Wedding Dresses in Georgian England
by Jenna Jaxon
The Georgian wedding gown was foremost an elegant and fashionable garment for the ladies in the ranks of the nobility. This in part stemmed from the idea that the gown, although worn first on one’s wedding day, would also be part of the bride’s regular wardrobe after the wedding. Therefore, current fashion was a great consideration when ordering the wedding gown.
Our usual vision of a wedding dress is of the long white satin gown with a train, encrusted with lace and pearls. But the white gown was brought into fashion almost a hundred and fifty years after the eighteenth century, by Queen Victoria when she married Prince Albert in 1840. Eighteenth century brides wore white gowns, but silver and blue were also popular colors. The color blue was especially trendy because in that era it was linked to purity more so than white. Blue was also associated with piety and the Virgin Mary. Some brides chose bold colors, such as deep blue, red, or purple for their wedding gowns because the darker shades helped hide dirt at the hems better. The only color brides avoided was green, which was considered unlucky due to its association with fairies.
The picture here is the wedding dress worn by Mary Chaloner in 1763 for her marriage to Colonel John Hale, from the McCord Museum. As you can see, prints were also popular for bridal wear.
Bridal gowns were also a way for families to show off their wealth and social status. Women’s dresses were expensive due to the sheer yardage needed for eighteenth century fashions. Wedding gowns were doubly so as they entailed not only the yards and yards of fine fabric (silk, velvet, satin), but also the costly lace and jewels often sewed onto the fabric. So if the bride appeared so sumptuously attired on her wedding day, her family would be showing all the world just how affluent they were.
In Only Marriage Will Do, because of the circumstances, we never get to see what Lady Juliet Ferrers wears to her wedding. But I suspect it would have conformed to the current standards that brides of the time adhered to.
|A beach wedding dress ...|
ONLY MARRIAGE WILL DO
Not every happy-ever-after begins at “I do.”
When the hero of her dreams rescues Lady Juliet Ferrers from the man claiming to be her husband, she is sure she has found her one true love. But is she free to marry him? Not to be deterred, Juliet arranges for her hero, Captain Amiable Dawson, to escort her to her family estate, hoping that along the way she can win his love.
Amiable is charmed by the sweet, beautiful woman he rescued, and although he has grave reservations about her marital status, he allows himself to be swept up into Juliet’s romantic spell and the promise of a happy-ever-after.
The spell breaks when legal questions arise and Juliet faces the horror of not knowing if she is married to her knight in shining armor or the cruel viscount who is determined to have her at any price.
|These Hawaiian flowers look like a bridal bouquet ...|
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London. Only Marriage Will Do, the second book in the series, is set to release in June 2015 from Kensington. Her medieval serial novel, Time Enough to Love: Betrothal, Betrayal, and Beleaguered, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death. The next book in that series, a short story called Beloveds, will release in May 2015.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.
Find Jenna Jaxon online:
|Hawaiian wedding ... Gangnam style!|
Mahalo, Jenna, for visiting us at SOS Aloha! Jenna is giving away a digital copy of ONLY MARRIAGE WILL DO to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about wedding dresses - do you have a favorite style? Do you have a favorite celebrity dress? Do you watch Say Yes to the Dress? I liked Angelina Jolie's dress with her children's drawings etched into the skirt.
