Posts Tagged ‘Regency Wedding’

Inquiring Readers, Adriana Zardinia, member of the Jane Austen Society of Brazil and who oversees that organization’s excellent blog, graciously sent me an English translation of her post on a Jane Austen inspired wedding. Enjoy!

This post shows pictures from a magazine article based on Pride and Prejudice.

Anne, from The City Sage, showed some pictures from Nonpareil Magazine,  inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, more precisely, Lizzy Bennet’s and Mr. Darcy’s wedding. Some pictures are not in the magazine’s pages and you can see them at this link.

Details of the invitation

Bride and groom

Look how perfectly chosen the flowers, candies, clothes and reception place are! See the entire article, “Happily Ever Austen”, here at this link!

Nonpareil Magazine allows you to download images and instructions for butterfly garlands and a marble table template in this link.

Adriana Zardini




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Sense and Sensibility 1995. Marianne carries roses and small white flowers.

In ancient times, brides carried bouquets of fragrant herbs and spices to ward off evil, or wore round garlands on their heads or around their necks as symbols of fertility and longevity. Dill, known as the herb of lust, would often be eaten by both the bride and groom. By the 18th century, bridal bouquets of herbs and flowers had come to symbolize delicateness, purity, and new life. (Sage meant wisdom and garlic goodness.)

Elinor's bouquet would have been made of locally grown flowers. Sense and Sensibility 1995.

Celtic bouquets would include greenery like ivy or thistle. Love knots made from rope or ribbons were tied inside the bouquets, a tradition that is still followed today. Edible flowers, such as pansies, would often be tucked in among the herbs. In Jane Austen’s era, brides would carry herbs, greenery, or flowers that were in season, and that could be picked alongside the road or from one’s garden. They included roses, peonies, sweet peas, scabious, lilies, and delphinium. New exotic flowers like dahlias, nerines and fuschia would also be included if they were locally grown.  Only the very rich could afford hot house flowers out of season. Once picked, the herbs, flowers, and greenery would be made into a pleasing arrangement and bound by a ribbon.

Pride and Prejudice winter wedding. Would Lizzie have carried dried herbs or would Mr. Darcy have given her flowers from his hot house?

Decorations to suggest – baskets, urns and vases of flowers were all used during this time. The flowers would have been arranged informally with lots of different varieties and colours jumbled together in the same container. Flowers worn in the hair and as buttonholes became popular. Elaborate garlands and swags combining fruit, vegetables and grasses into the designs were used. Hang these around fireplaces, on walls and around windows. – Historically Themed Weddings

It was not until the Victorian times, that the all-flower bouquet became popular. Queen Victoria carried a bouquet of marigolds, which were edible. Small posies were also in vogue and remained so until the early 19th century.

Flowers also carried meanings in what was known as ‘the language of the flower.’  Roses meant love, freesia trust, ivy fidelity, violets hope, and ferns sincerity.  Until modern times, the choices brides would make for their bouquets would be influenced more by symbolic meaning than by shape or color.

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wedding-dress-18182Gentle Readers, My niece is getting married and I will be away for a week to attend her wedding. In celebration, I have created this Georgian to Victorian era wedding dress post that consists of a series of quotes gathered on the topic.

The handsome veil of Mechlin lace,
A sister’s love bestows,
It adds new beauties to her face,
Which now with pleasure glows.
Friends brothers sisters cousins meet,
To attend the happy bride,
And Queer’s joy is all complete,
The nuptial knot is tied –
The Dandy’s Wedding, London, 1823, Two Centuries of Costume in America, MDCXX-MDCCCXX By Alice Morse Earle

Hand made lace was extremely expensive and few brides could afford a veil. As the 19th century progressed and machine made laces became more readily available, the bridal veil became more prevalent at weddings.
White was not the prevalent color for wedding dresses during this era. Royal bridal gowns were made of silver tissue and lace, and for a short time regency brides preferred to wear yellow bridal dresses over other colors.

You may be surprised to learn that in the 1800’s, it was common for brides to wear everyday colors such as blue, pink, green, dark brown, burgundy and, yes, even black, rather than white and ivory. It was much more practical for a bride of the average class to wear darker colors for a variety of reasons. One major reason being money. Prudent brides planned ahead – a wedding gown could be worn for many occasions, not just on their “special day.” The wedding gown was a lady’s “best dress” after the ceremony and it was much more practical to have a darker colored dress than a white or ivory dress. Let’s take a minute to imagine the time and effort involved in keeping the hemline of a white gown clean! Dust and dirt and no modern conveniences! Just think about what a white hemline would look like at the end of a day! Laundering was a big consideration, unless, of course, the lady was from a prominate family who had servants available to handle the laundry. – Wedding Gown Traditions

Princess Charlotte's silver net wedding gown, 1815

Princess Charlotte

Description of Princess Charlotte’s Wedding in 1816: The Royal Bride, happy in obtaining him whom her heart had selected, and whom consenting friends approved, wore on her countenance that tranquil and chastened joy which a female so situated could not fail to experience. Her fine fair hair, elegantly yet simply arranged, owed more to its natural beautiful wave than to the art of the friseur; it was crowned with a most superb wreath of brilliants, forming rosebuds with their leaves.

