Get local news delivered straight to your phone

18

WEDNESDAY

We can't make City Paper without you

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Now that Martha will be detained for a while, prospective brides will have to look elsewhere for well-bred nuptial guidance. What better resource than the DAR Museum’s current show, “Something Old, Something New: Inventing the American Wedding,” an exhibition featuring some 15 tiny-waisted bridal gowns that date from the late 18th century to the present. Viewers learn that many of the traditions that get a modern Bridezilla’s panties in a twist didn’t exist until the Gilded Age, when wealthy swells devised elaborate rituals to separate themselves from the middle class. Hence the church processional, the lavish reception, and the ceremonial slicing of the wedding cake. (The videographer came later.) The impact of celebrity weddings on us common folk is evidenced by a 1981 McCall’s dress pattern of the gown worn by “the People’s Princess.” American royalty, meanwhile, is represented by a 1987 edition of Martha Stewart Weddings. Smooth-browed and smiling on the cover, Martha looks as if she’s never heard of ImClone. The exhibition is on view from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DAR Museum, 1776 D St. NW. Free. (202) 628-1776. (Hetty Lipscomb)