From The Principal – Wedding Dress Exhibition Builds Community

At Santa Maria College, one of our goals is to create a sense of community and belonging. This year in our 80th Year, we were looking for an event to reconnect our alumni, to come together with past students, our current families and students and our local community. Jacqui Daniels, our OGA Co-ordinator, suggested the 80 Wedding Gowns Exhibition to celebrate our 80 Years. Since 1980 our College Chapel has brought joy to many past students who have celebrated the sacrament of marriage in this beautiful space, including myself and some of our staff. Prior to1980 weddings were not permitted in the chapel.

Jacqui’s hard work culminated in a wonderful event that created an incredible sense of community, more than we ever imagined. Jacqui is a creative, passionate co-ordinator of the OGA and it is through her vision, dedication, and ability to enlist a fantastic team of helpers that this event was such a success. 86 past students provided their wedding gowns for the exhibition, and many more were involved in volunteering their time to assist. For this, we are most grateful.

We felt very privileged to have our Golden Girls attend the exhibition including Patricia  McLaughlin – Class of 1942, at age 93, who was a foundation student in 1938, our original year. We were also joined by Zoe Sholl – Class of 1947, who commenced at the College as an 8-year-old in 1939. They both have incredible stories to tell. It was also lovely to see generations of old girls returning to the school, some groups with grandmothers (OGA), mothers (OGA) and daughters who are current students.

At Santa Maria College we believe community is what makes our College such a special place. This event highlighted the connection that many of our past students treasure and continue throughout their lives. Coming together with old school friends brought much joy to those who attended.

To conclude, some quotes from those who attended:

“It was lovely to be greeted with a glass of champagne and join a table of friendly new faces over morning tea. Sister Perpetua sat with us at one stage and talked about all manner of things. She is still vitally interested in life and serving others. The exhibition was truly remarkable. I loved the elegant dresses; accompanying black and white wedding photos; the flower and candle arrangements and beautifully draped fabric. The idea to decorate the chapel with wedding flowers was inspired. Thanks for all the effort and thought that went into organising this beautiful and memorable event.” Jennifer Wall – Class of 1979

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you and a big congratulations, on the outcome of the wedding dress expo! Firstly, the idea was such a great one and then to see it come to fruition was a credit to the committee of volunteers and the school. The dresses were brilliant, the decorations were lovely, the photos and booklet with people’s stories was such a fantastic personal touch, you could see the amount of time and effort that went into the whole exhibition- it was just fabulous. And the high tea was delicious! The waitresses were well mannered, enthusiastic and attentive. Everything about the day was classy, elegant, welcoming and good fun – a great representation of what Santa is all about!” Claire Hales – Class of 1996

“Congratulations to the Committee and all who were associated with the wonderful Bridal Expo on Saturday. My friends and I enjoyed the beautiful gowns so elegantly displayed and the high tea where we took full advantage of the view from the staff room. The organisation appeared to be faultless, and I can only imagine the work involved in staging the event – not to mention the weight of the responsibility of having so many precious dresses in your care. For me, it was a trip down memory lane as I had not been in McAuley Building since 1952. Thank you very much for the invitation. It was a lovely day.” Margaret Walsh – Class of 1953

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