Glamorous new exhibit announced

4th March 2021

There’s just something about a wedding that captivates everybody – and a group of New Zealand’s biggest names are banding together to give the public an exclusive glimpse into their big days. 

Better yet? It’s all in the name of a worthy cause.

A new museum exhibit, set to be unveiled at the world-class Bill Richardson Transport World (much more than ‘just’ a vintage truck museum, the largest private automotive collection of its type in the world boasts displays to intrigue people of all interests and persuasions) this winter, will showcase the wedding attire of Kiwi celebrities.

Joc O’Donnell from Transport World  – executive director, entrepreneur, former member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, and creative mastermind behind the development of the burgeoning southern tourism hub that, prior to COVID-19, drew more than 50,000 guests from around the world every year – says Tender Memories has been a long time in the making.

“The details that are lovingly poured into weddings give people such an intimate sense of who the happy couple are,” O’Donnell says. 

“I think that is what takes our fancy: each wedding is completely unique to the couple celebrating their special occasion, and it’s such a privilege to be witness to these little vignettes of who people are. Arriving as a guest at every wedding holds so much anticipation: there is such a build-up to seeing what the dress will look like, the flowers the couple has chosen, the details that have gone into the styling, the music. It’s always such a privilege to be among the crowd – and the opportunity to get a glimpse at some of the most well-known New Zealanders big days is what we wanted to offer our visitors.”

More than 20 Kiwi celebrities – from Olympic medallists to television personalities, authors to musicians – have agreed to loan the museum their wedding attire, which will be painstakingly curated into an exhibit that encompasses the diversity of how Kiwi love stories look and feel.

A portion of ticket sales from the exhibit, to be on display in the museum between May and September 2021, will be donated to KidsCan: the charity that strives to help vulnerable New Zealand children and their families. The exhibit will be officially launched with an elegant long lunch. 

Renowned bridal designer Trish Peng is among the names taking part. Peng has offered up a selection of stunning gowns - including her record-setting red bridal gown, adorned with vintage Christian Dior lace, hundreds of Swarovski crystals, and a 20-metre silk tulle train - to be included in Tender Memories. 

“Most wedding gowns - both on the runway and off - are only shown or seen once or twice in their lifetime, so it’s great to have the opportunity to go back down memory lane and revisit some iconic Kiwi wedding looks from over the years,” Peng says.

“I’m excited to once again bring out my red gown from 2016 for this exhibition, as its debut at New Zealand Fashion Week was one of the highlights of my career, and exhibiting it to help raise funds for KidsCan is the cherry on top.”

Work on the exhibit is well underway, in time for its scheduled May unveiling. Plans for its display are "pretty spectacular," O'Donnell says. 

“Each element of a wedding holds such sentimentality, so we’re quite humbled at how many celebrities were willing to get involved,” she says. “We can’t wait to share this exhibit with everybody.”