Photographer Oksana Veniaminova set out to focus her graduate-degree work on the theme of women’s memory — particularly, she told In Sight, “recollections that are purely feminine and can’t appear in a man’s head." Then she narrowed the theme to recollections associated with weddings, a monumental event for women in her native Belarus.

Veniaminova hopes to publish her photos in a book.

“The marital state serves as an indicator of a woman’s success . . . so each item connected to this gala day has a very special meaning, even afterward," she said. “The wedding dress, the veil, the icon used during the ceremony, the bouquet and so on are shrouded in myth, awe and superstition. Popular belief endows the wedding gown with a mystical power to preserve a happy marriage forever and prescribes keeping it.”

Superstition dictates that selling or giving away the dress could negatively affect a marriage or the woman herself. To many Belarusan women, the veil holds its own perceived powers, and generations pass down the instructions to hide the veil and not take it out of the home to ensure a solid marriage. Others believe the veil can be used to calm restless or crying infants and use it cover cribs.

Veniaminova notes the irony in the act of repeating this tradition for second marriages, illustrating that sometimes the only lasting marriage is between a woman and her dress.

In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

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