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Four generations of wedding dresses

These four wedding dresses show how much fashion changed over the course of 70 years. All from one family, these dresses highlight the changing tastes of the times and the importance of wedding garments as family heirlooms.   

1913 – Marie Epp’s Dress
Marie Epp married John Fisher near Rosthern, Saskatchewan, in 1913. She had a double wedding with her sister, and they both wore matching dresses. Marie and John were married for 55 years.

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1943 – Alvera Fisher’s Dress
In 1943, John Fisher gave his daughter Alvera $20 to buy a dress for her wedding to Elmer Bartel. Alvera bought this dress for $14.95. She and Elmer were married in the Eigenheim Mennonite Church near Rosthern. They were married for 61 years.   

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1963 – Marilyn Bartel’s Dress
Alvera’s daughter Marilyn purchased this dress in Saskatoon in 1963 for her wedding to Allan Jensen. The dress cost about $100. The couple were married in Saskatoon on July 5, 1963. The couple were married for over 50 years.  

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1985 – Bonnie Jensen’s Dress
Marilyn’s daughter Bonnie purchased this dress for her wedding to Ron Thibodeau. The Bridallure brand lace wedding gown was purchased in Saskatoon in 1985, 72 years after her great-grandmother was married. 

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Alvera and Elmer Bartel wedding portrait, 1943. Click on image to enlarge

Marie and John Fisher wedding portrait, 1913. Click on image to enlarge

Changing Fashions
These four dresses show how wedding dress styles both changed and stayed the same in Saskatchewan over the course of 72 years. The consistent use of white and floor-length styles, and the changes in fabric and silhouette tell us about the changing fashions and values of the times. The simplified silhouette of the 1940s wartime gown compared to the opulent 1960s gown, during more prosperous times only 20 years later, hints at what life was like in these decades.

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