Her dress was silver lama [lamé] on net, over a silver tissue slip, embroidered at the bottom with silver lama in shells and flowers. Body and sleeves to correspond, elegantly trimmed with point Brussels lace. The manteau was of silver tissue lined with white satin, with a border of embroidery to answer that on the dress, and fastened in front with a splendid diamond ornament. Such was the bridal dress … La Belle Assemblee, May 1816

In the 1800’s, gray became a color for wedding gowns for brides of lower classes because the dress became re-used as the bride’s Sunday best. For those who had to wear a dress that would be used for regular occasions after the wedding, many brides would decorate the dress for the special day with temporary decorations.

The “traditional” wedding dress as known today didn’t appear until the 1800’s. By 1800, machine made fabrics and inexpensive muslins made the white dress with a veil the prevailing fashion. By the nineteenth century, a bride wearing her white dress after the wedding was accepted. Re-trimming the dress made it appropriate for many different functions.- Ezine Articles: Wedding Dresses

Satiric wedding scene, Thomas Rowlandson

Satiric wedding scene, Thomas Rowlandson

1907 Worth Wedding gown

1907 Worth Wedding gown

The bridal image has not always been white. Wedding dresses were virtually any color in the 1800’s, said Phyllis Magidson, the curator of ”New York Gets Married.”

”It was simply the best dress your family had to offer, meant to be worn at special occasions thereafter,” she said. A very wealthy woman might have her gown made at Maison Worth in Paris, where a dress could cost as much as a middle-class person’s salary for a year, but for most people, Ms. Magidson added, ”wearing something that was specifically and solely intended to be worn for the wedding — the concept that we have of being a fairy princess — is a fairly contemporary perception.”

Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840 was the 19th-century equivalent of Lady Diana Spencer’s extravaganza in 1982, and Victoria just happened to get married in white because she wanted her gown trimmed with a particularly rich lace. Her wedding-picture engravings were so widely circulated that the public began to associate white with weddings, Ms. Magidson said. – New York Times, Style, 1997

Queen Victoria's White Gown

Queen Victoria

The wedding of Queen Victoria had more of an impact than most and actually started an entirely new trend when she decided not to wear the traditional royal silver bridal gown. Instead Queen Victoria gave the white wedding dress completely new meaning and symbolism when she married her beloved Prince Albert in a simple dress, made of white satin, trimmed with Honiton lace, with Honiton long veil and a wreath of orange blossoms to represent purity. It was then that white became the dominant, traditional choice, symbolizing purity and maidenhood. – Emma’s Wedding Diary

Reproduction wedding dress in two parts, from 1799 model

Reproduction wedding dress in two parts, from 1799 model

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There is an old poem about how the color of your wedding dress will influence your future: “Married in white, you will have chosen all right. Married in grey , you will go far away. Married in black, you will wish yourself back. Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead. Married in blue, you will always be true. Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl. Married in green, ashamed to be seen, Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow. Married in brown, you’ll live out of town. Married in pink, your spirits will sink.” – History of the White Wedding Dress

Modern Jane Austen inspired chiffon gown wedding dress

Modern Jane Austen inspired chiffon gown wedding dress

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One of the reasons I love the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is the way it ended so romantically with the wedding of Marianne and Colonel Brandon. The scene began with children waving colorful ribbons on sticks following a man to church carrying a two- or three-tiered cake on a pole. How did this tradition start, I wondered? And why did the celebrants follow it?
First, let’s address the tiered wedding cake, whose origin lies in a romantic, though unsubstantiated tale:

Thomas Rich “was a young man apprenticed to a baker near Ludgate. He fell in love with his master’s daughter and, at the end of his apprenticeship when he set up his own business, asked for her hand in marriage. The proposal was given her father’s approval. As a baker, Rich wished to create a spectacular cake for the wedding feast, but was unsure of how to create something completely new for his betrothed…until, one day, inspiration hit him. A cake in layers tiered, diminishing as it rose. And thus began, according to the story, the tradition of the tiered wedding cake, based on Wren’s steeple for St. Brides. – City of London Churches, by Mark McManus

The origin of the wedding procession is steeped in history, tradition, and superstition. The custom began in the days of the Romans as a morning offering to the gods and an evening filled with song. Symbolically the bride was transferred from her home to that of the groom, who now assumed guardianship of his wife. While symbolism remained – wheat stood for ‘plenty’, for example – singers and musicians began to accompany the procession, adding an especially festive touch.

In medieval times, the processional was especially colourful. Gaily dressed minstrels sang and piped at the head of the procession. Next came a young man bearing the bride-cup, which was a chalice or vase of silver or silver-gilt, decorated with gilt, rosemary and ribbons. Then the bride walked, attended by two bachelors, and a dozen or so knights and pages. Next came maidens carrying bride cake, followed by girls with garlands of wheat. The bridegroom then appeared, led by two maidens, and walked in the midst of his close friends, including his “best man.” The relatives walked after him, and these were followed by less intimate friends. Finally, at some distance and appearing to have no concern in the festivities, or ceremony, appeared the bride’s father! – The Origins of the Members of the Bridal Party

As time progressed, the whole affair could become so noisy and disorderly that complaints were made by the town council. Should the groom elect not to walk with the procession, he would meet his bride at the door of the church or at the altar.

Ancient superstitions were attached to the wedding procession, many having to do with the success of the marriage and the couple’s happiness. One English custom said that the guest who found a ring in their slice of wedding place would be assured of happiness during the coming year. The ring would have been placed deliberately inside the cake before it was baked. In Yorkshire, if a plate holding wedding cake broke when it was thrown out of the window as the bride returned to her parents home after the ceremony, then the couple’s future would be happy. (From Wedding Superstitions)

Bonus Question: What role did Edward Ferrars play on the day Marianne and Colonel Brandon were married?

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