Like every aspect in Victorian society, great expectations were placed upon weddings. In fact, during this time frame, several guidebooks for weddings were referred to, one of these books was “Our Deportment: On the Manners and Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined Society” by John H. Young. Many traditions regarding weddings first took place during the Victorian Age and are still followed today.
The Victorian bride was expected to follow many guidelines concerning her wedding. The bride would have been responsible for sending invitations to the wedding, which would have been engraved in script, Old English and German texts would not have been socially acceptable. According to Young, after the invitations were sent, “the fiancée [would] not appear in public.” A country bride and the wedding party would walk to the church on a path of flowers, assuring a happy walk through life. Wealthier brides would have had a gray horse, pulling the wedding carriage to the church as a symbol of good luck (Hoppe).
Young dictates that the “bridal costume” would wear a white silk dress, with a high corsage, a long wide veil of white tulle reaching to her feet, and a wreath of blush roses and orange blossoms, symbolizing purity. In addition, the bride would have white kid gloves, an embroidered hanky with her maiden name initials, silk stockings that were embroidered on the front, and flat shoes with bows and ribbons on the instep. The mid-Victorians, showy in their wealth, would have adorned themselves with pearl and diamonds, often wearing a diamond tiara. The jewelry that the bride wore on her wedding day would have been given to her by her husband (Hoppe). The wedding ring would have been a plain gold band with the date of the engagement inscribed on the inside. It was not until after the wedding that a jeweled ring would be placed on the bride’s hand by the groom, in order to “[stand] guard over its precious fellow” as a “confirmation of the first promise”(Young).
The Bridegroom and Groomsmen
The groom and ushers would wear full morning dress for the wedding. This included dark blue or black frock coats or cut-aways, and light-colored neckties and trousers. The bridegroom, however, would wear white gloves, while the ushers would wear gloves of a “delicate” color. According to Young, the bridegroom would give his groomsmen a...