Dame Fashion’s wedding rules (1899)

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Dame Fashion’s wedding rules

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Until this season bride-elects never appeared at any social gatherings of importance after their wedding cards were issued. That rule is now a dead letter, and up to the day before her wedding, a young woman is seen everywhere. Of course this is the natural result of the recent and reasonable revolt against putting together and elaborate trousseau. Smart girls in New York society, for instance, who are marrying this spring, have provided themselves with suitable wardrobes for the season and nothing more, and this, with the getting of the wedding dress, has left them time and strength for all the passing gaieties of the moment.

Another new and interesting point in the present busy hymenial season is the very early sending out of invitations. Cards are posted just a month before the day of the wedding, and a rule somehow has arisen ordaining that directly on receipt of the invitation the wedding present must be sent, or within four days after receiving the invitation. By this means the bride is not troubled with the straggling in of gifts up to the very day of the ceremony, and a heavy demand on her vocabulary of thanks all in the week preceding her marriage and maybe the week after.

>> Wedding tips and etiquette (1914)

There is also another deep-laid design in sending out invitations so early. A bride who posts her cards four weeks before the great day fully expects her friends to call upon her promptly, and by skillful conversation acquire a pretty clear notion of what she really wants in the way of a gift. Relatives and intimate friends are expected to openly solicit her wishes on that point, or you can take aside her mother, who knows the young lady’s wishes, and will considerately give helpful tips.

Too many persons are negligent in acknowledging the receipt of a wedding invitation, or are puzzled to know just how such an invitation should be treated, accepted or regretted. One fixed rule to keep in mind is the importance of acknowledging this courtesy and doing so promptly. If asked to the church only answer by the accepted formula in the third person, saying “Mr and Mrs Blank accept with pleasure Mr and Mrs So and So’s kind invitation to the marriage of their daughter on June 21, at half past three o’clock, at St. Johns’ Church,” or Mr and Mrs Blank regret that illness (or absence) will prevent their acceptance, etc.” This same phrasing is employed when the invitation is to the church and the house after the ceremony, the sentence “and to the breakfast (or reception) at four o’clock” added at the end of the page on which the reply is given.

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It is now regarded as not only inconsiderate, but a distinct ill omen for a bride to keep her guests and her fiance waiting one moment over the time set for the ceremony, and brides of this spring have proudly boasted that they stepped into the church aisle exactly as the clock struck the hour.

This spring also the superstitious fancy has arisen for catering to the lucky fates by putting the right foot first on entering the church, on turning to leave the chancel, and on entering the carriage.

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White lilac and asparagus fern have been the choicest bridal bouquet since the lilacs came into flower, but with the passing of these nothing has been considered smarter than a bouquet of pure white rhododendrons and acacia blossoms. White sweet peas and asparagus fern is another lovely combination very much the mode, and it seems to be the universal custom now for every wedding guest to wear a buttonhole bouquet or breast knob of white flowers.

>> Colored stone engagement rings (1899)

It was the accepted fashion a little while ago for every bride to go to the altar leaning on the arm of her father, brother, or whichever male relative was chosen to give her away. Now this custom is rather more frequently honored in the breach than otherwise, for the bride has come to the conclusion that not only is a supporting arm not needed, but that she makes a more striking and effective appearance proceeding up the aisle alone. When this form of procession is adopted the father of the bride gives his wife his arm up the aisle, and only when his daughter is at the foot of the chancel steps does he come forward, take her hand in his, hand her to her fiance, and stand beside her until the marriage lines are all pronounced.

Where do the relatives come in and what does the best man do with his hat? are questions that cause anxiety occasionally. Abroad they follow the very expressive custom of lengthening out the bridal cortege with the lady’s parents and immediate relatives. When the wedding march begins, following the bridesmaids, the mother of the bride goes up the aisle on the arm of her son, or grandparents go first, followed by married sisters and brothers of the bride, her aunts, uncles, and even her cousins. This is occasionally the arrangement in America, though as a rule, the family come in first, quietly take their places, and the wedding march announces the bride, preceded by the ushers and flower girls, and followed by her maids. The mother of the bride usually comes to the church in the carriage with the head bridesmaid or maid of honor, and the other members of the family arrive with the other attendants. When the ceremony is over the mother and father go down the aisle together and then the remainder of the family follow and pass out by the central door.

>> Bridal gowns & wedding attire (1857)

The best man leaves his hat in the vestry and gloves as well, because he must at the altar hold the hat and gloves of the groom, and he would present a very overworked aspect if he stood at attention with a high hat in either hand. When he gives the groom his hat and gloves he returns hurriedly to the vestry, picks up his own belongings and drives away to the bride’s house from the side entrance of the church.

A woman who is married in a traveling dress ought not to have any bridesmaids. Her bouquet can be held during the ceremony by the relative who gives her away, and when a couple are married and leave at once for their honeymoon journey, the groom goes to the train or steamship in the frock coat in which he was married.

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