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Wedding Etiquette

The circumstances under which weddings take place are so varied, and the religious forms observed in their solemnization so numerous, that to lay down rules applicable to all cases would be a matter of great difficulty, if not an impossibility. Consequently only those forms of marriage attended with the fullest ceremonies, and all the attendant ceremonials will here be given, and others may be modeled after them as the occasion may seem to require. After the marriage invitations are issued, the fiancee does not appear in public. It is also de rigueur at morning weddings, that she does not see the bridegroom on the wedding-day, until they meet at the altar.

THE BRIDEMAIDS AND GROOMSMEN

Only relatives and the most intimate friends are asked to be bridemaids—the sisters of the bride and of the bridegroom, where it is possible. The bridegroom chooses his best man and the groomsmen and ushers from his circle of relatives and friends of his own age, and from the relatives of his fiancee of a suitable age. The dresses of the bridemaids are not given unless their circumstances are such as to make it necessary.

THE BRIDAL COSTUME

The most approved bridal costume for young brides is of white silk, high corsage, a long wide veil of white tulle, reaching to the feet, and a wreath of maiden-blush roses with orange blossoms. The roses she can continue to wear, but the orange blossoms are only suitable for the ceremony.

COSTUMES OF THE BRIDEGROOM AND USHERS

The bridegroom and ushers, at a morning wedding, wear full morning dress, dark blue or black frock coats, or cut-aways, light neckties, and light trousers. The bridegroom wears white gloves. The ushers wear gloves of some delicate color.

PRESENTS OF THE BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM

Where the bride makes presents to the bridemaids on her wedding-day, they generally consist of some articles of jewelry, not costly, and given more as a memento of the occasion than for their own intrinsic worth. The bridegroom sometimes gives the groomsmen a scarf pin of some quaint device, or some other slight memento of the day, as a slight acknowledgement of their services.

CEREMONIALS WHEN THERE ARE NO USHERS OR BRIDEMAIDS

When there are no bridemaids or ushers the marriage ceremonials at the church are as follows: The members of the bride’s family proceed to the church before the bride, who follows with her mother. The bridegroom awaits them at the church and gives his arm to the bride’s mother. They walk up the aisle to the altar, the mother falling back to her position on the left. The father, or relative representing him, conducts the bride to the bridegroom, who stands at the altar with his face turned toward her as she approaches, and the father falls back to the left.

The relatives follow, taking their places standing; those of the bride to the left, those of the groom to the right. After kneeling at the altar for a moment, the bride, standing on the left of the bridegroom, takes the glove off from her left hand, while he takes the glove off from his right hand. The service then begins. The father of the bride gives her away by bowing when the question is asked, which is a much simpler form than stepping forward and placing his daughter’s hand in that of the clergyman. Perfect self-control should be exhibited by all parties during the ceremony.

The bride leaves the altar, taking the bridegroom’s right arm, and they pass down the aisle without looking to the right or left. It is considered very bad form to recognize acquaintances by bows and smiles while in the church.

The bride and bridegroom drive away in their own carriage, the rest following in their carriages.

INVITATIONS TO THE CEREMONY ONLY

When the circle of friends on both sides is very extensive, it has become customary of late to send invitations to such as are not called to the wedding breakfast, to attend the ceremony at church. This stands in the place of issuing cards. No one must think of calling on the newly married couple who has not received an invitation to the ceremony at church, or cards after their establishment in their new home.

THE LATEST CEREMONIALS

The latest New York form for conducting the marriage ceremony is substantially as follows:

When the bridal party has arranged itself for entrance, the ushers, in pairs march slowly up to the altar and turn to the right. Behind them follows the groom alone. When he reaches the altar he turns, faces the aisle, and watches intently for the coming of his bride. After a slight interval the bridemaids follow, in pairs, and at the altar turn to the left. After another brief interval, the bride, alone and entirely veiled, with her eyes cast down, follows her companions. The groom comes forward a few steps to meet her, takes her hand, and places her at the altar. Both kneel for a moment’s silent devotion. The parents of the bride, having followed her, stand just behind her and partly to the left. The services by the clergyman now proceed as usual.

While the bride and bridegroom are passing out of the church, the bridemaids follow slowly, each upon the arm of an usher, and they afterward hasten on as speedily as possible to welcome the bride at her own door, and to arrange themselves about the bride and groom in the reception room, half of the ladies upon her side and half upon his—the first bridemaid retaining the place of honor.

