Some of today’s brides want to feel as though they’re living their impression of what a Victorian wedding might have been like, and thus they go in search of Victorian wedding dresses. What they find is that, the dresses are glamorous, and their wedding ends up exactly how they always imagined it might.
One misconception about Victorian wedding dresses is that they were all white. In reality, until the wedding of Queen Victoria, most wedding dresses were anything but white. Though white was considered the color if one came from a family of means, wedding dress colors often depended not only on one’s social status, but also what a bride was hoping to represent for her wedding. For instance, very young brides used to wear light green, which signified fertility. Blue was also a favorite wedding color, because it meant brides felt that they were marrying their true love. Many dresses were brown and black because those types of fabrics were easiest to obtain. But brides also wore other colors, signifying things both happy and sad, if they had the money.
Victorian wedding dresses had fitted bodices that lifted the breasts, formed a very small waist, and had full skirts over hoops and petticoats. They wore veils and hairpieces of fine gauze or other sheer materials that almost always went at least the length of the floor. They would have all sorts of tatting, which many know as knotted lace patterns, and were very elaborate in style. The fancier wedding dresses could be made out of tulle, lace, silk, linen or cashmere.
For those brides who didn’t have the money during the Victorian period, it wasn’t unusual for them to have linen or wool dresses in lots of different colors, including plaids. Instead of veils, they’d wear shawls, which were actually preferred because they could always use the shawls again. As a matter of fact, only the rich never used their wedding gowns again. Everyone else would cut up and re-stitch their wedding dresses so they could be used for everyday purposes afterwards.
Today’s brides, however, see the Victorian period as one of regality and elegance, and thus the craving for Victorian wedding dresses. These days, most Victorian wedding dresses are going to be white, have lots of embroidery, and be very modest. No cleavage in a Victorian wedding dress, but brides will definitely have a shape while wearing one. And it will bring something very special to their wedding.