ASHEVILLE NC – Guests entering Biltmore House during the first half of 2016 may get the impression they’ve walked onto a movie set with a wedding at the center of its story. Dramatic draping and silk roses over the front door of Biltmore House and a 6-foot tall wedding cake in the Entry Hall will all but make that first impression true.
Starting Feb. 12, Biltmore will present a new exhibition, “Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film.” Showcasing 40 award-winning wedding gowns and costumes throughout Biltmore House, the exhibition spans 300 years of wedding fashion from films set in the years 1645 to 1935. The iconic Jane Austen romances of “Sense and Sensibility,” “Emma,” and “Pride and Prejudice” are included. The exhibition will run through July 4.
The costumes come to Biltmore from Cosprop Ltd., the same London-based company that furnished the costumes for Biltmore’s 2015 “Dressing Downton” exhibition of clothing from the PBS Masterpiece series “Downton Abbey.”
Elaborate flower arrangements created by Biltmore’s floral team will accompany the costumes. Simplistic and over-the-top styles will coordinate with each wedding dress. Five costumes from “The Duchess,” featuring the wedding gown worn by actress Keira Knightly and the wedding suit worn by actor Ralph Fiennes, will reside in the Banquet Hall. Flowers and ribbons in hues of peach, cream, light blue and orange will cascade from the room’s chandeliers, reflecting the film’s English Rococo era. In the Library, dramatic red roses accented with hot pink will set off the wedding dress worn by actress Helena Bonham Carter in “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.”
Vanderbilt family wedding celebrations
The exhibition continues in Antler Hill Village in the Biltmore Legacy building with a focus on 60 years of Vanderbilt Family wedding fashion. Stories will be shared about George and Edith Vanderbilt’s courtship, plans for their wedding, guests and gifts, and their Biltmore homecoming after a four-month honeymoon.
The exhibition will include a closer look at Cornelia Vanderbilt’s wedding to John Cecil in 1924. Although Cornelia’s original wedding gown and veil worn by her mother Edith are not in Biltmore’s collection, John Bright, an Oscar-winning designer with Cosprop Ltd., recreated both from photographs and notes.
Another highlight of the exhibition is the wedding veil worn by Mary Lee Ryan in her marriage to William A.V. Cecil, grandson of George Vanderbilt. This family heirloom was also worn by Mrs. Cecil’s cousin Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy when she married future President John F. Kennedy. Also on display will be Mrs. Cecil’s wedding gown—a classic example of 1950s fashion with a tiny waist, bell-shaped skirt, and satin bows.
Admission to “Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film” will be included in the general admission ticket price.
“Fashionable Romance” Events and special stay packages
In conjunction with the “Fashionable Romance” exhibition, special dining and stay experiences are planned.
Valentine’s Day Dinner in The Dining Room – Feb. 12, 13 and 14
Inn on Biltmore Estate will host a five-course Valentine’s Day Dinner in the Dining Room with wine pairing on Feb. 12, 13 and 14. Dinner is included as part of the Inn’s Valentine’s Day Package, or is $110 per non-package guest. Call 828-225-1699 to reserve. More about this package is available at www.biltmore.com/stay/inn/make-reservations/winter.
Wine & Roses Dinner Dance – Feb. 13
Deerpark will host a Wine & Roses Dinner Dance from 6:30 to 11 p.m. on Feb. 13. The event includes a reception, followed by a four-course dinner, a bottle of wine for each couple and dessert. A live band will play favorite love songs until 11 p.m. Cost is $125 per person plus tax. Reservations required. Call 800 411-3812 to reserve.
“Fashionable Romance” stay package at Inn on Biltmore Estate – Feb. 15 through July 1
The Inn on Biltmore Estate will offer a special “Fashionable Romance” stay package Feb. 15 through July 1 that includes accommodations, chef’s breakfast buffet daily, nightly dinner in The Dining Room, Bistro or Cedric’s Tavern, Sec sparkling wine and confections upon arrival, and a wine seminar exploring Biltmore’s sparkling wines portfolio. Inn guests may also enjoy a “Flowers to Wear: A Boutonniere & Corsage Bar” seminar led by a Biltmore floral design expert if booking the package on the weekends of Feb. 13, March 26, May 7, and June 18. Reservations required. Book online or by calling 866-336-1245.
“Bed & Breakfast” stay package at Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate – Ongoing
Enjoy the charm of Biltmore’s newest hotel while taking in all Biltmore has to offer. Village Hotel’s Bed & Breakfast package includes accommodations; breakfast daily at Village Social; souvenir guide book; admission to Biltmore House and the “Fashionable Romance” exhibition for the length of stay; audio guide during Biltmore House tour; and complimentary estate shuttle service. Make reservations online or by calling 866-336-1245.
For more information, visit www.biltmore.com.
Costumes worn by actors Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant in “Sense and Sensibility” will be on display in Biltmore House during “Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film,” an exhibition set to open Feb. 12, 2016, at Biltmore in Asheville, N.C. SENSE AND SENSIBILITY ©1995 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.