Weddings Traditions Of The 1900’s
The Victorian era ended as the 1900’s began, therefore the wedding traditions of the 1900’s started with the new Edwardian era, which continued throughout the first decade of the new century. The fashion of this time was silk, lace and other luxurious fabrics. The main characteristics of this decade were luxury and wealth, which can be seen through the wedding tradition of the dresses that were worn at the time. Where the Victorian era was focused more on elegance and the maturity of the wedding dress, the Edwardian dresses were a lot more flowing and softer. While the Edwardian era was in fashion, a lot of the wedding dresses did maintain some Victorian era qualities about them well into the 1900’s.
This was the beginning of a new century. It was the time of the Gibson girl and the arrow collar boy. At this time you would often see in many wedding photographs that it was popular not to smile. During this time when couples were getting married, they wanted something new but also wanted to maintain some of the older wedding traditions. The engagement ring that women wanted had changed to the new diamond solitaire, along with a high gold pronged Tiffany setting, which is still popular today. At this time it seemed that a man would have to be in a good financial state before he could get married.
The bridal flowers that were popular at this time were orange blossoms, white roses, lilies of the valley and white orchids. The groom would pay for these bridal flowers and this wedding tradition is still going on today. The procession of the wedding changed depending on what the couple wanted. Some couples stayed with the old tradition of the flower girls leading the way, followed by the father of the bride and the bride herself, to people holding a garland of flowers and the bride walking under them to the altar. Most of the formal weddings of the time would have the bridesmaids and the groomsmen walk separately in the procession, but pair up and follow the bride and groom in the recessional.
This was the beginning of the new woman, when equal rights and suffragette was coming to the forefront. Women wanted to be seen as equal to men, but still most brides at the time only thought of wedding finery. The tight long dress and heavy beading of the time resulted in most women having a tilted posture due to the weight of the clothes that was called the Grecian bend.
In this decade the cars of this time were becoming a lot more dependable, therefore long distance travel was becoming more popular with newlyweds for their honeymoons, as well as the practice, and popularity, of having out of town weddings. The new hair fashion was curls, but brides with straight hair usually could not afford the new Nestle permanent wave. One thing that really changed was the absence of gloves. Gloves before the 1910’s were very significant in women’s fashion as gloves were considered a gift of courtship.
In the 1920’s most people did not have a care in the world, therefore weddings became very informal. Elopements and the justice of the peace were being used more than a minister, causing many of the old wedding traditions to disappear. Also as prohibition began, many weddings would serve punch that was spiked with homemade bathtub gin.
This decade saw that most brides did not want to be walked down the aisle by their father. This was apparent as a lot of the older generation was becoming crowded out by young people, as the popular statement at the time was “youth-bright flaming youth.” The engagement ring also began to change – again, thus matching the wedding band with the ring became popular. Also popular was the square or lace mounts and the color changed from gold to either white gold or platinum.
The biggest thing that you will notice about weddings in the 1950’s is the return to more elaborate and formal church weddings. Dignity returned in the 1950’s and the correct formal wedding attire was not only expected of the bride, but also the groom and his groomsmen. In addition, if you could not afford the wedding clothes at the time, you now have the opportunity to rent them. Also, many brides were known to look up old pictures of their Grandmother’s wedding so they could make their wedding more traditional like hers.