Friday, June 22, 2012

A Look Back in Time: Victoria, Victorians, and Weddings

We have been so busy with all the Boulderado weddings this season that we have been neglecting our poor blog! To make up for it, I wanted to share a bit about how the Victorians have influenced our modern-day weddings. They are more closely connected than you might think. The Victorians completely reinvented weddings in their time, as they did most customs, and many of today's traditions stem from that most Victorian of all the Victorians, Queen Victoria.

When Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she single-handedly created the "white wedding": white flowers, white icing on the cake (dubbed "royal" icing because of the expense), and even the iconic white wedding dress can all be traced back to Her Royal Majesty's wedding. The white dress marked a dramatic departure in wedding fashion; up until then, a woman would be married in the nicest dress she owned, while a white dress was a symbol of wealth, extravagance, and status. But Queen Victoria wasn't all pomp and circumstance, as she had her wedding gown re-styled for later use. (Apparently the custom of only wearing the wedding dress once didn't appear until the mid-twentieth century.)

 Queen Victoria in Her Wedding Dress

Queen Victoria was not the only trend-setting Victorian. When her daughter (also named Victoria) walked down the aisle with the Prince of Prussia, she added choral music to her procession. (Up until then, it was tradition to just have music during the wedding reception, not the ceremony itself.) More familiar modern traditions like diamond rings and honeymooning also got their start in the Victorian era, as African diamond mines were discovered in the 1870s and travel became more affordable to the middle class.

If you happen to be a guest at a Boulderado wedding this summer, remember to raise your glass in toast to the Victorians!