The real life Von Trapp wedding took place in 1927. The Sound of Music was set in 1938, the year when Austria was annexed into Nazi Germany. And yet, Maria’s wedding dress looked nothing like something out of the 1930’s.
In fact, it was very much 1960’s like the rest of the costumes in the movie. Curiously, costume designer Dorothy Jeakins was nominated for an Oscar for her work in The Sound of Music.
The costumes weren’t the only historical inaccuracies in the film. In real life, the Von Trapps had previously lost much of their money, they didn’t live in such a grand house, they weren’t “aristocratic”, and the Great Romance between the Captain and Maria was fiction. Yes, they married, but it was more a marriage of convenience—for Maria anyway.
At any rate, The Sound of Music wasn’t meant to be a documentary anyway. Now, about the wedding dress…
It is elegant, yes, if you like that style. Minus the pointy darts that went with the pointy bras that were fashionable in the 1960’s, it’s almost timeless. Even without glittery beads, the dress looks rich. The material used was Shantung silk which is thicker than silk but not as thick as satin.
A train was attached at the back just below the opening. A veil, reportedly 14 feet long covered the train during the wedding processional. What aren’t obvious from the wedding scene are the details of the train which are really quite remarkable. The train was cut on the bias and shirred which accounts for the bouncy effect as Maria glided down the aisle to meet her groom at the altar.
In 2013, Maria’s wedding dress went on auction. It fetched $23,040.00. The pinafore, however, that was worn in the opening scene of the movie (when Maria sang, “The hills are alive with the sound of music…”) sold for a cool $1.56 million in another auction.