Cupid’s Corner has a very old addition to its wedding dress collection.
The bridal boutique, 2441 Eighth St. S., is presently home to an antique wedding dress that dates back to 1810, and Wisconsin Rapids residents are invited to take a look. The more than 200-year-old gown is one of eight antique wedding dresses currently on display at the boutique.
The store’s owner, Shirley Marquardt, started collecting the dresses, which date from 1810 to 1978, five years ago. All of the dresses are on loan from parties willing to part with their bridal gowns for a short period. The vintage apparel will be on display for the public to view until the end of 2014. There is no cost to view the dresses.
Several owners of the antique bridal gowns already have visited their dresses at Cupid’s Corner, and Marquardt said they’re gratified to see them on display.
“They’re proud to see their wedding dresses here,” Marquardt said. “Because, a lot of times, they think, ‘Oh it’s just put away in a box and nothing is ever going to happen to it.'”
Marquardt said the decision to start this dress collection stemmed from her interest in bridal fashion from the past. She said she started asking around the community about vintage bridal wear and received some enthusiastic responses, she said.
She received the oldest dress — which was originally made in Germany — from a man whose family passed down the dress from one generation to the next. The last person to have worn the 1810 bridal gown was the owner’s sister, at her 1970 wedding.
After studying the antique gowns, Marquardt said she noticed that older wedding apparel is more modest than today’s styles. A high neck collar, straight skirt and sleeves were common attributes of wedding dresses designed in the 19th and 20th centuries, Marquardt said.
“The more modern they are, the less sleeves they have,” Marquardt said.
Marquardt said many of the fashions and trends from past decades are “in” again today, such as brides wearing headbands instead of veils.
Included in Marquardt’s collection is the wedding dress of the store’s manager, Lorre Lynde. Lynde, who married in 1975, said she enjoys being able to admire the gown while working.
“I think in the ’70s that things weren’t made quite as nicely as far as the beautiful fabrics and laces (of older dresses),” said. “But it’s kind of fun to look at it every day.”