Vintage wedding dresses for stylish brides from 1914

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Brides and bridal gowns from 1914

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

Fashionable, stunning and stylish vintage wedding dresses from 1914

A tradition that is now absolute is that the bride’s gown should have a court train and a high neck and long sleeves, or elbow sleeves. The paucity of evening weddings is no doubt responsible for these details. Long gloves cover the arms to the elbow sleeves now, and the decollete is so demure that there is nothing to shock the conventional.

The most elaborate bridal gowns that have been worn this season have all had court trains. Many wedding gowns worn by brides in the “400” were intended to be worn afterwards by the young matron at one of the English courts held at Buckingham Palace.

At the royal courts, there are certain stringent regulations concerning the length and breadth of the presentation trains that must be observed, so for gowns that will be worn at these functions, the mantle-like train is considered the handsomest appendage and the stateliest mien.

The regulation court train measures three yards from the shoulders to the hem and spreads at the hem to 54 inches, and in order to preclude the varieties of length there might be, owing to the different attitudes of femininity, it is ordained that no train shall extend further on the ground than 54 inches.

New York wedding dress and attendants 1914

Vintage wedding dresses: Royal bridal gowns

One of the most admired bridal gowns this season seen at St. George’s, Hanover Square, and which will be worn by the bride when presented to Queen Mary was made of ivory white satin moire and had a train exquisitely embroidered in gold arabesques. The bridesmaids wore gold and silver embossed blue chiffon, and gold and silver lace caps. Another bride whose wedding was celebrated at St. Paul’s Cathedral wore a gown of white moire and uncut velvet, trimmed with Limerick lace.

A favorite method was used by the dressmaker in fashioning the court train, which fell from the shoulders. A broad scarf of the Limerick lace was employed, and to eke it out to the requisite width it was arranged with folds of moire. The attachment stitching was hidden by an embroidery of diamonds. A chatelaine of orange blossoms completed this bridal toilette. The bridesmaids’ picturesque attire comprised ivory accordion pleated chiff fon frocks and coats of rose du Barrie satin. They carried long Empire sticks decorated with roses and ribbons.

MORE: Vintage wedding etiquette: What friends of the bride & groom needed to know (1914)

Less-elaborate vintage wedding dresses

In the less-elaborate wedding gowns, the train has been replaced by a Watteau pleat, and the tulle veil is usually the rule, unless there is an heirloom that can be used, or when a valuable one is sometimes presented as a gift.

The brides who elect to abjure lace and have a tulle veil must choose it with care and not select any kind likely to split or to absorb the damp should the temperature be moist at the time the ceremony takes place. The veil must be unhemmed, so that it mingles with the train and drapery of the gown without leaving any hard line.

The length depends on the train. Occasionally, but only very occasionally, it is bordered with Mechlin. Valenciennes or point lace. Those who like to wear lace and yet have the becoming soft tulle over the face have lace sprigs and motifs in one corner only.

Sometimes an old lace shawl — a family treasure — is combined with tulle to lengthen it. placed on the head with one point in front, and forms a couple of points at the side and one in the center at the back. Of late the veil has not covered the bride’s face, but the lace is arranged in soft pleats, these with the chaplet, or wreath, forming the semblance of a mop cap.

It is drawn back over the wreath during the service, as the necessity for the bride’s face to be shrouded is not much considered nowadays. Some brides wear divided veils made of tulle so arranged that they appear to be all in one. After the ceremony, the bride detaches the half that fell over her face and hands it to the matron of honor.

Vintage weddings: Dresses for fall brides and their attendants (1914)

Vintage wedding dresses from 1914: The bridal bouquet

A little time ago, a couple of bouquets of orange blossoms were placed at the side of the head, a la Japonais; now a wreath, chaplet or garland, has replaced this mode. Some brides forego orange blossom altogether, and, of course, a widow does not wear it.

White roses, lilies of the valley, myrtle or heather sometimes replaces it. In ancient days, a wreath was as necessary as a ring in the marriage ceremony, and at many weddings among the poor, when several couples were married on the same day, the wreath passed from one to another.

Much in the way of startling novelty was expected from a wedding held at St. Bartholomew’s recently, but nothing came of the high hopes of those who were on the hunt for the bizarre, which they usually mistake for originality.

The bride was a beautiful girl who had too high a sense of beauty to pander to the eccentric. In her wedding dress, she looked like Botticelli, and not like a fashion plate, which did not please the persons to whom nature has denied the requisite soulfulness, the poetry and the picturesqueness to go and do likewise.