THE USHERS’ DUTIES

The ushers at the door of the reception room offer themselves as escorts to parties, who arrive slowly from the church, conducting them to the bridal party, and there presenting them by name. This announcement becomes necessary when two families and two sets of friends are brought together for the first time. If ladies are present without gentlemen, the ushers accompany them to the breakfast or refreshment room, or provide them with attendants.

At the church the ushers are the first to arrive. They stand by the inner entrance and offer their arms to escort the ladies, as they enter, to their proper seats in the church. If a lady be accompanied by a gentleman, the latter follows the usher and the lady to the seat shown her. The ushers, knowing the two families, understand where to place the nearer, and where the remoter relatives and friends of the bridal party, the groom’s friends being arranged upon the right of the entrance, and the bride’s upon the left. The distribution of guests places the father (or guardian) of the bride at the proper place during the ceremony.

ANOTHER FORM OF CHURCH CEREMONIALS

The ceremonials for the entry to the church by the bridal party may be varied to suit the taste. Precedents for the style already described are found among the highest social circles in New York and other large cities, but there are brides who prefer the fashion of their grandmothers, which is almost strictly an American fashion. In this style, the bridemaids, each leaning upon the arm of a groomsman, first pass up the aisle to the altar, the ladies going to their left, and the gentlemen to their right. The groom follows with the bride’s mother, or some one to represent her, leaning on his arm, whom he seats in a front pew at the left. The bride follows, clinging to the arm of her father (or near relative), who leads her to the groom. The father waits at her left and a step or two back of her, until asked to give her away, which he does by taking her right hand and placing it in that of the clergyman. After this he joins the mother of the bride in the front pew, and becomes her escort while they pass out of the church.

In case there are no bridemaids, the ushers walk into church in pairs, just in advance of the groom, and parting at the altar, half of them stand at one side and half at the other. While the clergyman is congratulating the bride, they pass out in pairs, a little in advance of the wedded couple.

WEDDINGS AT HOME

Weddings at home vary but little from those at church. The music, the assembling of friends, the entree of the bridal party to the position selected, are the same. An altar of flowers, and a place of kneeling can be easily arranged at home. The space behind the altar need be no wider than is allowed for the clergyman to stand. The altar is generally only a fender or railing entirely wound and concealed by greenery or blossoms. Other floral accessories, such as the marriage-bell, horseshoe, or white dove, etc., can be arranged with ease by a skillful florist, if desired.

When the marriage ceremony is concluded, the party turn in their places and face their friends, who proceed to congratulate them. If space be required, the kneeling stool and floral altar may be removed, a little later, without observation.

THE EVENING WEDDING

If the wedding occur in the evening, the only difference in the ceremonials from those in the morning is that the ushers or groomsmen wear full evening dress, and the bridal pair retire quietly to dress for their journey before the dancing party disperses, and thus leave unobserved. At the morning wedding only bridemaids, ushers and relatives remain to witness the departure of the pair.

“AT HOME” RECEPTIONS

When the newly married couple commence life in a home of their own, it is customary to issue “at home” cards for a few evenings, at an early date after the wedding, for informal receptions. Only such persons are invited as the young couple choose to keep as friends, or perhaps only those whom they can afford to retain. This is a suitable opportunity to carefully re-arrange one’s social list, and their list of old acquaintances may be sifted at the time of the beginning of housekeeping. This custom of arranging a fresh list is admitted as a social necessity, and nobody is offended.

CALLS

All guests and friends who receive “at home” invitations, or who are invited to the church, are required by etiquette to call upon the family of the bride, or to leave their cards, within ten days after the wedding.

THE WEDDING RING

All churches at present use the ring, and vary the sentiment of its adoption to suit the customs and ideas of their own rites. A jeweled ring has been for many years the sign and symbol of betrothal, but at present a plain gold circlet, with the date of the engagement inscribed within, is generally preferred. The ring is removed by the groom at the altar, passed to the clergyman and used in the ceremony. A jeweled ring is placed upon her hand by the groom on the way home from the church, or as soon after the service as is convenient. It stands guard over its precious fellow, and is a confirmation of the first promise.

