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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.
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.
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.
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.