I was married in December 1990. It was a strange fashion time, no longer the 80s but not quite anything else yet. Neon and acid wash was still in, sadly, but I remember stirrup pants and body suits as the thing to wear. Puffy, full skirted wedding dresses were quite popular still, thanks mainly to Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981, as were fishtail gowns. Scott and Charlene's Neighbour's wedding in 1987 also spurned a movement, especially in gyp in bouquet and headpieces, and her dress was quite Victorian in style. Strapless gowns did make an appearance, but hadn't yet become the ultimate bridal dress, as they seem to be now. Really anything went, but white and ivory were the colours to wear, with pastel bridesmaids.
|Scott and Charlene (played by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue), 1987|
What about 100 years earlier? The Wedding Day was the most important event in a Victorian girl's life – she knew no other ambition. Only women in Wyoming (from 1869) and in Utah (from 1870) were allowed to vote. Australian women would wait another four years. Women has no rights – unless she were rich in her own right, she had to marry, and marry well.
|A New Zealand wedding party of 1890, all in white, except the groom source|
|Illustration of Victoria and Alberts Wedding, 1840 (they rein acted it for film in 1853) source|
The marriage of Queen Victoria to her cousin Albert of Saxe- Coburg in 1840 has had more influence on weddings than any other –the Queen wore white and set it as THE colour of choice for weddings. Strangely though the men's’ breeches did not remain a tradition. In 1890, Ladies Home Journal wrote: “That from times immemorial the bride’s gown has been white”. Although this statement was not true, it shows how deeply accepted it was that a wedding gown be white. The style of wedding dresses of the 1890s closely resembles the fashions of the time, with a fitted bodice, small waist, and full skirt over hoops and petticoats. The fabric would be organdie, tulle, lace, gauze, silk, linen or cashmere, with the fine gauze veil in sheer cotton or lace. Veils were attached to a coronet of flowers, often orange blossoms for the bride and roses or other in-season flowers for the attendants, who would also wear white. The bride's accessories included short white kid gloves, silk stockings embroidered up the front, and shoes decorated with bows or ribbons at the instep.
|1. Cuban American couple Jenny and Ygnacio Castaneda on their wedding day in Florida, 1890, source|
|2. Unknown but smart wedding couple, 1890 source|
Give him a hug, come on you’re allowed to now! The groom has his arm around his bride, unusual in wedding photos of the time,. The brides dress has a short train, and the groom wears a long jacket with patent leather shoes, and a super moustache.
|3. Minne Cory marries Mr Kent, Chicago, 1890 source|
|4. Sgt Major Nickel and his wife. Toowoomba, QLD 1890 source|
|5. David and Clara Boyton on their wedding day, Wagga Wagga, Australia, 18 December 1890 source|
The bride’s dress has frills at the hem and she wears her corsage at the centre rather than the side, and she carries a fan – a concession to a strong Australian summer no doubt! The groom wears lighter pants and boots with his dark jacket and waistcoat.
|6. Charles H. Castle and Alice Horton were married on Dec 25,1890 in New York source|
|7. Carl Ernst Miller and Wilhemina Caroline Abrahm 7 June 1890 source|
The bride has a small corsage, and looks to have a ribbon draped across her, but no veil or bouquet. The couple are not touching, either. In this next photo the couple are almost touching, and the bride wears a long black jacket with a white bow over a black skirt, with no flowers to be seen.
|8. George Stahl and Amy Ann Brooks, wedding in Iowa, 1890 source|
|9. The Swedish wedding of Brudparet Olinus and Berta Nilsson source|
Her dark dress is accented with white lace and a large ribbon, and a long veil with an interesting head piece. A similar dress with larger headpiece in another Swedish wedding. And the dark gloves are interesting. I suppose it may be very cold!
|10. Brudparet Per Persson and Brita Eriksdotter , in Hälsingland. 1890. source|
I think my favourite gown is number 9, what about you? Oh, and please, if you know what the Swedish head pieces were made of, let me know. I’m sure it’s not gingerbread, although it does look a bit like it!