• Marriage of Stamatoula Raissis and George Pavlakison 11 July 1965 at Greek Orthodox Church of Holy Trinity, Surry Hills, NSW. (Museum of Applied Arts and Science/Powerhouse Museum)Source: Museum of Applied Arts and Science/Powerhouse Museum
What does 200 years of love, marriage and cultural diversity look like?
Shannon McKeogh

5 Jun 2017 - 1:38 PM  UPDATED 5 Jun 2017 - 1:40 PM

Here comes the bride …

And depending on her cultural heritage, influence of pop culture and personal style – she may not be wearing white at all.

An exploration into fashion from the past 200 years for love and commitment is currently on display for Love Is … Australian Wedding Fashion exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum), Sydney. Love stories are told through wedding outfits, accessories, letters and photographs – including the oldest known Australian wedding dress from 1822. 

According to curator Glynis Jones, the exhibition reveals significant social, economic and political changes in Australian society, as well as a growing culturally diverse community.

“This is a period in the history of marriage that we expect marriage for love. Before that most people saw marriage as an economic or political alliance,” she tells SBS.

“Now there is a lot of freedom to choose your own style to reflect your own cultural identity, or your subcultural identity on that occasion.”

“This is a period in the history of marriage that we expect marriage for love. Before that most people saw marriage as an economic or political alliance."

Greek migration and heritage 

Stamatoula Raissis immigrated to Sydney from the island of Kythera in 1960 during a peak period of migration to Australia from Greece. Following Greek family tradition, her father arranged her marriage to George Pavlakis (the couple are pictured in the traditional photo above). George’s family financed the wedding, honeymoon and home deposit. The bride’s family provided the dowry, which included household items.

Wedding crowns are an essential element of Greek Orthodox wedding custom. Known as stefana, the crowns are joined by a ribbon and exchanged between the bride and groom three times, signifying the union of the couple.

Princess bride meets Jewish tradition

“She will look like a princess when I’ve finished with her,” designer Lawrence Shiels said while making Jennifer Crook’s wedding dress. Drawing inspiration from Lady Di’s fairytale wedding in the 80s (which influenced wedding style for a decade) Shiels spent three months on the hand-beading and appliqué on the bodice.

Three days, seven events and six outfit changes in India

For their traditional Hindu wedding, Australian- Indian couple Sonia Bhuta and Asis Tewari chose a destination wedding at the spectacular Chundar Palace in Udaipur. The wedding ran over three days with seven events and six outfit changes, and the wedding ceremony occurred on the rooftop terrace on the third day. Sonia wore a dark red velvet Lehenga (long skirt) embroidered in gold thread and Asis wore a gold and cream Sherwani (long coat). 

Traditional Korean outfits for Paebaek

Since the 1940s, many Korean couples have moved away from traditional wedding styles, replacing them with Western customs and white wedding dresses. However, traditional wedding dresses are still worn for a special Paebaek (gift-offering ceremony held after the Western style ceremony). At the Paebaek, the bride greets the bridegroom’s family with special food.

Dressing up in Victorian Steampunk

“Both Kevin and I have a massive penchant for dressing up, so when we got engaged and started discussing wedding plans, it was a no brainer that the wedding would be themed! The brief to our guests was “anything from medieval through to Victorian Steampunk, “as long as they looked grand,” says Sonya Muller.

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