

Century of bridal style on show as Derry cathedral hosts wedding festival

By Donna Deeney

A wedding festival featuring around 80 dresses from the 1900s onwards has got under way at St Columb's Cathedral in Londonderry.

Lady Christine Eames opened the event, which features the dress she wore when she married now retired Archbishop of Armagh Lord Robin Eames.

Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Ken Good's wife Mary has also donated her dress for the 10-day festival, but the majority of them have been lent by members of the congregation.

Beside the reams of silk, lace, frills and flounces that make up the dresses is a card detailing the cost of each of the gowns and where it was bought, reminding visitors that there is a story behind each of the exhibits.

Dean of Derry, Rev Raymond Stewart, said: "This is part of our fundraising efforts to renovate the Deanery and the idea of it came from one of our parishioners through a photographic exhibition.

"We have around 80 dresses in total and what we have tried to do is depict the entire wedding day. One of the dresses dates back to the 1920s, but there are examples from every decade.

"We have a 1927 vintage car in the cathedral porch, part of the Baptistery has been turned into the bride's bedroom, and the Chapter House has been decorated in the theme of a wedding breakfast.

"On this Saturday and on the following Saturday at 12.30 we are going to depict a wedding where we will have a 'bride' coming from the Deanery in Bishop Street with flower girls and we will explain the meaning behind each part of the ceremony."

Among the first visitors was Margaret Whitmore from Coventry. She said: "We were certainly not expecting to see this incredible exhibition.

"We arrived in Derry on Tuesday and I had researched the history of the city before we came so I knew the two cathedrals were worth visiting, but I am so pleased we are here to see all these beautiful dresses."

Belfast Telegraph

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