2. Comments are open through Saturday, June 13, 10 pm in Baltimore.
3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 14.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City
I don't have a favourite because I don't pay attention to celebrity weddings but the dress that Kate Middleton wore is lovelyReplyDelete
I don't watch celebrity weddings either, Linda. But I agree, Kate Middleton's was beautiful. So was Lady Diana Spencer's in her day. Thanks for coming by!Delete
I don't have a favorite style, however, simple is better.ReplyDelete
I have to agree with you, Karen. I like simple. My wedding dress was patterned after Julie Andrews' wedding dress in The Sound of Music, very simple but elegant. Thanks so much for coming by today!Delete
I loved my daughter's dress. It looks unimpressive on the hanger but is amazing on. I did watch that show once with my daughters.ReplyDelete
That seems to be the way of it, Debby The woman often makes the dress come to life. Thanks so much for stopping by today!Delete
I don't have a favorite wedding dress style and I've watched Yes To The Dress once.ReplyDelete
I've found wedding dress styles come and go with the time and the trends. I remember seeing one wedding dress pattern from the late 1970s, during the Star Wars craze, that looked like Princess Leia's white robe. LOL Thanks for coming by, Danielle!Delete
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Kim!ReplyDelete
I love most wedding dresses. My daughter (who was married twice) has had two beautiful ones lol. I still have mine. My mom's was made into various clothing by relatives who lived overseas (was right after WWII).ReplyDelete
I like the classic look in wedding dresses. I still have mine too. I hope my girls will make it over to use in their weddings. Thanks for coming by, catslady.Delete
Another fabulous and informative post, Jenna. Love how they wouldn't were green because of the fairy connection.ReplyDelete
And - Say Yes to the Dress and Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta are my guilty pleasures for TV viewing.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Daryl. Glad you liked the post. :)Delete
My favorite wedding dress style is the empire line. I do like simplicity as well. I don't pay to much attention to the celebrity wedding gowns, so I can't pick one. However, every bride is beautiful on her wedding dress. My parents married during WWII and my mother wore her best dress.... it just happened to be black! ;o)ReplyDelete
The Victorians made a rhyme about colors of wedding dresses. I only remember a couple off hand: Married in blue, your lover is true. Married in black, you'll wish yourself back. I hope that didn't hold true for your mom! Thank you for coming by, Betty.Delete
oooh... what a fun post! Can you imagine wearing all that!!! goodness, I'd be running for the hills in my "shift"! Ummm... I'm short and squat, so I'm not a big dress person to begin with, so for me a perfect wedding "dress" would be capri pants and a t-shirt on the beach :) congrats to Jenna on her new release and thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Erin! :) It always boggles my mind that women wore all the clothes they did and didn't melt! Of course on your wedding day it would be even worse with nerves. lol I think your capri and tee idea is a keeper!Delete
I enjoy watching Say Yes to the Dress. Since there are so many beautiful wedding dresses available, I don't really have a favorite style. Kate Middleton looked fantastic in her wedding gown.ReplyDelete
I have never watched Say Yes to the Dress, but it sounds like an interesting show, especially if you have a wedding coming up. Thanks so much for coming by, BookLady!Delete
My own dress was really pretty at the time--it looks very early 90s now. lol.ReplyDelete
Sometimes, I watch Say Yes to the Dress--did you know Author Valerie Bowman was on it?
Thanks for coming by, Denise. I bet that was a fun episode with Valerie Bowman!Delete
I love the satin gowns of the 40's and 50's, the sleek lines of the movie stars. I wore my grandmother's dress when I was married the first time. My grandmother died three days before my wedding and was my best friend. So wearing her dress was a testament to her.ReplyDelete
Aww, Melissa, what a bittersweet memory. I know it felt like she was there with you. Thanks so much for coming by.Delete
I don't have a favorite. I think that every bride looks gorgeous in whichever dress they choose.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Diane. What a lovely sentiment--and true too!Delete
I don't have a favorite style. I like most of them. I liked Princess Kate's dress.ReplyDelete
Thank you for coming by, Linda. Kate looked stunning in her gown, didn't she?Delete
No, I don'tReplyDelete
That's okay, bn 100. I don't have a chance to watch it either. :) Thanks for coming by today, though.Delete
Thanks for the wedding dress history, Jenna! I honestly haven't paid much attention to wedding styles in the past 23+ years. Not since I picked out my dress. ;-)ReplyDelete
I LOVE wedding dresses!! I got married on the beach, so I just wore a white sundress. I did, however, buy a 2-toned A-line ball gown as a wedding dress for a "someday" vow renewal. ;)ReplyDelete
I have watched Say Yes to the Dress and really enjoy it. I don't really have a favorite because I think each dress needs to fit the bride.
Congrats on the new release, Jenna!
Thanks for sharing, Kim!
Please do not enter me into this contest as I already have a copy. Thank you. :)Delete