Victorian Wedding Traditions


In Victorian England, namely the Victorian Age, certain wedding traditions were popular. Then again, Queen Victoria herself was responsible for setting some new ones.

Victorian White Wedding Gowns

Queen Victoria wedding photo

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s 1840 wedding

Queen Victoria was the person who made wearing a white wedding dress popular. At her 1840 wedding she wore a white gown trimmed with Honiton lace. Before that, blue was the most popular color, as blue was the symbol for purity. Women most often wore their “best dress”, and if you were wealthy, you showed off your status with rich fabrics like silk, satin or velvet in beautiful hues. Red and gold were popular colors.

The veil was attached to a coronet of flowers, often containing orange blossoms. The bride also wore accessories such as kid gloves, an embroidered handkerchief, silk stockings, and flat shoes decorated with ribbons and bows.

In Victorian England, the entire wedding was intended to be white, with bridesmaids, attendants, and girls also wearing white. You still see this in the British royal weddings of today.

Victorian Men’s Wedding Clothing

The groom’s fashion at a Victorian wedding changed throughout the years. At the beginning of the Victorian era, men wore a frock coat in blue, claret or mulberry, but by mid-reign, this went out of fashion. Men then began to wear the dark coats and black top hat that we still see today. The father of the bride dressed similarly to the groom.

Children’s Wedding Clothing

Children were included in Victorian weddings, with white muslin dresses for the girls with a wide ribbon sash, and green, blue, black or red velvet jackets and short pants for the boys. A round linen collar for the boys was fastened with a large bow.

Bridal Processional Music

Victorian wedding dress photo

Victorian wedding dress

Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria, is said to be the person who popularized using the “Bridal March” by Richard Wagner to walk down the aisle to her groom in her 1858 wedding. Since everyday people wanted to emulate the royals, style was often set by the monarchs and their family members.

Victorian Wedding Flowers

Queen Victoria carried orange blossoms in her bouquet, and to this day, British royal brides also carry orange blossoms tucked into their bouquets.

Victorian Engagement Rings

Victorians were said to have started the tradition of giving an engagement ring as a promise of commitment. A Victorian engagement ring often featured a snake with ruby eyes rather than a diamond as we have today. With Victorians big on symbolism, the snake symbolized eternity.

Victorian Wedding Dates

Previous weddings often took place according to the agricultural calendar with the summer harvest months being less popular. October was the most popular month to marry (as it is today). With the advent of the Industrial Age, people had more freedom as to when they would marry. Weddings took place on Sundays when people were off work, and until 1886, they took place between the hours of 8 am and noon. Later, these hours were lengthened to 3 pm to accommodate working hours and social schedules.

Victorian Wedding Ceremony

Currier & Ives Victorian wedding print

A 1942 Currier & Ives print of a Victorian wedding

By the year 1900, two-thirds of Victorian weddings took place in an Anglican church. One-sixth of couples held a civil ceremony in a registrar’s office, made legal by the Marriage Act of 1836. From 1856, non-Christian places of worship could also be registered for marriage ceremonies. Girls could marry at age 12, and boys could marry at age 14, but the marriage was not considered “binding” until they reached the legal age of 21.

Victorian Wedding Breakfasts

Since Victorian weddings most often occurred in the morning, guests were treated to a breakfast or brunch instead of an all-night reception. Three wedding cakes were prepared: a fruitcake for the guests, a light-colored cake for the bride, and a dark cake for the groom. The bride’s cake was not eaten, but packed away for the 25th anniversary.

Secret Honeymoons

It was consider in bad taste to brag about where a married couple would honeymoon. Following the cutting of the cake, the best man delivered the newlyweds to the train station where they would head off to their destination.

Fascinator or a Hat? What’s the Difference?


Someone asked Miss Meredith Sweetpea this week what was the difference between a fascinator and a hat, and whether someone should remove their fascinator when indoors.

royal family hats

Queen Elizabeth II wears a hat, the Duchess of Cambridge wears a hatinator, and Princess Eugenie wears a fascinator.

What is a Fascinator?

black fascinator

A fascinator is created to be a decoration for the head, and is intended to be part of your entire outfit. It might feature feathers, bows, and structures. Its function is to “fascinate” you and anyone within your viewing range rather than serve as a head covering for warmth or protection.