THE MARRIAGE CEREMONIALS OF A WIDOW

The marriage ceremonials of a widow differ from that of a young lady in not wearing the veil and orange blossoms. She may be costumed in white and have her maids at the altar if she pleases. This liberty, however, has only been given her within a few years. On her wedding cards of invitation, her maiden name is used as a part of her proper name; which is done in respect to her parents. Having dropped the initials of her dead husband’s name when she laid aside her mourning, she uses her Christian name. If she has sons or unmarried daughters at the time she becomes again a wife, she may prefix the last name of her children to her new one on all ceremonious occasions in which they are interested in common with herself. This respect is really due them, and etiquette permits it, although our social usages do not command its adoption. The formalities which follow the marriage of a widow can seldom be regulated in the same manner as those of a younger bride. No fixed forms can be arranged for entertainments, which must be controlled by circumstances.

INVITATIONS

Wedding invitations should be handsomely engraved in script. Neither Old English nor German text are admissible in invitations. The following is given as the latest form for invitations:

This invitation requires no answer. Friends living in other towns and cities receiving it, inclose their cards, and send by mail. Residents call on the family within the prescribed time, or as soon after as possible.

The invitation to the wedding breakfast is enclosed in the same envelope, generally conveyed on a square card, the same size as the sheet of note paper which bears the invitation for the ceremony after it has been once folded across the middle. The following is one of the adopted forms:

The separate cards of the bride and groom are no longer necessary.

The card of admission to the church is narrower, and is plainly engraved in large script, as follows:

Generally only half an hour intervenes between the ceremony and the reception.

DUTIES OF THOSE INVITED

People who receive “At Home” wedding invitations, are expected to acknowledge them as soon as received, and never fail to accept, unless for some very good reason. Guests invited to the house, or to a marriage feast following the ceremony, should not feel at liberty to decline from any whim or caprice.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE BRIDEMAIDS AND USHERS

Bridesmaids and ushers should allow nothing but illness or some unavoidable accident to prevent them from officiating, thus showing their appreciation of the friendship which has caused their selection to this honored position. If by reason of sudden affliction, some one of the bridemaids or ushers is prevented from attending, a substitute should, if possible, be provided immediately. The reasons for this, however, should be well understood, that no opportunity may be given for uncharitable comments.

BRIDAL PRESENTS

When bridal presents are given, they are sent to the bride previous to the day of the marriage ceremony. As the universal bridal present has fallen into disuse, this custom is not now considered obligatory, and if immediate friends and relatives desire to make presents, it should be spontaneous, and in no sense considered obligatory. These presents are not put on exhibition as formerly, but are acknowledged by the bride in a private note to the donor. It is not now considered in good form to talk about these contributions.

ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE CEREMONIES

In weddings at churches a master of ceremonies is often provided, who is expected to be at the church as soon as the doors are opened. He arranges beforehand for the spreading of a carpet from the church door to the pavement, and if the weather be inclement, he sees that an awning is also spread. He also sees that a white ribbon is stretched across the main aisle of the church, far enough back from the altar to afford sufficient room for all invited guests to occupy the front pews of the main aisle. Sometimes an arch of flowers extends over the aisle, so as to divide those who come in wedding garments, from those who do not. The organist should be early at his post, and is expected to play during the arrival of guests. The order of the religious part of the marriage ceremony is fixed by the church in which it occurs.

THE WEDDING FEES

There is no prescribed fee for performing the marriage ceremony. It is regulated according to the means and liberality of the bridegroom, but no less amount than five dollars should be given under any circumstances.

THE CONGRATULATIONS

At wedding receptions, friends who congratulate the newly married couple should address the bride first, if they have any previous acquaintance with her, then the bridegroom, then the bridemaids, and after that the parents and family of the bride and groom. They should give their good wishes to the bride and congratulate the bridegroom. If they are acquainted with the bridegroom and not with the bride, let them address him first and he will introduce them to his bride.

THE BRIDAL TOUR

The honeymoon of repose, exempt from all claims of society, is now prescribed by the dictates of common sense and fashion, and the same arbiters unite in condemning the harrassing bridal tour. It is no longer de rigueur to maintain any secrecy as to their plans for traveling, when a newly married couple depart upon a tour.

