The Victorians may have been stuffy, but they knew how to throw a party—and an elegant one at that. Although we would have loathed the stifling conventions of the time, we still find many a Victorian thing fascinating. Take, for instance, the floral and fashion designs of the era. To say that Victorians were obsessed with flowers wouldn’t be an overstatement. Responsible for inventing floriography, they used flowers as a means of communication and elevated the perception of floral design, which came to be considered an art form. Dictated by strict and formal rules (until the end of the era, at least), lavish, showy arrangements with tightly massed blooms reflected the zeitgeist of the times. Roses were prized above all other flowers, but tulips, lilies, carnations, China asters, snapdragons, peonies, azaleas, bleeding hearts, dahlias, and baby’s breath were also coveted. Brides—and women in their everyday lives—carried tussie-mussies, small bunches of flowers arranged in cone-shaped holders (which are making a surprising comeback). Orange blossoms, which represented both purity and fruitfulness, were almost always included in the bridal bouquet. As for fashion, we have Queen Victoria herself to thank for making white the “it” color for wedding dresses. Early Victorian women donned intricate gowns with fitted bodices and voluminous skirts amped up by hoops and petticoats. The late Victorian bridal gowns were as big and bold as their precursors, but (fortunately) they showed a preference for fitted sleeves over those designed in the poofy leg-of-mutton style. Lace, tulle, silk, and linen were common materials.
For a gown with an air of romance and a silhouette that hints at the Victorian age while still retaining its modernity, look no further than the striking Marchesa gown featured in this board. Accessorize daintily with cameos and bridal gloves. Two things you’ll want to leave to the pages of history: restrictive corsets and the peculiar Victorian bridal boot, which does not look in the least bit comfy (see below).
We can’t stop admiring the featured cake, which was inspired by a ribbon-embroidered stretch of silk from a Victorian-era dress. It might even top Queen Victoria’s confection, an intricately frosted plum cake that weighed a whopping 300 pounds!Marchesa Spring 2013 (via Wedding Chicks) / Georgian and Victorian wedding jewelry > Photo by Thayer Allyson Gowdy (via Martha Stewart Weddings) / Lace-wrapped bouquet > Photo by Erica Ann Photography (via Classic Bride) /Invitation suite > Design by Kristy Rice of Momental Designs / Cake > Design by Ron Ben-Israel (via Martha Stewart Weddings) / Bouquet of roses, oak-leaf hydrangea foliage, and pieris > Martha Stewart Weddings / Bride with hand mirror > Photo by Aurora Meneghello, production by Locally Grown Weddings (via The Knotty Bride)
Baroness Christine von Linden on her wedding day, May 13, 1898. Photo courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Musuem.
Worn for an 1865 wedding in London, this silk-satin wedding dress, trimmed with Honiton appliqué lace, is shown prior to conservation. Photo courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Victorian bridal boots, circa 1860. See what we mean about the comfort factor? Photo via Old Rags.