Since they are small, fascinators are generally attached to the head using combs, clips or headbands. Therefore, they can be worn indoors as well as outdoors and need not be removed.

 

What is a Hat?

white hat

A hat is a larger head covering, meant mainly to cover the head from the elements or as a fashion accessory or part of a uniform. Typically, a hat fits snugly on the head. It is fitted using a hat size matched to the circumference of a person’s head taken about a half inch above the ears. Less expensive hats come in sizes ranging from small to extra large. Hats often feature a brim and are not attached in any way to the head. There are innumerable styles of hats.

Women should remove fashion hats when indoors at work or if it should block anyone’s view, such as at the theatre, wedding or event.

Related: Hats Off! Hat Etiquette for Everyone.

A Third Style: Hatinators

hatinatorA third category is called the hatinator, which combines features of both a fascinator and a hat. It looks like a hat, but is much smaller and is fastened to the head. Its brim normally does not reach beyond the head.

History of the Fascinator

Throughout history, Christian women throughout Europe wore head coverings. Many of them were very richly appointed, and donned with expensive trimmings and feathers. According to Wikipedia, “In the 19th century, a fascinator was also a lightweight hood or scarf worn around the head and tied under the chin, typically knitted or crocheted.” This type went out of fashion in the 1930s.

Hats became smaller, and by the 1960s, were often “perched” upon the head. Remember Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hats?

Today, fascinators are worn during occasions when hats are customary. You often see them at horsey events like the Kentucky Derby or Grand National. And they are noted accessories to any royal event.

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FIND YOUR OWN FASCINATOR

  • Do you have a fascinator? Browse over a thousand darling Fascinators! You might just find one that’s perfect for your look.

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Meredith Sweetpea Cited in Nationally-Trending Article on Fascinators


Meghan-Markle-fascinator

Getty Images

Miss Meredith Sweetpea was pleased to have been cited in a nationally-trending article on May 16, 2018 titled: “Royal Wedding: What is a fascinator and where can I get one?” by Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group. In the article, Lord refers to the rules for wearing fascinators as posted in our own extremely-popular blog post titled: “How to Wear a Fascinator.”

As any good royal watcher knows, hats or fascinators are required headwear at any royal wedding in England. This gives us many opportunities to view the stunning fashions that will appear in the wedding venue and among the many people hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

Fascinators can be worn during the wedding ceremony since they are small enough not to impair the view of people sitting behind. Weating a large hat would be impolite. Fascinators can also be worn the entire day, both inside and out, as they are part of the entire outfit.

Fascinators are generally about four to five inches across at the base, and are either attached to a headband or a hair clip of some sort, and perched atop the head.  A headband itself is not considered an appropriate head covering. A hat would cover the entire head.

Why Do Royals Wear Hats and Fascinators for Formal Occasions?

“When it comes to a special occasion in British society, the special occasion is not complete without a hat,” said Hilary Alexander, fashion director at The Daily Telegraph. No formal attire is complete without a hat, no matter whether you are a royal or a member of the public.

black-fascinatorAccording to the BBC, it is part of royal protocol to wear a hat to all official occasions.

Need a lovely fascinator?

Browse through hundreds of fascinator styles here.

 

 

7 Ways to Decorate with Natural Elements


african-violetsThinking of decorating, one’s mind may jump immediately to fabrics and furniture. However, there are so many natural elements that can bring the outdoors indoors to create harmony.

1. Flowers

Cut flowers can brighten up any space, but don’t overlook the color and drama in flowering plants, such as orchids or African violets. Use your imagination when choosing a flowerpot; just about anything can be repurposed as a planter.

2. Plants

Add color and healthy elements to a room with plants. Group them together using a same-color or same-varietal theme for instant impact.

3. Seashells

Recall your summer vacation with a bowlful of seashells. But don’t stop there, use them to frame a mirror, set them in concrete, or accent a lamp with them. Repeat the theme in your table settings. Continue reading

From Her Majesty’s Jewel Box Blog | Meredith Sweetpea


Miss Meredith Sweetpea has been following a blog called “From Her Majesty’s Jewel Box” for a while now and truly enjoys viewing the various jewels worn by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Cornwall that are posted regularly.