A silver gown with Chantilly lace

She wore a magnificent cloth of silver gown, severely straight in cut, with no chiffon frills, no tulle clouds to soften it, nothing but some exquisite English point lace, and even that was worn more out of consideration for a family heirloom than out of conviction. In her arms, this beautiful bride carried a sheaf of lilies. Her only ornament was a heavy gold cross. At this wedding, Chantilly lace, which long ago was fashionable, again made its appearance.

MORE: Getting ready for the wedding: Bridal lingerie (1920)

In fact, it seemed to be very conspicuous. The mother of the bridegroom wore it over a foundation of pearl gray satin that was most distinguished and effective. Although the bride’s gown was simplicity itself, the same could not be said of the bridesmaids’ toilettes. They were arrayed in lovely gowns of pale blue brocaded moire (incidentally, sky blue is again well to the fore as a favorite color) trimmed with silver lace, and they carried large shower bouquets of purple orchids and lilies of the valley.

For the bridal bouquet, white gardenias and lilies of the valley combined with farleyance tern, a new variety, is greatly favored, and bride roses with lilies of the valley is another combination. Aaron roses, white lilac and farleyance fern make a beautiful bridal bouquet.

Brides and bridal gowns from 1914

Brides and their attendants: Vintage wedding dresses and dresses for bridesmaids for autumn of 1914

by Frances Marshall

The most modish bride of the season steps to the altar unhampered by a train. In fact, her skirt is well off the ground, and her veil, voluminous in its fullness, is decidedly abbreviated, suggesting in its silhouette the youthful veiled figure of some Normandy peasant girl going to confirmation rather than the stately wedding array worn a few years ago.

This abbreviation in skirt and veil is the newest note, but it is by no means universal. Only last spring, Mrs Kermit Roosevelt wore a court train almost four and a half yards long, hung from the shoulders, and the skirt terminated in another shorter train.

ALSO SEE: 17 wedding flower arrangements & bouquets (1916)

Although much attention is devoted to the subject of bridal veils this season, there will be very few face veils worn by fashionable brides, and this in spite of the fact that some prominent brides recently have worn them.

Mrs McAdoo’s bridal veil hung to the waist in front. Mrs Kermit Roosevelt struck an interesting compromise when by way of a face veil, she wore a lace frilling about her wedding cap that simply covered the eyes. But the tendency is now to discard the face veil entirely.

Vintage wedding book - Something Old
Vintage wedding dresses and bridal veils

The bridal veil itself was never so interesting or so varied as it is autumn. There is no longer a “conventional” or “correct” mode of wedding veil. Individuality in taste and appearance plays an important part in the selection of the veil.

The bride who would look bewitching in an old rose point veil worn shawl fashion, like a Spanish mantilla, would perhaps lose half her charm in one of the new high arrangements caught at the back of the hair by plumes of orange blossoms. And not every bride who possesses an antique lace bridal veil chooses to wear it, for she sometimes discovers that the full profusion of tulle is infinitely more becoming. The deciding point of the veil, then, seems to be on of greatest becomingness.

New York bride and wedding - fall of 1913

Vintage wedding dresses and the bridesmaid’s gown

A bride’s dress must be designed to set off her beauty, to give her individuality and personality. The bridesmaid’s gown has no such function to perform.

The bridesmaid’s individuality, for the time being, does not exist. She is merely a lay figure, and her gown is created for the sole purpose of riving a satisfactory background — the proper touch of color.

If she chances to look her best in the mode of hat and gown selected by the bride, well and good. It really doesn’t matter if she doesn’t, so long as the gown and hat she wears are well-displayed. It is for this reason that, occasional divergence from the rule notwithstanding, the bridesmaids are usually clad all alike.

MORE: The etiquette of marriage: The ceremony & after (1850)

There is harmony and effect in repetition which cannot be gained in a bridal party in motley array. So the bridesmaids’ gowns should be designed after the wedding gown has been thought out, and whatever attendants — flower girls or pages — are to be or the party should be arrayed in keeping.

Like the bride’s gowns, those of the bridesmaids are made with short skirts this season, and exceedingly pleasing is the effect of the short full frocks similar line and color.

When there is to be but one attendant — a maid or matron of honor — the gown cannot so easily carry out a decorative effect. Any gown suitable for the time and place is satisfactory. That is to say the maid of honor for a house wedding in the evening is suitably dressed in an elaborate evening gown; for a church wedding, an elaborate day costume with suitable hat and accessories is in order.

Fashionable, stunning and stylish vintage wedding dresses from 1914

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