The Bendigo Art Gallery's spectacular blockbuster, due to open on August 1, will reveal that commerce as much as culture is behind the white wedding dress.
The White Wedding Dress will premiere a showing of gowns and wedding paraphernalia dating back 200 years, which are from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Alongside these garments, the Bendigo Art Gallery has curated a supplementary show of wedding costume from Australia's colonial period through to contemporary gowns by designers such as Akira Isogawa and Toni Maticevski.
The V&A curator Edwina Ehrmann promises the "romantic, glamorous and extravagant".
BAG's director Karen Quinlan is steering us towards approaching the wedding dress as a way of understanding fashion history in the context of the broader culture.
How the white wedding dress became a "symbol of romantic love as well as of purity", will be traced from the early 1800s, with "defining moments" pointed out along the way.
One such defining moment, possibly the most important, was the marriage of 20-year-old Queen Victoria in 1840.
Because she chose to be a bride first, and head-of-state second, she eschewed the velvet robes and diadems, and went for white silk-satin and orange blossom.
It had been, up until then, quite common to be married in a coloured gown, but once the Queen had chosen white, it "became the norm".
By the mid-1870s, fashion dictated that trains were de rigueur, for the drama of it. By the time the first bridal fair was held in 1881, the whole bridal industry had kicked in: dressmakers, jewellers, florists, stationers, photographers, even furniture-makers displayed their wares, and the tradition of the white wedding swelled a little more.
The show will take us through the austerity of the post-War years, when ingenuity had to compensate for the shortage of materials.
It will document the rise of the haute couture designers, and even the heyday of women's liberation, when it became fashionable , if you married at all, to wear something that almost parodied the traditional white gown.
As Bendigo dressmaker Joan Hooper, who will give a talk as part of the exhibition's program, says, "The thing about a wedding dress is that you are likely to use fabrics that are special.
"I would have loved to be able just to touch the dress worn by Kate Middleton when she married Prince William - it was magnificent."
The White Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashions will open at the Bendigo Art Gallery on August 1 and run until November 6.