Regency Wedding Redux

Today the dh and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary and we want to take a little break to do something fun. So I’m recycling a 2008 blog I did on Regency Weddings.

We were married a gazillion years ago, before a bride would even DREAM of a wearing a  strapless gown. Before I married, I’d never read Georgette Heyer or Regency Romances and it had been a few years since I’d read Jane Austen.

But take a look at my wedding dress.

It’s a little hard to tell here, but it has an empire waist, leg o’mutton sleeves, and ribbon trim. It’s a Regency Dress!

I’d never heard of the Regency, but somehow I picked a Regency dress.

Like me, Regency brides did wear white, but they didn’t have to. In the Regency, white gowns were popular for many occasions. Other colors like pale pink and blue were also worn at weddings. The older the bride, the darker the color. Wedding dresses were worn after the wedding, too. By the time Queen Victoria became a bride and wore white, the white wedding dress was well on its way to becoming a tradition.

Princess Charlotte, who wed Prince Leopold in 1816, wore a dress of silver lamé, embroidered in silver. 

Sites that tell more about Regency Weddings:

Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion

Regency Weddings

Quick facts about Regency Weddings:

1. Weddings could take place after reading of the Banns, a license, or a special license. Banns must be read for three consecutive Sundays in the parishes of both the prospective bride and groom. A license, purchased from the bishop of the diocese, did away with the banns but the couple still had to be married in the parish church. A special license, purchased from the Archbishop of Canterbury, allowed the couple to be married in a location other than a church and without banns. Licenses were never blank; different names could not be substituted.

2. Scottish weddings went by different rules. In Scotland couples could be married by declaring themselves married in front of witnesses, by making a promise to marry followed by intercourse, or by living together and calling themselves married.

3. Weddings could not be performed by proxy. Both the bride and groom had to be present.

4. Ship captains could not perform marriages. Couples could be married aboard ship, but only by clergy. (How many times have you read that plot?)

5. Brides had wedding rings; grooms did not. The bride could give the groom a ring as a wedding gift, but it was not part of the ceremony and didn’t symbolize he was married.

Do you want a Regency Wedding? There are many sites on the internet offering custom made Regency wedding dresses:

Jane Austen Centre Giftshop
Fashions in Time

Or if you are handy, you could make your Regency gown:

Do you have any questions about Regency weddings?

Did anyone else have a Regency wedding dress?

A Reputation for Notoriety is now available as an ebook, if you are like me and prefer ebooks.

 

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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