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A history of Liverpool weddings at Sudley House

Brides dresses from weddings held by Liverpool's varied communities are displayed at Sudley House

From the elegant white silk of the 19th century to the more outlandish outfits of the present day an exhibition at Sudley House looks at wedding outfits through the ages.

Hitched: Wedding Clothes and Customs examines the changing styles of Liverpool weddings over 150 years.

Each garment, from different communities across Liverpool, is accompanied by information about its owner and where they were married.

The display is open until Spring 2011.

Featuring around 20 dresses and accessories the exhibition looks at the many varied traditions of weddings including food served, transport used and of course the traditional stag and hen nights.

Wedding dress
The dresses at Sudley House show the changing fashion of weddings

The exhibition includes items from National Museums Liverpool's own collections as well as private loans to cover 150 years of weddings from the Victorian era to the 21st century.

"Despite the number of people getting married actually falling, the average cost of weddings continues to rise and now stands at almost £20,000," National Museums Liverpool Curator of costume and textiles, Pauline Rushton said.

"This tells us something about the importance still placed on an institution which has been part of our society for thousands of years."

A glass beaded silk crepe-de-chine wedding dress from the 1920s features alongside a beaded and sequined red satin wedding dress worn by a bride from Liverpool's Chinese community in 1966, and a 2010 crystal beaded wedding dress of a bride from Liverpool's Traveller community.

Sudley House also explores some of the superstitions and beliefs around weddings, including why the wedding ring is always worn on the third finger of the left hand.

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