Victorian weddings were more or less similar to the wedding celebrations we have today. Many traditions of Victorian weddings are still being followed and one of them is the color and style of the wedding attire.
Ever since the marriage of Queen Victoria in 1840, white has remained the traditional color of the wedding attire and bouquets.
The Wedding Attire before the Victorian Era
After being confirmed by the wedding day chosen by the bride, the celebration started. The most important part of the celebration was the making of her wedding dress. Before Queen Victoria’s wedding, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the colors were different and more or less set for specific categories of brides.
For example, the teenager girls when they married wore pale green which was the color of fertility. A mature girl in her twenties wore a brown dress and older women used to wear black. During the early 18th century, only poor girls used to wear white which signified that she brought nothing with her. Some brides wore their Sunday best.
The color of the wedding attire was thought to influence the future life of the bride and the couple. However, when Queen Victoria married in white wedding attire, it became the tradition and is followed till date.
Victorian era Wedding Attire
The wedding day was the most important day in a Victorian girl’s life. Her mother prepared her for this day right from the time she was born. The main goal of a Victorian girl’s life was to marry and marry well.
The wedding ceremony was steeped in ancient tradition and was still evident in Victorian customs. The most important part of the wedding preparation was choosing the month and day of her marriage.
June was the popular month because it was named after the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. It was believed that she brought prosperity and happiness to all those who got married in this month.
After the date was finalized, it was time for the would-be bride to choose her dress. After the marriage of Queen Victoria, the color white for wedding attire became the tradition.
The wedding dress of the early Victorian era had a fitted bodice with a small waist and long skirt. It was made of organdie, silk, linen, lace, gauze, tulle and cashmere.
Vintage Victorian Wedding Dresses
The veil was made of fine gauze, lace or sheer cotton. The formal weddings were also carried out in white along with the bridesmaid’s dresses and veils. A coronet of flowers were attached to the veils and the flowers were orange blossoms for the bride and ross or seasonal flowers for the attendants.
The accessories of the bride were a hanky embroidered with the initials of her maiden name, short white kid gloves, silk stockings embroidered in the front and flat shoes which were decorated with ribbons and bows at the instep.
Victorian Era Bridesmaid Dresses
The mid-Victorian bride used to display her riches through the attire and accessories which included a long veil, bustle, elegant details and two bodies. The late Victorians had the bustle disappear and had large sleeves in fashion. Till 1890 the veil used to cover the bride’s face and was lifted only after church.
For widows who married in the mid-Victorian era had no veil, no bridesmaid did not wear white and had no orange blossoms. She could wear a pearl or lavender satin gown which was trimmed with ostrich feathers.
Diamonds have always been popular and since the wedding attire was white, the combination of pearl and diamond was just perfect. The mid-Victorians displayed their wealth and so had a diamond tiara.
Generally, the jewelry worn by the bride was gifted by her husband. However, the wedding ceremony carried earlier in the day were with less jewelry.
The Groom’s Attire
The wedding was also very important for the grooms and they were also concerned with fashion. They usually turned to the magazines to get ideas on how to turn out best on a special day. In the early Victorian era, the groom wore a frock coat made of blue color with best flower favor in his lapel.
His trousers were of lavender doeskin and waistcoat was white. The best man and the groomsmen wore frock coats but in subdued forms. During the mid-Victorian era, frock coat was replaced by a morning coat for a smarter look.
Fashion changed rapidly in the late Victorian era and the color and style of the dress depended on the time the wedding ceremony was planned. No black dress was allowed to be worn even by the guests.
The traveling dress had to be quiet and modest. It had to be in no way designed to attract attention and all this was for the safety of the newly married couple.