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Jul 12

Bridesmaid Dresses from the 1950s

A couple weeks ago, while getting out my mom’s wedding gown and veil, I found three other formal dresses that she had saved. I didn’t know if my mom wore them to the prom or if she wore them in weddings.

With a little photo detective work, by looking at her sisters’ wedding photos, I was able to identify where she wore two of the fancy dresses.

It turns out they are bridesmaid dresses. My mom’s sister Esther married in 1951 and my mom was her maid of honor. My mom wore this pink dress. It has satin under the tulle.

Bridesmaid dress, worn by Florence (Schumm) Miller in Esther Schumm’s wedding, 1951.

Bridesmaids in Esther (Schumm) Krueckeberg’s wedding, 1951. Amy (Schumm) Boenker, Florence (Schumm) Miller, Phyllis (Gunsett) Dietrich.

Esther (Schumm) & Al Krueckeberg wedding party, 1951.

The mom’s sister Amy married in 1953 and my mom was also in her wedding, where she wore a blue dress. This dress has a short, sleeveless, lacy jacket and lacy lower arm coverings. There is a layer of satin under the lace.

Bridesmaid dress worn by Florence (Schumm) Miller in Amy Schumm’s wedding, 1953.

Bridesmaid dress (Amy’s wedding) with jacket and arm covering.

Amy (Schumm) & Herman Boenker wedding party, 1953.

The third dress is blue satin and likely a dress my mom wore in another wedding, but I am not sure whose wedding. Perhaps it was my aunt Kate’s wedding. Kate was my dad’s sister and was a bridesmaid in my parents’ wedding. The blue satin has discolored a little over the years, giving it an iridescent look.

Dress worn by Florence (Schumm) Miller in someone’s wedding.

All three bridesmaid dresses are the same size. I know this because I tried them on! These dresses are heavy and hot! Not dresses you want to play dress-up in on a hot July day. They are a little difficult to get into because they have a side zipper, under the arm. A back zipper, from the neck down, would have made them much easier to get into. However, I did get into them but I was not able to zip any of them up. I am bigger on the top than my mom was.

How styles have changed! I am sure these were the very latest styles in bridesmaid dresses at the time, but we had a good laugh when I modeled them for Joe. I looked a like cross between Bo-Peep and the Blue Bonnet girl in the blue satin dress. Needless to say, photos of me in the bridesmaid dresses have been deliberately omitted here.

My mom’s wedding gown has nice embellishments around the neck and little buttons going down the back. I imagine it was originally white but is more of an ivory-color now. The matching veil was first worn by my mom in 1950 and was also worn by both of her sisters in their weddings.  

Florence (Schumm) Miller, wedding photo, 1950.

Florence (Schumm) Miller wedding dress, 1950 wedding.

Florence (Schumm) Miller wedding dress & veil, 1950 wedding.

Florence (Schumm) wedding dress, 1950 wedding.

My mom was not the only one in her family who saved her wedding gown. Her sister Esther displayed her wedding dress at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 2001.

Esther (Schumm) wedding dress, Krueckeberg 50th Anniversary, 2001.

4 comments

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  1. Susie

    Karen, I have really enjoyed reading your posts with your wonderful photos of the wedding dresses and veil mom, your mom and Amy wore. Wonderful family history. Thank you. Susie

    1. Karen

      Thanks, Susie! It has been fun looking through the wedding items and matching them up with the photos. Now I just need to identify the attendants in all their weddings. Thanks for writing!

      1. Andy Gappa

        Karen,
        To possibly ID the attendants, check local newspapers from around the time of the weddings. Usually there was an article about the wedding, the parents, the attendants, the type of dress worn, and the honeymoon destination. I did that for a few of my great-aunts’ weddings and it helped out immensely.

        1. Karen

          Great suggestions, Andy, and it would be interesting to read the newspaper write-up about the weddings. I have the clipping of my parents’ wedding around here somewhere. Or, in the case of my aunts’ weddings, I could just ask them!

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