Victorian Elegance: Inspiration for a Period Wedding
If there’s one era we have to credit with the birth of the wedding that we know so well today, it’s the Victorian period. Queen Victoria herself started the fashion for white wedding gowns and towering tiered wedding cakes and, in an age where copying the aristocracy was the aim of every middle class family, it’s no surprise that these things caught on and stuck fast.
Fast forward by just over a century and our love of vintage and lace has definitely made us look back to the Victorians for inspiration and with good reason. Victorian inspired weddings are nothing short of beautiful. There’s an abundance of delicate femininity and timeless elegance that makes for the most delightful of days – it’s enough to make even the most upright monarch smile!
Images: Top Row Left via Want That Wedding | Top Row Right via Burnett's Boards | Second Row Left via English Wedding | Second Row Right via Storyboard Weddings | Third Row Left via Style Me Pretty | Third Row Right - Beautiful in Bloom Hair Flower by Glitzy Secrets |Bottom Row Left via Style Me Pretty | Bottom Row Right via Alice in Weddingland
Firstly, when it comes to your gown, the most authentic choice would be a demure design complete with high neck, sleeves and a long trailing skirt (remember, this is the era when legs were covered to avoid ‘lustful thoughts’!) but please don’t think this is an unattractive option. Oh no. Lace sleeves, delicate detailing on the bodice and a flowing skirt are spot on both in terms of historical accuracy and modern style and a veil is essential.
Victorian brides also loved floral crowns or often wore flowers in their hair. Pearl jewellery was very popular and this certainly gives an antique feel to your look. Lace-up boots were a part of every Victorian woman’s wardrobe or opt for shoes with a button up strap and a shaped heel. Do keep your make-up natural as the Victorians placed a premium on innocence.
In terms of flowers, forget imported blooms because this simply didn’t happen in the Victorian era. Opt for seasonal, homegrown varieties and also delve into ‘The Language of Flowers’, a very Victorian concept that gave meanings to flowers and influenced the floral choices of brides. Orange blossom represents fertility (Victorian brides used to decorate their gowns with this), Lily of the Valley signifies trustworthiness and roses represent love and hope so do a little research before your choose your blooms!
Images: Top Row Left via Want That Wedding | Top Row Right via Storyboard Wedding | Second Row Left via The Wedding Chicks | Second Row Right via Style Me Pretty | Third Row Left - Heirloom Fan Earrings By Glitzy Secrets | Third Row Right via Flickr | Fourth Row Left via Style Me Pretty | Bottom Row Left via Burnett's Boards | Bottom Row Right via Style Me Pretty
Floral arrangements themselves, whether bouquets or tablecentres, would have had a very natural look and plenty of foliage would have been used too. Trailing bouquets were very popular you could go for a small, simply posy with a Victorian style like the Duchess of Cambridge’s bouquet that featured blooms with meaning such as hope, love and, of course, trustworthiness.
Why not also include other Victorian props in your wedding day to reflect the era? Cameo brooches were very popular and this can be reflected in cake or cupcake embellishments for example. The Victorian age was one of scientific advancement so flowers or props styled with glass domes, bottles or other accessories really give a feel for the period. Candlelight is an absolute must and pretty crockery and cutlery reminds us of families bringing out ‘the best service’ for Sunday tea and important meals.
Lace was the epitome of genteel style during the Victorian period so use this throughout your day. Expensive and valued at the time, we love it now today so it’s the perfect link point between the past and the future. You could use lengths of lace to tied around napkins, bouquets or cutlery for example or even use heirloom lace from a family gown and incorporate it into your outfit. The Victorian era marked a huge turning point for society so why not let a Victorian themed wedding mark a once in a lifetime occasion for you too.