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    July 2004
    Wedding belles ring the changes
    Shane Ritchie as Alfie with Jessie Wallace as Kat
    Kat's wedding dress - seen here marrying loveable rogue Alfie at the Vic - is among the exhibits.
    A new exhibition at Luton Museum and Art Gallery takes a colourful look at weddings down the ages ... with a special "guest appearance" from Kat Slater's wedding outfit, in all its red glory!
    Luton Museum and Art Gallery

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

    Luton Museum and Art Gallery, Wardown Park, Luton is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.00am to 5.00pm and on Sundays from 1.00pm to 5.00pm.

    Entrance is free.

    The Wedding Days Exhibition runs from 24 July to 21 November.

    For more information and to find out about events to accompany the exhibition please telephone Wardown Park Museum on 546722.

    get in contact

    For many women (and some men!) their wedding day is the most glorious moment of their lives.

    Luton Museum and Art Gallery decided that was a very good reason to have a look at how weddings have changed in the multi-cultural town over the years.

    Vintage bride, from the exhibition displays
    The bride's dress has been a talking point at weddings through the ages.

    From initial courtships through preparations, customs and traditions, to the ceremony and celebrations afterwards, the exhibition will look at how different people have celebrated their weddings across time and different communities.

    Much of the information for the exhibition has come from Luton's own residents, reliving their individual happy day.

    Eye-catching costumes

    Alec Brown, while stationed with the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment at Falmouth (now aged 89 years) remembers his sweetheart writing to ask for his hand in marriage.

    "I wrote back and said 'yes, of course I will' and I went down into Falmouth into a jewellers there and bought a ring, and sent it through the post to her…"

    There are memories such as a wartime engagement and the first ever marriage in the Synagogue, Bury Park. These stories, along with people's souvenirs, and information and objects from museum collections form the basis of the exhibition.

    Alfie looks in admiration at his new bride Kat.

    The most eye-catching part of the exhibition will be a wonderful display of different wedding costumes.

    The earliest on display is an 1870s wedding dress but there will also be a Scottish groom's outfit, contemporary Pakistani dress as well as the star item, the red and gold dress worn by Kat Slater in the EastEnders Christmas special, which the museum is lucky to have on loan from the BBC.

    Throughout the exhibition there will be hands-on exhibits and activities for children and adults including colouring sheets, the summer prize quiz and a book with traditional wedding vows from different cultures featured in the exhibition.

    "This is a colourful and interesting exhibition and covers a wide range of cultures," said Siobhan Kirrane at Luton Museum.

    Week late bride

    "Weddings these days in Luton involve many different cultures and there are many examples in the displays.

    "A lot of people see their wedding day as the biggest event of their lives.

    "We have used pictures, interviews, mementos with some lovely wedding stories coming out."

    From a vintage wedding photo
    Children help the bride remember her big day.

    Among these is the bride who turned up a week late for her wedding - she had it in her diary as the following week.

    And there was the bikers wedding, with a registry office full of leathers and studs!

    Many remembered marrying in the midst of World War Two, while others travelled further afield from their native Luton - Ireland and Pakistan among them.

    But whatever the ceremony, all were memory filled - though hopefully not as action-packed as an EastEnders' Christmas Special.

    Wedding Days runs from 24 July to 21 November. Admission is free.



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