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Muscatine News

Posted on: March 9, 2020

Wanted: Ugly bridesmaid dresses for June exhibition

Elsie Butler Waller Wedding Party (JPG)

MUSCATINE, Iowa - The exhibition “Till Death: Wedding and Mourning Traditions” will open this June and the Muscatine Art Center is seeking “ugly bridesmaid dresses” and digital photographs of women wearing “ugly bridesmaid dresses” at a Muscatine County wedding.


“The ‘Till Death’ exhibition will feature 30 historic dresses,” Melanie Alexander, Muscatine Art Center Director, said. “As word spread about the exhibit, more and more women came forward wanting to lend their dresses. The exhibit highlights wedding dresses, and we felt the bridesmaid dress deserved a spotlight of its own. Many women remember the once fashionable – and now labeled ‘cringe-worthy’ – dress they wore to appease a friend.”


The opening gala will be held at Geneva Country Club on June 6, 2020. The evening will be full of wedding related surprises and fun including the display of five ugly bridesmaid dresses. Proceeds from the event will support the Friends of the Muscatine Art Center and the organization’s educational mission.


The Muscatine Art Center is seeking bridesmaid dresses worn at any wedding that took place in Muscatine County. To be eligible, the person submitting the photograph must be the person wearing the “ugly” dress, and the dress must be available for a one-night display on June 6, 2020. Photographs that meet these criteria will be posted on the Muscatine Art Center’s Facebook page for online voting. The top five dresses will be displayed at Geneva Country Club on June 6 and the winner of online voting will receive two free tickets to the event – a value of more than $100.


Email your photograph of your most ‘cringe-worthy’ dress from any decade to lbartenhagen@muscatineiowa.gov by April 26, 2020. Remember the dress needs to have been worn at a Muscatine County wedding and must be available for display on June 6. Public voting will take place from May 1-20. The top five dresses and winner of online voting will be announced on May 22. Those interested in participating may contact the Muscatine Art Center at 563-263-8282 with questions.

Press Release (PDF)
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