Amidst a background of charming travel and mother-of-the-bride gowns is this vibrant green wedding dress (far left) c. 1864. it was owned by Elizabeth Fargo, bride of Civil War Captain Charleton, who was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln.

This lovely ornate bodice c. 1896 was made to be worn at special occasions long after the wedding. To accommodate the different events, designers made some portions removable; in this case, the high collar.

Here, visitors are whisked into the fairy-tale world of the romantic Victorian wedding. Mannequins laden in silk and lace gowns, gloves and white leather boots display the essentials for the well-dressed bride.

The museum is home to more than 40 gowns that date between 1835 and 1935, including some worn during the Civil War. Accumulating them through estate sales, antique hunting or guest donations, Faulkner's collection is constantly expanding.

Besides displaying the gowns and accessories, Faulkner takes great pride in making Victorian values relevant in the present-day culture. "Courting has changed a lot in 100 years," she ex- plains, "but people have not." A gentleman was expected to pursue his romantic interest with a delicacy that sadly has been lost today. I try to keep that spirit alive through the museum." Not that women were entirely free to enjoy the ride. "A lady was indeed a lady. She was required to act like one too," says Faulkner. She encourages brides-to-be to participate in the museum's teas and lectures, to bring back good old-fasioned romance to 21st century weddings.

Which brings us to the tried-and-true traditions such as "something old, something new," or for the Victorian bride, a proper wedding trousseau. On display is a 1905 collection that includes an Edwardian corset cover, cap, camisole, petticoats and undergarments.

While each gown has its own special story, of particular interest is "the gown never worn." The dress was designed for Miss Lottie Johnson, a missionary and teacher in Shanghai, who via correspondence was betrothed to be married. Sadly, the groom vanished without a trace, and was never to be seen again. Miss Johnson never married and lived well into her 90s.

The House of Victorian Visions Bridal Museum is a treat for romantics of all ages. Whether you're engaged to be married and looking to add a special Victorian touch to your wedding, or a seasoned spouse of many years looking to relive your courtship. Faulkner and her bridal collection are timeless treasures of the glory days of the Victorian era -- an experience not to be missed.