Further reading:
Our Deportment by John H. Young

The Wedding Of Princess Mary & William, Duke Of Gloucester

George III loved his children dearly. But, like most parents, he didn’t like how quickly they grew up. He would probably have liked them to remain little forever, and he always treated them like they were. He made sure his heir stayed well away from all political affairs, refusing to teach him the job and give him the practical training a good king badly needs.

His six daughters didn’t fare better. They lived a secluded, quite life they knew would end only with marriage. Problem was, their father didn’t seem keen to arrange any union for them. To start with, he limited their choice of potential husbands. Anyone who was a Catholic or of an inferior rank was excluded.

Then he decided that younger daughters couldn’t marry until the elders were settled. But, really, he just didn’t want to let them go. And when he went mad, all talk of marriages was put off while doctors tried to cure him.

And so princess Mary, his fourth daughter, waited and waited. No doubt, over the years, she had started to believe her time would never come. But it did, eventually. Mary was 40 when she finally married her cousin, Prince William Frederick, the Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh.

The 40 year old prince, regarded as a tiresome fool by most of the family, had been on hold to marry Princess Charlotte, the heir to the throne, should no other suitable candidate be found. But she had just married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, leaving William Gloucester to marry Mary. The speed at which the marriage took place suggests the couple was fond of each other and already had some sort of longlasting understanding.

On 22 July 1816, Mary and William tied the knot in a private ceremony in the grand saloon at St. James’s Palace. It had been draped in crimson velvet and gold lace for the happy occasion. When all the guests were assembled in the saloon, her brothers, the Dukes of Cambridge and Clarence handed her in. The Princess looked modest and overcome.

According to the Ladies Monthly Museum: “Her Royal Highness was dressed with her usual beautiful simplicity; she wore no feathers, but a bandeau of white roses fastened together by light sprigs of pearls. Her neck was ornamented with a brilliant fringe necklace: her arms with bracelets of brilliants formed into flowers, and her waist with a girdle to correspond with her bandeau. Her whole appearance was very lovely. The ladies present were also most splendidly dressed: the prevailing color was blue.” The groom was dressed in his uniform of a field-marshal and wore the Order of the Garter.

The Prince Regent, who had rejected the Duke of Gloucester as a suitor for his daughter Charlotte and only reluctantly gave him permission to marry his sister, gave Mary away. Lady Albinia Cumberland, a guest to the wedding, described the event thus:

“The Prince Regent stood at the other end to the Duke of Gloucester. She [Mary] stood alone to the former, quite leaning against him. Indeed she needed support. I pitied the Duke of Gloucester, for he stood a long time at the altar waiting till she came into the room, giving cakes, carrying wine, etc… She then went to the Queen and her sisters, and was quite overcome, and obliged to sit down, and nearly fainted..”

Eventually, it was time to leave for their honeymoon, as the Belle Assemblee reported: “At a quarter before ten o’clock the bride took off her nuptial ornaments, and arrayed in a white satin pelisse, with a white satin French bonnet, she set off with her royal husband to Bagshot, amidst the blessings and good wishes of her family, and the loud huzzas of the multitude assembled on the happy occasion.”

Further reading:
Nineteen Teen
Regency History
Princesses: The Six Daughters Of George III By Flora Fraser

The Wedding Of Princess Mary Of Teck And Prince George, Duke Of York

As Princess Mary of Teck walked down the aisle to her waiting groom, George, Duke of York, she must have thought about the tragedy that led her to this day, and this union. Mary, the daughter of the Duke of Teck and Princess Mary of Cambridge, a cousin of Queen Victoria, was originally engaged to George’s older brother, Albert Victor, known as Eddy, the Duke of Clarence and Avondale. Eddy was neither particularly attractive nor intelligent, and pretty much a stranger to Mary, but none of that mattered.

Queen Victoria, who was very fond of the English born and raised princess, thought the pair was well-matched and so, when Eddy proposed, in 1891, Mary said yes. But a few weeks later, tragedy struck. Eddy caught influenza, which developed into pneumonia. On 14 January 1892, he died at Sandringham House, Norfolk, less than a week after his 28th birthday. At his funeral, Mary laid her bridal bouquet of orange blossoms on Eddy’s coffin.

