Edwardian Wedding Fashion and Traditions

Edwardian wedding fashion

Edwardian Wedding Fashion and Traditions

Edwardian bride
Bride wearing 1890s-era fashion and carrying a bouquet with a maidenhair fern.

As the new century dawned in 1901, fashion was quickly changing.  Soon hemlines would rise while necklines would fall, and dress styles began to hug a woman’s body.  Wedding fashions, however, did not move so drastically and were sometimes behind the times when compared to streetwear.  Wedding traditions, on the other hand, were surprisingly recognizable.  Let’s examine Edwardian wedding fashion and traditions.

At the beginning of the era, wedding fashion was transitioning from the 1890s.  Wedding dresses had puffy sleeves and high, stiff necklines.  The wedding party often wore large hats.

The woman’s suit became popular during the era, and it also appeared in wedding fashion.  Not everyone could afford to purchase a dress that would be worn only on one day.  A suit or a special-occasion dress could be worn again in the future, hence stretching the bride’s clothing budget.

Empire-waist dresses made a comeback after about 100 years, but unlike other special occasional dresses of the era, wedding dresses still maintained high necklines and long, tight sleeves.

Veils were made of lace and supported by tiaras, ringlets of flowers or mob caps.

Bridesmaids often wore pastel shades, but in earlier decades wore white like the bride.

Female members of the bridal party accessorized with jewelry.

World War 1 is the traditional end of the Edwardian era.  The war brought about many changes to not only wedding fashion but courtship and marriage.

Wedding Traditions

Edwardian bride
Edwardian bride wearing fashion common later in the era

Wedding fashions may have changed a great deal since 1914, but wedding traditions have been fairly consistent over time.  Here are some examples:

  • Engagement rings: Engagement rings became popular for the first time in the 19th  Rings didn’t necessarily feature a diamond like today’s rings, but could include other precious gems and pearls.
  • Bouquets: Bouquets were large, although the height and width varied depending upon the year.  Flowers were accompanied by a train of flowing ribbon and maidenhair fern.
  • The Wedding Reception: Receptions were typically held in early to mid-afternoon, following a morning wedding.
  • Wedding Gifts: In affluent families, gifts were put on display the day before the wedding.  No matter social class, not buying the couple a gift was considered a breech of etiquette.
  • Honeymoons: For those who could afford it, a long honeymoon was commonplace.  The location was generally kept secret and wasn’t revealed until the couple’s return.
  • Second weddings: Weddings in the era could be grand affairs.  Second weddings, however, were much simpler.

Edwardian Wedding Videos

These Edwardian-era films illustrate wedding fashion.

 

If you had access to a time machine, would you want to attend an Edwardian wedding?  Leave a comment below.

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Melina Druga
Most kids have an active imagination. My imagination has stayed strong into adulthood, and I’ve funneled that creativity into a successful writing career. I write history, both fiction and nonfiction, because although your school history classes may have been boring, the past is not. My goal is to bring the past to life in all its myriad of colors.
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