In her blog, the self-pronounced “one snarky magpie American” attempts to chronicle the jewels worn by the royals on their daily engagements. The posts give a brief history of the jewels and links to other events where the jewels can be seen.

There are also sections within the blog where readers can view the jewels by category, like “Tiaras & Crowns,” “Brooches: Ornamental,” and “Orders & Regalia.”

It has been great fun to check on the latest activities of the Queen as well as view the various jewelry she wears that often honors the occasion. For instance, at a recent Ceremony of the Keys event, during her annual week of Scottish engagements, Queen Elizabeth II wore the Royal Regiment of Scotland Badge, the appropriate military badge.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

Some jewels make more frequent appearances than others, lending one to believe that the Queen may have favorites among the bunch. She is most often seen wearing Queen Mary’s Button Earrings and a Three Strand Pearl Necklace, for example.

The Most Famous Tiara: The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland

One of the Queen’s favorite tiaras is the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which was presented to Elizabeth in 1947 as a wedding present from her grandmother, Queen Mary. It was her first tiara and is one of her most recognizable pieces due to its widespread use on British currency and coinage.

For a fun look at the Queen’s jewels, take a look at this blog. Wait, you might want to don your own tiara first.

Fabulous Fascinators of the Royal Ascot Races


ascot-hatHere is a video showcasing some of the fabulous hats and fascinators seen at the Royal Ascot Races in England. Enjoy!

Hats of Ascot video

The Royal Ascot Races begin today, June 20, 2017 through June 24th and attract the finest racehorses from around the world. But some people think the real spectacle is the fashion — the fabulous hats and outfits worn by the spectators.

Ascot Even Has a Dress Code for Hats and Fascinators

The Ascot races website lists a Dress Code for what to wear in the Royal Enclosure, the Queen Anne and Village Enclosures, and the Windsor Enclosure. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Royal Enclosure, the dress code cites that “Hats should be worn; however, a headpiece which has a solid base of 4 inches (10 cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat. Fascinators are not permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a solid base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches/10 cm).”

Miss Meredith Sweetpea wishes she could be there to witness the delightful garden of hats herself. Send us pictures of yourself attending Ascot in your hat!

Why Should I Wear a Fascinator on the Right?


Camilla-fascinator-on-right

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall wears a fascinator.

A number of kind readers have been asking Miss Meredith Sweetpea lately why a fascinator is traditionally worn on the right-hand side of the head.

The custom runs far back into history to when women were generally accompanied by men when they walked down the street. Women of any stature would rarely have occasion to walk alone; she was escorted by her husband, or if single, her father or brother. And of course, both men and women always wore a hat whenever outdoors.

Wearing the Fascinator on the Right Made Perfect Sense

Men traditionally carried their weapon, such as a sword, on their left-hand side, so it made sense that when walking with a woman (when armed), she walk on his right-hand side. Even when men no longer carried swords, the tradition of putting the women on a man’s right continued.

Catherine-Duchess-of-Cambridge-wears-fascinator-on-right

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wears her fascinator on the right.

Another reason to put the women on a man’s right was to position the man between the woman and the street to help protect her fine skirts from becoming splashed by passing carriages or horses traversing the often-muddy roadways.

Therefore, in order to have conversation when walking down the street, a women would tilt her hat to the right to offer a better view of her face to her companion. This also prettily framed her face perfectly for flirting, which only added to her fascination. The pert angle of the hat took on the name “fascinator.”

Today’s milliners often design a fascinator to sit on the right-hand side, in keeping with tradition. But many fascinators are made to suit either side of the face, or to be worn in the center of the head at a slightly forward angle toward. Some people even prefer to wear their fascinator to cover the part in their hair, believing it more attractive worn that way.

There is no hard-and-fast rule about which side is the correct side to wear a fascinator. It is simply up to you to choose.

Woman are Always Right

The tradition of having the women walk on the inside of the man on the street carries on today with polite men and women. Remember the catchphrase, “Women are always right” and it will be easy to remember.

Read More About Fascinators

For more information about fascinators, read our other posts:

Find Your Perfect Fascinator

  • Do you have a fascinator? Browse more than a thousand darling Fascinators! You might just find one that’s perfect for your look.

 

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