Mary may have now slipped into oblivion if Queen Victoria hadn’t decided that she had what it takes to make a great Queen. So, she encouraged a match between Mary and Eddy’s younger brother and now second in line to the throne, George. The entire country expected George to propose to Mary too. But both Mary and George initially had lots of doubts about the suitability of this match. But, a year after Eddy’s death, George proposed and was accepted. Time would prove they had made the right choice. The couple quickly became very devoted to each other.

The weather was hot and sunny, with only a slight refreshing breeze, on 6 July 1893, as the royal procession made its way in open carriages to the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace, London, among the cheers of the large crowd that had come to witness and celebrate the happy event. The bride looked stunning in a silver and white brocade gown, decorated with roses, shamrocks, and thistles and her mother’s lace veil. In her hands, she was holding a bouquet of white flowers.

“Dear May looked so pretty & quiet and dignified”, Queen Victoria later wrote in her journal, “She was vy. simply and prettily dressed–& wore her mother’s lace veil. The bridesmaids looked vy. sweet in white satin, with a little pink & red rose on the shoulder & some small bows of the same on the shoes…. Georgie gave his answers distinctly…while May, though quite self-possessed, spoke vy. low.”

The ceremony was performed by the the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Benson, with the assistant of the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Rochester. Among the guests were Alix of Hesse and the Tsarevitch Nicholas of Russia, which had recently got engaged. Afterwards, the royal party and their guests went to Buckingham Palace where a luncheon was served. The guests enjoyed a delicious meal, which ended with a very ambitious wedding cake.

Made by Mr Poplin, “it was was 6ft. 10in. high, and weighed between 2cwt. and 3cwt. This cake…took the Royal confectioner five weeks to make, there being as many as thirty-nine separate pieces of plaster in some of the figure moulds. Altogether, there were at this wedding six immense cakes, on what is known as the “general table,” and in addition to these, Mr. Ponder made sixteen or eighteen smaller cakes for cutting up, each cake averaging about 22lb. Moreover, Messrs. Gunter say that they cut up no fewer than 500 slices of wedding-cake on this occasion.”

At 5pm, Mary, now wearing a dress of white Irish poplin, and George left the party for their honeymoon. They would spend it at York Cottage, on the grounds of the Sandringham Estate.

Further reading:
Edwardian Promenade
Madame Guillottine
Queen Mary 1867-1953 by James Pope-Hennessy

The Wedding Of Prince Alfred & Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna

Prince Albert, the fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, had set his eye on the 17 year old Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna. But everyone seemed to be against the match. Marie Alexandrovna didn’t want to leave Russia. Her parents weren’t keen on that idea either. They much preferred to keep their daughter close. And Queen Victoria would absolutely never consent to her son and his wife to live in Russia, a country she never particularly liked.

In 1871, after a meeting with Alfred, Tsar Alexander II wrote his mother: “Your praises for our daughter, flattered us a great deal, but [Alfred] has surely told you, Madam, that while not in any way opposing a union between our two families, we have made it a principle never to impose our will upon our children as regards their marriages. Although speaking to him of a term of one year before taking any definitive decision, we expressly declared that neither he nor we would consider ourselves bound in any way, neither before nor after, and he seemed to understand this perfectly.”

It seemed to poor Alfred that he would never get his wish. But about three years later, things changed. The Tsar’s mistress bore him a son, which created a rift between him and the rest of his family. Family life was becoming hell, and Marie seriously began thinking about marrying Alfred and moving abroad.

Negotiation were resumed and, in April 1873, Alfred visited Marie and her mother in Sorrento, Italy. This meeting was far from romantic. Marie fell ill with fever. But her mind was now made up and that June, their engagement was announced. “I know that you will be glad to know how much I love Alfred and how happy I am to belong to him,” the bride-to-be wrote to an aunt. “I feel that my love for him is growing daily ; I have a feeling of peace and of inexpressible happiness, and a boundless impatience to be altogether his own.”

The couple got married at St. Petersburg on January 23, 1874. Two religious ceremonies were performed, one Orthodox and one Anglican. Marie walked down the aisle dressed in a gown with a silver train and a purple mantle trimmed with ermine, as was customary for Russian imperial brides. On her head, she wore both a sumptuous tiara with pink diamonds and a sparkling crown. She looked “very pale but sweet and earnest and calmly happy”. But for her father, it was a bitter-sweet occasion. “It is for her happiness, but the light of my life is gone,” the tsar was heard saying.

