There are many ways, and many reasons, to reuse a wedding gown. Though there is a certain expectation today that a bride will preserve her dress for posterity – and, likely, never wear it again – this is far from the only possibility, as our exhibit shows.
Sometimes it’s a practical decision, but often the passing on or physical transformation of wedding attire is an emotional choice, and an exercise in continuity. For those who want to put their gown to further use there are many options, from lending it to a friend in need, to donating it for a stranger’s use, to transforming it into something else entirely.
Lucia Czarny and William Alan Goodhart were married by Rabbi Abraham Shaw at Oheb Shalom, Baltimore, on June 17, 1968.
Courtesy of Lucia Goodhart and Saralynn Glass. JMM CP 2017.23.2.
Lisa Ellen Glass and Martin Ross Kornstein were married on October 6, 2007 at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in NYC, by Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek.
Courtesy of Lucia Goodhart and Saralynn Glass. JMM CP 2017.23.1.
Lucia Czarny, a Polish immigrant, wore this dress at her wedding in 1968; it was a gift from her grandmother, and was purchased at Sonia's Bridal on Eastern Avenue, Baltimore. Nearly 40 years later, Lisa Glass of Baltimore asked Lucia, her beloved Hebrew teacher and mentor, if she could wear the dress at her own wedding.
On loan from Saralynn Glass. JMMM L2017.18.1.
Embroidered, beaded, and embellished glass bag made by Lucia for Lisa’s wedding. The bag includes an evil eye charm, and the bride’s and groom’s names embroidered in Hebrew.
On loan from Saralynn Glass. JMM L2016.18.2.
Lisa’s veil, shown here, and the couple’s chuppah were both made by the bride’s mother, Saralynn Glass.
On loan from Saralynn Glass. JMM L2017.18.2.
Four Baltimore Brides, One Wedding Dress
Wedding gown worn by four Baltimore brides in two generations.
Dress and photos on loan from Rosalee Cohen Davison, Charlotte Cohen Weinberg, Joanna Davison Golden, and Gwynne Weinberg. JMM L2017.12.1.
Rosalee Cohen and Richard S. Davison were married by Rabbi Abraham Shaw at the Hotel Belvedere, June 1, 1952. Photo by Bradford Bachrach.
Her younger sister, Charlotte Cohen, and Carroll Weinberg were married by Rabbis Shaw and Shusterman at the Hotel Belvedere on June 18, 1954. She wore a lace veil, with a different headdress than her older sister. Photo by Bradford Bachrach.
Rosalee’s daughter Joanna Davison married Donald Golden at the Hotel Belvedere on October 31, 1982. She altered the sleeves and, because they were married on Halloween, added a Venetian mask to her ensemble. Photo by Leonard L. Greif, Jr.
Charlotte’s daughter Gwynne Allison Weinberg married Stephen Conard in Philadelphia on April 4, 1994. She changed the shoulders and sleeves again, reusing the original sleeves, and wore her mother’s lace veil. Photo by Imagery.
Framed photos of four women wearing the same wedding gown, 1947-1994. Naomi Biron of Washington, DC spotted this dress in the display window of Woodward & Lothrop, and knew it was the perfect gown. She wore it at her marriage to Jerome B. Cohen of Baltimore at the Mayflower Hotel on June 5, 1947 (top left).
It was next worn by her sister Bernice, who married Aaron Schlossberg in her parents’ DC home a few months later on October 19, 1947 (top right), and then again by her sister Jean, who married Marvin Fine of Baltimore at DC’s Shoreham Hotel on November 29, 1949 (bottom left).
Several decades later, Naomi’s daughter Maxine Cohen wore it when she married Myron Oppenheimer at the Suburban Club on January 16, 1994 (bottom right). Maxine displays these portraits, along with the original newspaper ad for the dress, in her office.
On loan from Naomi B. Cohen, and Maxine A. Cohen & Myron Oppenheimer. JMM L2017.10.1-.4
Three-piece suit and necktie worn by Sidney Tucker upon his marriage to Bessie Tarses, August 6, 1931.
The suit, sold by Isaac Hamburger & Sons, Baltimore, and tie, sold by the May Co., Baltimore, were likely worn several times before and/or after the wedding.
Gift of Norma Tucker and Sally Grant. JMM 1995.4.2a-c, .3
“I made the decision to turn my wedding gown into Dena and Ryan’s chuppah when I realized Dena had found a new wedding gown and wouldn’t be wearing mine (as is every mother’s dream). I deconstructed my gown and handed over the gown-in-pieces to my friend and textile artist Julia.”
-Ilene Gudelsky Cohen
Dena and Ryan under their chuppah. Photo by Artful Weddings Sachs Photography.
Courtesy of Ilene Gudelsky Cohen. JMM CP 2017.10.1
Dena Cohen of Owings Mills and Ryan Blaustein of Olney were married Sunday, May 29, 2016 by Bryan Wexler at Elkridge Furnace Inn, Elkridge, MD. (There was an aufruf at Beth Am, Baltimore, the day before.) Their chuppah was made from the wedding gown of the bride’s mother, Ilene Gudelsky Cohen, by textile artist Julia Feldman.
On Loan from Ilene Gudelsky Cohen. JMM L2016.15.1
Bridal Bible – The Torah, published by Bloch Publishing Co., New York.
The initials on the cover, GFK, show that it was first carried by Gertrude Fried when she married Edmund Kahn in Baltimore in 1907; notes and autographs inside tell us that it was also carried by their daughter Janice Kahn when she married Charles Friedman at the Southern Hotel, Baltimore, on December 28, 1941.
Gift of Janice Kahn Friedman. JMM 1990.191.15a
Headdress with short net veil, worn by Elizabeth Rosenfeld when she married Philp Kahn, Jr. in 1947. The headdress itself is made with Brussels lace originally owned by the bride’s great-grandmother, Betsy Friedenwald Wiesenfeld (1823-1894).
On loan from Betsey (Elizabeth) Rosenfeld Kahn. JMM L2016.16.1
With her mother’s help, Elizabeth Rosenfeld gets dressed for her wedding to Philip Kahn, Jr., January 9, 1947. Photo by Paul Jordan.
Courtesy of Betsy (Elizabeth) Rosenfeld Kahn. JMM CP 54.2016.1