Wedding Attire Exhibit

New Exhibition at the Museum

The Aurora Historical Society is excited to announce its latest exhibition on clothing, entitled Wedding Attire: Gowns & Formal Wear of Yesteryear. The exhibition features a variety of formal attire and accessories that people wore to and for weddings. The gowns featured are donations and reflect the style & beauty of wedding dresses. Some of the gowns are not what we would today consider wedding dresses because they are not white, however, the trend to wear a white dress on your wedding day did not become popular until 1840, when Queen Victoria marriage to Albert of Saxe-Coburg. She chose the color to accommodate some favorite lace she owned. As a result, many brides now wear white gowns on their wedding days.

The exhibition features more than just a few gowns. Also on display are wedding invitations from local Aurora families such as the Goulds, Harmons, Parsons, and Treats. They are from the late 1800s to early 1900s and are similar to ones we still send today! Men’s formal attire is represented by top hats and detachable collars. Women’s accessories include fancy hand-fans, purses, gloves, and wedding slippers.

An interesting newspaper clipping displayed announces “Aurora WAVE is Bride.” The November 14, 1945 article and photograph publicize the nuptials of “Miss June L. McCleary, Aurora, Becomes Bride of Army Officer.” McCleary married D.R. Gilkison after serving her country during World War II. WAVE is an acronym for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service,” and consisted of women who enlisted and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve during a time period when it was generally not socially acceptable for women to be in military service, except during times of extreme urgency.

In addition to the artifacts are some interesting wedding trivia that explains a number of the traditions we include in our wedding ceremonies, such as why the groom stands on the bride’s right, why we wear wedding bands on the fourth finger of our left hands, and fun traditions and superstitions from a variety of cultures.

We hope that you will visit the exhibition as well as donate photos (originals or scanned copies) of your or your family’s Aurora weddings. We also accept any Aurora related items, as well as artifacts relating to World War II, Sea World, Geauga Lake, Aurora Schools, etc.

A visit to the museum is free. We are open Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-4pm and by appointment Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11-3. For additional information or to donate artifacts, images, or to make a monetary contribution please call 330-995-3336 or email

Comments are closed.