Alfred and Marie stayed in Russia for several weeks before leaving for England. But their marriage, which looked so promising at the beginning, was an unhappy one. To add insult to injury, it didn’t even improve Anglo-Russia relations, as it was hoped.

Further reading:
Dearest Affie by John Van der Kiste and Bee Jordaan

Marie Louise's Wedding Dress

On 2 April 1810, Marie Louise Of Austria walked down the aisle at the “Salon Carré” turned chapel, in the Palais De Tuileries, to marry Napoleon, the man she had been thaught to hate since she was little.

To add to her uneasiness, she wore a dress entirely chosen and made for her in France (like her great-aunt Marie Antoinette before her, Marie Louise had had to leave all her belongings behind at the French border). To make matters worse, reminders of Josephine, Napoleon’s first wife, were everywhere. Including the new bride’s outfit.

The imperial cloak, made of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, and embroidered with gold, the soon-to-be Empress was wearing had been donned by Josephine at her ex-husband’s coronation in 1804. The long train was carried by Caroline Bonaparte, Queen of Naples, Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland (married to Napoleon’s brother Louis), Julie Clary, Queen of Spain (married to Napoleon’s brother Joseph), and Catharina of Wurttemberg (married to Napoleon’s brother Jerome).

The wedding dress she wore underneath was created by Leroy, the most fashionable and famous dressmaker of the Directory and Empire eras. His success was due both to his own talent and to Josephine’s patronage. The ex-empress had often worn his creations.

For Marie Louise, he designed long, flowing gown with a high waist that hugged her figure. It was made from silver tulle netting, embroidered with lamé and pearls. Her hair was covered by a veil in Alencon lace, held in place by a sparkling diamond tiara.

On her feet, she donned a pair of white satin slippers, embroidered with silver, created by Janssen. Unfortunately they were too small and hurt her feet. To finish off her outfit, she wore diamonds from the French Crown Jewels.

Do you like her wedding dress?

A Wedding Anniversary Guide

The custom of celebrating anniversary weddings has, of late years, been largely practiced, and they have become a very pleasant means of social reunion among the relatives and friends of both husband and wife. Often this is the only reason for celebrating them, and the occasion is sometimes taken advantage of to give a large party, of a more informal nature than could be given under other circumstances. […]

Upon these occasions the married couple sometimes appear in the costumes worn by them on their wedding day, which they have preserved with punctilious care, and when many years have intervened the quaintness and oddity of the style of dress from the prevailing style is a matter of interest, and the occasion of pleasant comments. The couple receive their guests together, who upon entering the drawing-room, where they are receiving, extend to them their congratulations and wishes for continued prosperity and happiness.

The various anniversaries are designated by special names, indicative of the presents suitable on each occasion, should guests deem it advisable to send presents. It may be here stated that it is entirely optional with parties invited as to whether any presents are sent or taken. At the earlier anniversaries, much pleasantry and amusement is occasioned by presenting unique and fantastic articles, gotten up for the occasion. When this is contemplated, care should be taken that they should not be such as are liable to give offense to a person of sensitive nature.

THE PAPER, COTTON AND LEATHER WEDDING

The first anniversary of the wedding-day is called the Paper Wedding, the second the Cotton Wedding, and the third the Leather Wedding. The invitations to the first should be issued on a grey paper, representing thin cardboard. Presents, if given should be solely articles made of paper.

The invitations for the cotton wedding should be neatly printed on fine white cloth, and presents should be of articles of cotton cloth.

For the leather wedding invitations should be issued upon leather, tastily gotten up, and presents, of course, should be articles made of leather.

THE WOODEN WEDDING

The wooden wedding is the fifth anniversary of the marriage. The invitations should be upon thin cards of wood, or they may be written on a sheet of wedding note paper, and a card of wood enclosed in the envelope. The presents suitable to this occasion are most numerous, and may range from a wooden paper knife or trifling article for kitchen use up to a complete set of parlor or kitchen furniture.

THE TIN WEDDING

The tenth anniversary of the marriage is called the tin wedding. The invitations for this anniversary may be made upon cards covered with a tin card inclosed. The guests, if they desire to accompany their congratulations with appropriate presents, have the whole list of articles manufactured by the tinner’s art from which to select.

