Vintage: Women Dressed in Turkey Feathers (1948)

Vintage: Women Dressed in Turkey Feathers (1948)


In 1948, a LIFE magazine writer was tasked with covering the wedding of “turkey enthusiast” Barbara Orr Ehrhart – a woman who made her wedding dress out of turkey feathers.

After obtaining permission to get married at the Far West Turkey Show in California, the bride gathered 37,500 plumes for her dress, which was constructed over the course of several months. Her bridesmaids’ dresses were also crafted out of feathers, which she dyed pink, blue, yellow and green.

Bride shows off a prize carcass.

Bride shows off a prize carcass. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Wedding attendants, dressed in pastel-dyed turkey feathers, give last-minute attention to the pure-white plumage of the bride's gown (center).

Wedding attendants, dressed in pastel-dyed turkey feathers, give last-minute attention to the pure-white plumage of the bride’s gown (center). Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Fond farewell is given to a flock of beloved White Holland turkeys before Barbara, dressed in bronze feather gown, leaves on her honeymoon.

Fond farewell is given to a flock of beloved White Holland turkeys before Barbara, dressed in bronze feather gown, leaves on her honeymoon. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Turkey feather fashion, 1948.

Turkey feather fashion, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Turkey feather fashion, 1948.

Turkey feather fashion, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Turkey feather fashion, 1948.

Turkey feather fashion, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Turkey feather fashion, 1948.

Turkey feather fashion, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Turkey feather fashion, 1948.

Turkey feather fashion, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Turkey feather fashion, 1948.

Turkey feather fashion, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Turkey feather fashion, 1948.

Turkey feather fashion, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Turkey feather fashion, 1948.

Turkey feather fashion, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Preceding the bride, the matron of honor paces up the long aisle followed by 6-year-old Sharon Snider, who strews feathers along the carpet.

Preceding the bride, the matron of honor paces up the long aisle followed by 6-year-old Sharon Snider, who strews feathers along the carpet. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Barbara and Fred are married by a justice of the peace in public ballroom.

Barbara and Fred are married by a justice of the peace in public ballroom. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Instead of rice, handfuls of turkey feathers are showered on the happy newlyweds as they dash out the door.

Instead of rice, handfuls of turkey feathers are showered on the happy newlyweds as they dash out the door. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Wedding banquet, 1948.

Wedding banquet, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Nuptial ballads are sung before the big ceremony. Composed by the bride, they are, "It Must All Be Dreams," "I Knew It Would Happen That Way."

Nuptial ballads are sung before the big ceremony. Composed by the bride, they are, “It Must All Be Dreams,” “I Knew It Would Happen That Way.” Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Wedding banquet after the ceremony consisted of cranberry sauce, vegetable gravy, potatoes, and to no one's surprise, plenty of hot sliced turkey.

Wedding banquet after the ceremony consisted of cranberry sauce, vegetable gravy, potatoes, and to no one’s surprise, plenty of hot sliced turkey. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Barbara Orr Ehrhart, with a friend, 1948.

Barbara Orr Ehrhart, with a friend, 1948. Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer-The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images


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