Big sister’s ‘big day’ remembered

Storing pristine white wedding dresses in unsuitable places for more than half a century can leave them looking a bit like a Jackson Pollock painting.

But Rosalie Young (nee Hill) said kneeling over a bath tub, scrubbing her late sister’s 70-year-old wedding dress in NapiSan, made a world of difference.

The dress belonged to Daphne Hill when she married Donald McIver in 1952, at All Saints Church in Dunedin.

Rosalie Young admires a photo of herself (right) as a 3-year-old flower girl at her late sister...
Rosalie Young admires a photo of herself (right) as a 3-year-old flower girl at her late sister Daphne Hill’s wedding to Donald McIver in 1952. PHOTOS: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Mrs Young said she was a 3-year-old flower girl at her big sister’s wedding, and struggled to remember much about the big day, other than the fact she felt like the centre of attention with her new blue dress, hat and gloves.

Now, both the wedding dress and her flower girl outfit are on display at Toitu Otago Settlers’ Museum as part of The Big Day exhibition which shows 160 years of Otago weddings.

Daphne Hill’s wedding dress and little sister Rosalie’s flower girl outfit are on display at...
Daphne Hill’s wedding dress and little sister Rosalie’s flower girl outfit are on display at Toitu Otago Settlers’ Museum.

Mrs Young said her sister wanted to give the dresses to the museum  prior to her death seven years ago, because they were quite extravagant for the time.

"It was a very pretty wedding," Mrs Young said.

"Two of my other sisters were bridesmaids in a mauve colour and a pink colour.

"She wanted to donate it because of the age of the dress. It was in the 1950s.

"Of course, at that time, people cut things up.

"After World War 2, there wasn’t much around in the way of material and clothing, so to have a dress like that must have been quite spectacular," Mrs Young said.
The dresses are among many Otago wedding dresses, suits and other markers of marriage ceremonies, showing the changes in wedding traditions in the province over the past 160 years.

Looking spectacular are (from left) Janice Hill, Rosalie Young (nee Hill), Donald McIver, Daphne...
Looking spectacular are (from left) Janice Hill, Rosalie Young (nee Hill), Donald McIver, Daphne McIver (nee Hill), Lorraine Hill, Arthur Aitken, Jennifer Hill, Beryl Rooney, Norman Hill, Catherine McIver and Cedric Barrett. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Groom Donald McIver recently celebrated his 93rd birthday and is living in the Marlborough Sounds.

He and other members of the wider family are delighted to see the dress on display, being admired by other people as much as it was by him.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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