THE CRYSTAL WEDDING

The crystal wedding is the fifteenth anniversary. Invitations may be on thin, transparent paper, or colored sheets of prepared gelatine, or on ordinary wedding note-paper, enclosing a sheet of mica. The guests make their offerings to their host and hostess of trifles of glass, which may be more or less valuable, as the donor feels inclined.

THE CHINA WEDDING

The china wedding occurs on the twentieth anniversary of the wedding-day. Invitations should be issued on exceedingly fine, semi-transparent note-paper or cards. Various articles for the dining or tea-table or for the toilet-stand, vases or mantel ornaments, all are appropriate on this occasion.

THE SILVER WEDDING

The silver wedding occurs on the twenty-fifth marriage anniversary. The invitations issued for this wedding should be upon the finest note-paper, printed in bright silver, with monogram or crest upon both paper and envelope, in silver also. If presents are offered by any of the guests, they should be of silver, and may be the merest trifles, or more expensive, as the means and inclinations of the donors incline.

THE GOLDEN WEDDING

The close of the fiftieth year of married life brings round the appropriate time for the golden wedding. Fifty years of married happiness may indeed be crowned with gold. The invitations for this anniversary celebration should be printed on the finest note-paper in gold, with crest or monogram on both paper and envelopes in highly-burnished gold. The presents, if any are offered, are also in gold.

THE DIAMOND WEDDING

Rarely, indeed, is a diamond wedding celebrated. This should be held on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the marriage-day. So seldom are these occurrences that custom has sanctioned no particular style or form to be observed in the invitations. They might be issued upon diamond-shaped cards, enclosed in envelopes of a corresponding shape. There can be no general offering of presents at such a wedding, since diamonds in any number are beyond the means of most persons.

PRESENTS AT ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

It is not, as before stated, required that an invitation to an anniversary wedding be acknowledged by a valuable gift, or indeed by any. The donors on such occasions are usually only members of the family or intimate friends, and may act at their own discretion in the matter of giving presents.

On the occasion of golden or silver weddings, it is not amiss to have printed at the bottom of the invitation the words “No presents,” or to enclose a card announcing—

“It is preferred that no wedding gifts be offered.”

INVITATIONS TO ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

The invitations to anniversary weddings may vary something in their wording, according to the fancy of the writer, but they are all similar. They should give the date of the marriage and the anniversary. They may or may not give the name of the husband at the right-hand side and the maiden name of the wife at the left. What the anniversary is should also be indicated.

The following form will serve as a model:

A proper variation will make this form equally suitable for any of the other anniversary weddings.

MARRIAGE CEREMONY AT ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

It is not unusual to have the marriage ceremony repeated at these anniversary weddings, especially at the silver or golden wedding. The earliest anniversaries are almost too trivial occasions upon which to introduce this ceremony. The clergyman who officiates may so change the exact words of the marriage ceremony as to render them appropriate to the occasion.

Further reading:
Our Deportment, by John H. Young

Historical Reads: The wedding of George V and Mary of Teck

Madame Guillotine remembers the wedding of King George V and Mary of Teck. To quote:

Like the earlier royal bride, Catherine of Aragon, May was first engaged to the older brother of her eventual husband. And like Diana Spencer nearly a century later, May was recommended for the role of royal bride by a member of the royal family. In this case, it was her mother’s cousin, the Queen. Victoria believed May would make a suitable wife for her grandson and eventual heir to the throne, Albert Victor (Eddy), the Duke of Clarence and Avondale. Although she barely knew him and he was not very attractive, the impecunious May could not refuse when Eddy proposed in 1891. Tragically, he succumbed to a flu epidemic a few weeks later, and, within days, died of pneumonia. Instead of carrying it down the aisle, May laid her “redundant bridal bouquet of orange blossom on Eddy’s coffin.”

Victoria, who was devastated by the loss of Eddy and by the tragic end to her wedding plans, encouraged Eddy’s younger brother, George, then Duke of York, to comfort the bereaved May. Just five months after his brother’s death, George proposed. Again, May agreed – despite not knowing George very well at all. On the 6th July 1893 the 28 year old George and his 26 year old bride married in the small Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace, where the Queen herself had married Albert in 1840.

To read the entire article, click here.

