Second look

Wedding costumes at Blithewold

Bessie Pardee Van Wickle's 1882 wedding dress (right), shown here with an afternoon dress of the period

Allan Millora

Bessie Pardee Van Wickle's 1882 wedding dress (right), shown here with an afternoon dress of the period.

BRISTOL, R.I. — Late summer is a lovely time to visit Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum. Sea holly, lilies, and dahlias decorate the 33-acre former summer home of the Van Wickle family overlooking Narragansett Bay. This year visitors will find something new among the family heirlooms in Blithewold’s 45-room mansion. “A Wedding to Remember” showcases artifacts from Bessie and Augustus Van Wickle’s 1882 wedding. (The bride and groom were both children of coal barons.) Exhibits include Bessie’s wedding gown — an exquisite dress of ivory silk faille lavishly embroidered with daisies in silk floss, with white glass beads as the flower centers — along with her wedding-day accessories (shoes, petticoats, handkerchief, fan), royal blue velvet traveling suit, Augustus’s embroidered satin suspenders, wedding gifts (including a Gorham tea set encrusted with silver daisies that was a gift from the groom’s parents), letters and lists in Bessie’s handwriting, and period photographs of the Presbyterian Church in Hazleton, Pa., where the wedding took place.  101 Ferry Road, 401-253-2707, Adults $11, seniors and students $9, ages 6-17 $3, family (two adults and two children) $24.


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