IOWA WEDDING_0001Alvin Eugene Leighton and Samaria Cecilia McFarland pose for their wedding portrait in the studio of O. H. Park in Clarinda, Iowa. Note the dark wedding dress. Perhaps someone can leave a comment explaining why dark wedding dresses were sometimes worn during this period in history. The Photo-beacon, a book published in 1897, considered Park to be just a mediocre portrait photographer. This cabinet card is interesting because of the appearance of the subjects and is certainly not a wonderfully posed photograph. The photographer set up the pose in such a way that the groom appears to be missing the lower part of his arm and the groom seems to be afraid to get to close to the bride.  To view other photographs by Park, click on the category “Photographer: Park”. 


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840 did much to popularize the white wedding dress, but only the wealthier classes could afford a dress that could be worn for only one day and (according to etiquette) a single year afterward. Most women of average means followed the centuries-old tradition of simply wearing a best dress for their wedding.

    There was also a tradition of getting married in a travelling costume, which I find wonderful. Off the aisle and straight onto the boat! That continued well into the 20th century.

  2. Hello,
    Do you know when they married ?

  3. Unfortunately, I do not know the wedding date of the pictured couple. I believe that an internet search may reveal the information that you are seeking. Try googling the couples names and perhaps you can find a family tree which includes their wedding date. A second method would be contacting the Iowa historical society or the town historian in Clarinda, Iowa.. Good luck!

  4. Based in the distinctive sleeve style, I would place this portrait c. 1893-1895.

  5. The reason why so many of the women are wearing dark dresses is because not every bride could afford a new dress – specially a white gown- just for the occasion of getting married. I have a cabinet card of my great-great grandparents on their wedding day in Maine. The bride is wearing a ‘Sunday-go-to-church’ dress.

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