Victorian Wedding Cards

During the nineteenth century, the bride and groom would give their friends and acquaintances wedding cards to invite them to their new home. The form and wording of these cards changed throughout the years, but usually they contained the new home address and the days when the bride would be at home to receive the good wishes of anyone who wanted to visit her. At first these cards were an invitation to a banquet during which sweetmeats (usually including the wedding cake) and wine were served, with the announcement of the marriage and the new address of the couple.

In time, this banquet and the invitation to come and congratulate the bride were abolished and the wedding card simply stated the new address and when the couple would come back from their honeymoon. As time went on, these cards became even simpler: at first the address wasn’t included anymore, then the date was left out as well and the card sent in a very plain white envelope and then they were substituted by the ordinary calling cards of the bride and groom joined together with a silver tread.

The Household Cyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Daily Wants, published in 1873 says about wedding cards: “though fashions are continually changing with regard to wedding cards, the plainer they are the better. Silver-edged cards, or cards tied together with a silver cord, are quiet and pretty. A much-to-be commended fashion has of late years been largely adopted of dispensing with the use of wedding-cards. When this is so, the friends are at liberty to call as soon as they please after the return from the honeymoon. These various calls, whether by invitation or simply as morning calls, must be returned by the bride and bridegroom; or if that is not possible by the bride and her chief bridesmaid.”

Further reading:
The household cyclopædia of practical receipts and daily wants
Marriage Customs Of The World by George P. Monger

Creeling The Bridegroom

Creeling The Bridegroom was a curious wedding custom carried out in Scotland until the beginning of the nineteenth century. This tradition takes its name from the creel (basket) the groom had to carry around the town the day after the wedding. The happy couple and their friends would meet early and fill the creel with stones. Then, they’d tie it to the groom’s back and the poor man had to run around the town, followed by some of his friends to make sure he didn’t drop some of the stones off on the way. He would keep running thus until his wife agreed to kiss him. Only then he could stop.

It seems that, in Ayreshire, this custom was carried out a little differently. Here, the event took place two days after the wedding and the male friends of the couple would take turns to carry the creel full of stones. They’d allow the women to catch them and rewarded them with a kiss. At last, the creel was given to the husband, whom usually had to carry it for a long time before his wife decided to give him a kiss and put an end to the game. This custom represented the burdens a man takes on with marriage and which can be relieved by a good wife.

But not all new husbands were willing to be creeled. Robert Chambers, in his The book of days, Vol.1, published in 1864, mentions how one of those recalcitrant husbands put an end to this custom in the village of Galashels: “The practice, as far as Galashiels was concerned, came to an end about sixty years ago, in the person of one Robert Young, who, on the ostensible plea of a ‘sore back’, lay a-bed all the day after his marriage, and obstinately refused to get up and be creeled; he had been twice married before, and no doubt felt that he had had enough of creeling.”

Further reading:
Marriage Customs Of The World by George P. Monger
The Book Of Days, Vol.1 by Robert Chambers

Historical Reads: Weddings In The Edwardian Era

Evangeline, author of the Edwardian Promenade website, has written an interesting article on weddings in the Edwardian era. To quote:

The most important parts of the wedding were the bride’s gown and trousseau. The traditional attire for a bride was a gown of soft, rich cream-white satin, trimmed simply or elaborately with lace, a wreath of orange-blossoms, and a veil of lace or tulle. The skirt had a train, and except at an evening wedding, waists cut open, or low at the neck, or with short or elbow sleeves (unless the arms were covered with long gloves) were not approved for brides. A wedding gown was supposed to be sumptuous and of the most costly materials, for the bride was privileged to wear her wedding down for six months after her marriage at functions requiring full dress. The train averaged eighty inches in length, though very tall brides wore ninety-five inch trains.

The actual service was an equally lavish affair: the bride was driven to the church with her father, where relatives and guests awaited. Once the bride alighted from the carriage, the bridesmaids and ushers preceded her, two by two, as her father escorted her down the aisle. As the bridesmaids and ushers reached the lowest altar step, they moved alternately left and right, leaving space for the bridal pair. When the bride reached the lowest step, the groom took her by her right hand and conducted her to the altar where they both kneeled on an elaborate kneeling cushion. Formerly, brides removed the whole glove for the groom to place the ring on her finger, but by the turn of the century, gloves were made with a removable left ring-finger, to facilitate easy access. After the ceremony, the bride and groom marched down the aisle to a choir and strewn rose petals and were immediately driven home.

To read the entire article, click here.