Many of today's traditional wedding customs saw the light at the beginning of the 19th century and the first known fashion plate representing a bride wearing a white dress and a veil appears in 'Le Journal des Dames et Des Modes' of 1813. The French Revolution had shaken up old customs in all stratas of society, hence the new regime looked to the Classical era for inspiration. The wedding veil became popular again, weddings became more of social occasions than the family affairs of old. Where French fashion lead the English was sure to follow and soon the English bride wore white at her wedding just like her French sisters.
Although the English fashion journals are rather silent on wedding dresses during the Regency era, there is a rare print in 'Ackermann's Repository' o for June 1816 p of a wedding dress in white satin with an overdress in striped gauze and trimmed with Brussels lace. It was to be worn with pearl jewelry, white satin slippers and white kid gloves but no veil.
The second picture is an unique print of a bridal couple of 1826 q. This one is from the German edition of 'Le Journal des Dames et Des Modes' r, one of the leading fashion periodicals of the time.The bride is wearing a white dress, lavishly trimmed with blonde lace, white shoes and a white veil. The groom has a white waistcoat and a double-breasted coat in cloth with a velvet collar and Cashmere pantaloons. A beaver hat and a fine striped cravat sets of the whole, no buttoniere though.
The German (and Belgian) editions of the magazine differed from the French edition by often combining prints from the original edition. We cannot then say for certain that the male in this print is dressed in a special wedding suit. However, we CAN draw the conclusion that the magazine editor considered men's morning wear suitable for the groom.
In Journal des Dames (Costume Parisien) of 1820 s we find the first reference to the use of orange blossoms as the flower of choice for the bride. The dress is white lace over satin, tied back with a wide sash that ends in a bow, and trimmed at the bottom with a satin rolleau. The gown has short puff sleeves and is worn with long white gloves. It's noteworthy that the veil is referred to as d'Angleterre -in the English style. We are tempted to draw the conclusion that the veil was popular in England before the fashion spread to France!
By 1823 t fashion had changed and now dictated long sleeves worn with mittens rather than gloves. The sprigged white gown is trimmed with a double lace flounces and a lace trimmed veil, white mittens and white kid slippers complets the picture.
The same journal had a plate in 1824 u picturing a bride all in white: White dress, white lace trim, white lace veil, white gloves, white shoes, the lot. Attending her is her maid or of honor in an elaborate gown of her own, if we can believe the print, also in white. Since all but one known fashion print comes from Journal des Dames we could call it the bridal magazine of the age. To be sure the fashion of creating a wedding dress especially for that occasion appears to have started in French and spread from there to other parts of the Western world.
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