Well, ladies and gents!
One of the most important events in a woman’s life, timelessly and internationally, is marriage. Most women, at every age, growing up think about their marriage. Don’t tell me you didn’t do it, too!
Naturally, things are completely different in today’s era than how they were in the Regency era. The conditions, the economy, the materials that were available at that time were dramatically influential even in such an important event as a wedding.
Keep reading, this article is going to be a fun one 😉
Which future bride does not devote hours, days, months in choosing the right wedding dress? This is both instantaneous and at the same time important to the bride. Let’s not forget that the purpose of a wedding dress is to be used for one day only. Where else would you go wearing your wedding dress? Dinner? 🙂
I don’t think it’s any more of a surprise that even the wedding dress was completely different back then. The cost of the fabrics made them prohibitive even for wealthy families. Only a very wealthy bride would be considered to make a dress that she was going to wear only once. So it made sense for them to make a good dress for their wedding day…but not a bridal one. A dress they could wear again!
The modern trend of the white wedding dress did not exist at that time. Maintaining a white outfit back then was almost impossible. If we consider the conditions, we will understand why. The only wash available back then was hand washing. Or in the best case, washing in a water mill.
Only wealthy families could afford white fabrics. So most of them used colored fabrics. Ordinary colors such as yellow, green and blue were very common. Middle or low-income families, due to financial difficulty, used to wear dark colors such as black, dark brown, burgundy. These are colors that could uphold for years without fading.
Also, the type of fabric differed according to the financial situation of the family. If the bride could afford it she would use silk, satin, and lace. The decorations on the wedding dress could be changed so the bride could wear the dress again, after the wedding. Brides did not wear a veil as this fashion came from France during the Victorian era.
As is natural, the groom’s attire was different. Another era, different customs, different morals.
Grooms usually wore a dark cutaway, tailed jacket, with the buttons left open to show the waistcoat. Inside the waistcoat, they wore white shirts made of muslin or linen, with a white string. The one place on a man’s attire which could be of bright colors was the waistcoat. The groom’s attire was complete with black socks and a hat.
Invitations and Announcements
Another important parameter in a wedding is choosing the right invitations.
Depending on the status and financial position of the family, the marriage was held in small circles. Apart from the families of the groom and the bride, there were witnesses, the bridesmaid and groomsman and of course the priest. Neighbors, friends, and others who wanted to wish the couple, waited outside the church. Obviously those who lived far away were difficult to attend.
The announcement in the newspaper, local and national, was very important. Indeed, it was given that it would be published in the newspaper and it was that fact which validated the couple’s union. Finally, in the announcements, it was customary to name the bride’s father, not her own. In addition, it was important that all titles were written. Yet again, who would dare to forget them?
Regency-era weddings were not complicated and were ordained by the church. The only thing needed to validate the marriage was the priest, two witnesses and a parish clerk who would have to make sure to officially register the marriage.
Weddings took place in the morning, in the sunshine and on any day, although on weekends they were avoided. Saturday was considered sacred, and Sunday service was held at the church, which would cause problems for the wedding ceremony.
The guests arrived at the church on foot, as the carriages were not easily accessible to anyone. Only the wealthy could afford to own or hire a carriage for this purpose. Flowers, herbs, and others were spread out in the space in order to give a different atmosphere to the event. The bride was handed over to the groom by her father, the couple exchanged vows and rings. The ring also differed depending on the financial status of each family. But in any case, it was necessary, as without ring there was no wedding.
When the ceremony was over, the newly married couple, the priest, two witnesses and the parish official, would sign the “marriage lines” in the parish register book.
These “marriage lines” made the wedding official and were the legal proof that it had been done. They produced a copy that they handed over as the bride’s property.
The signatures were followed by a meal in honor of the newlyweds. Since weddings were held in the morning, the wedding table was serving breakfast! Well, of course!
Regardless of whether they were invited to the ceremony, the couple’s friends and relatives were invited to the wedding breakfast. Many times, however, the couple left the church and went straight to the honeymoon so the guests celebrated on their own.
Regency-era sweets were very different from the ones we know today and naturally depended on the materials they could supply. They usually had fruitcake, soaked with amounts of alcohol, mostly wine, brandy or rum. Almond crumbs were poured on the top and then baked in the oven.
If a family wanted to show off their wealth, they would cover the cake with sugar icing to make it white. Sugar at that time was very expensive, so the more sugar the cake had, the more money the couple had.
After the wedding, the bride moved in with her husband. Most couples, as we said, started their honeymoon right after the ceremony. It wasn’t the rule, though. The honeymoon depended on the season, the year, the developments that existed—for example, whether there was an increase in bandits—as well as the financial potential of each couple.
It was very common to dedicate honeymoon trips to visit long-lived family members. Alternatively, they chose romantic destinations, maybe on a lake. Still, if they had any business, for example, some remote plantations, they would certainly combine work and vacations.
It was also very common, the bride’s sister or best friend to travel with the couple. This may seem strange to us now, but it was necessary at that time. Because, let’s not forget, most couples didn’t know each other. They had spent very little time together before the wedding, so it was important that there was a familiar person to avoid awkward discussions.
Well, that’s it, sweetie!
Thank you for reading this article of mine! Please let me know your thoughts about it—did you enjoy it?
If there is anything else you’d be interested in reading about the Regency Era, feel free to let me know…
…and who knows? Maybe you will read about it soon!
Written by Olivia Bennet