Exhibit: Wedding gowns in the movies at Biltmore House in North Carolina
Wedding gowns worn in some iconic movies, along with bridal memorabilia from the Vanderbilt family, are on exhibit at Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C.
“Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film,” a showcase of award-winning gowns and costumes, continues through July 4 in what is known as America’s largest house, completed in 1895 for George Vanderbilt.
The stage is set with draping and silk roses over the front door and a 6-foot-tall wedding cake in the entry hall. Displayed throughout are more than 40 wedding gowns from 19 classic films set in the years 1645 to 1935, including the Jane Austen romances of “Sense and Sensibility,” “Emma” and “Pride and Prejudice.”
Five costumes from “The Duchess,” featuring the wedding gown worn by actress Keira Knightly and the wedding suit worn by actor Ralph Fiennes, are on display in the Banquet Hall. To reflect the film’s English Rococco era, flowers and ribbons in hues of peach, cream, light blue and orange cascade from the room’s chandeliers.
Showcased in the library is the wedding dress worn by actress Helena Bonham Carter in “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” And the gown worn by Julie Christie as Queen Gertrude in “Hamlet” is on display in Edith Vanderbilt's bedroom.
Elaborate flower arrangements complement each wedding dress in the exhibition, which continues in the estate's Biltmore Legacy building with a focus on Vanderbilt family wedding fashion. Stories are shared about George and Edith Vanderbilt's courtship, wedding in 1898 and their Biltmore homecoming after a four-month honeymoon.
The exhibition also offers a closer look at Cornelia Vanderbilt's wedding to John Cecil in 1924. Although Cornelia's original wedding gown and veil worn by her mother Edith are not in the Biltmore's collection, both have been recreated from photographs and notes.
Another highlight is the wedding veil worn by Mary Lee Ryan in her marriage to William A.V. Cecil, grandson of George Vanderbilt and Biltmore's current owner. This family heirloom was also worn by Mrs. Cecil's cousin Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy when she married John F. Kennedy.
The exhibition is included in the estate’s general admission ticket price.