Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Regency Weddings

A large number of Regency romances end with a wedding. But how much do we actually know about the wedding ceremony itself in those days?

St. Georges in Hanover Square was the venue for fashionable weddings but even these were private affairs, sparsely attended. It was the Victorian era that heralded the introduction of the more lavish affairs we often see today.

But what of the wedding dress itself? The English fashion journals are rather short of information on this subject but there is a rare print in Ackermann's Repository from June 1816 showing a wedding dress in white satin with an overdress in stripped gauze and trimmed with Brussels lace. It was to be worn with pearl jewellery, white satin slippers and white kid gloves but no veil.
I wonder when veils became popular. I found some prints in French magazines dating from 1813 showing brides wearing veils but nothing to indicate the same fashion had been adopted in England. I also discovered the first reference to the use of orange blossom as the accepted bridal flower in 1820, also in Paris.
It seems as though that city was making a name for itself in the fashion world even then.


Linda Banche said...

The dress is beautiful. I'm glad you found the picture.

Historical Romance Author said...

I know they wore a 'best' dress, but something that could be worn later.
No spending £1000, as girls do today, and then hanging it in a plastic cover in the wardrobe.

Jan Jones said...

Ahh, she does look lovely, though. I remember Charlotte Lucas and the creepy clergyman 'setting off for Kent from the church door' so presumably there wasn't a nice boozy reception to fortify the happy couple either. Poor Charlotte!

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