Wedding gowns under hammer for charity
Most brides want their wedding day to be all about them.
But buying their wedding gown from the St Andrew’s Church Strawberry Fair auction means they’ll also be helping good causes.
Well-known Newmarket designer Rosemary Smith has donated two of her gowns to the Epsom church for its November auction.
Proceeds will help refurbish the church hall, support the Books in Prison Trust, Auckland City Mission and the Anglican Trust for Women and Children.
Ms Smith’s dresses and clothing have graced some of the country’s biggest stars, including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and more recently, All Black Joe Rokocoko’s bride Beverley Politini.
She also made the replica of Princess Diana’s wedding dress that appeared in the Farmers window after the royal wedding.
Although not a member of the congregation, Ms Smith has been involved with St Andrew’s in different ways since 1954.
“I used to stay with a cousin who lived opposite it. As a teenager I would sit looking at the brides coming out of the church. I loved St Andrew’s.”
Every year she donates a dress to a worthy cause, often to the Auckland SPCA to be auctioned as a fundraiser.
“It’s just something you can do,” she says.
Ms Smith made a wedding dress two years ago for parishioner Jamie Muller, who is organising items for the auction, and offered to donate the gowns.
“I was completely overwhelmed,” says Mrs Muller.
The public can look at the dresses, a size 10 to 12 and a 12 to 14, before they go under the hammer.
They will feature in a wedding gown exhibition at the church’s September Festival – organised by fellow parishioner Janice Chandler.
Around 20 gowns, the oldest a fragile lace dress from 1940, will be displayed in a flowerfilled church.
They include gowns Mrs Chandler has collected during her travels, including dresses from Uzbekistan, Iran, India, a Bedouin ensemble from the Middle East and one from a minority Chinese group called the Miao.
She heads overseas once a year on holiday, collecting interesting clothes and wedding dresses where she can.
The rest of the dresses are on loan from parishioners, friends and family.
The exhibition opens on Friday and runs during the weekend, with entry by donation. The auction will be held in early November.
For more information contact the church on 638-8264.
Gorgeous gowns: From left: Designer Rosemary Smith, Jamie Muller and Janice Chandler with the gowns to be auctioned at St Andrew’s Church.