A Regency Wedding Plan

PPWeddingHappy Tuesday, everyone!  Though I almost forgot what day it was, since I am trying to finish a book due (gulp!) next Monday, and I have a cold.  But I also have some happy news!  Yesterday we saw Risky Diane’s Regency wedding gown, and I am currently planning a wedding of my own.  The gown I picked isn’t particularly Regency-esque, but since we are thinking of a smallish wedding at my parents’ house, the wedding itself might be….

In the Regency, marriage itself was, of course, a Big Deal (especially for the bride!), the wedding wasn’t.  There were no wedding planners or Vera Wang salons, no Wedding Industry to tell you if you don’t have ice swans and 3 cakes you are doing it wrong.  Most weddings were small, private, family affairs, taking place in the parish church of one or both of the parties, before noon, after the reading of the banns.  (Hence the “wedding breakfast,” where there would probably be some kind of cake, and which could actually go on all day if everyone was so inclined…)

“I publish the Banns of marriage between [Groom’s Name] of [his local parish] and [Bride’s Name] of [her local parish]. If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in Holy matrimony, ye are to declare it. This is the first [second, third] time of asking.”

There were some white wedding gowns, of course, since white was all the rage for young ladies, and most brides wore their best gowns (or bought a new gown, which then became their best), but it wasn’t the most common color.  We can thank Queen Victoria for that.  There might be a small veil, or a nice bonnet (perhaps with a veil attached), or a wreath of flowers, a small bouquet, maybe an attendant or two.  There might or might not have been an engagement ring, probably not diamonds.

CharlotteGownThere were exceptions to this, of course.  Princess Charlotte had a rather more splashy affair when she married Prince Leopold, and it was the subject of much interest at the time.  Some people eloped to Gretna Green in Scotland, where the laws were more lenient.

Her dress was silver lama [lamé] on net, over a silver tissue slip, embroidered at the bottom with silver lama in shells and flowers. Body and sleeves to correspond, elegantly trimmed with point Brussels lace. The manteau was of silver tissue lined with white satin, with a border of embroidery to answer that on the dress, and fastened in front with a splendid diamond ornament. Such was the bridal dress … (from La Belle Assemblee, of the royal wedding gown)

A Common or Ordinary License could be obtained for about 10 shillings from any bishop or archbishop, which would allow the marriage to go forward without calling the banns.  All other requirements were in place, though (parish church, before noon, etc).  A Special License, so common in romance novels, were expensive (4 or 5 pounds approximately), and had to be obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury, but it would allow the wedding at any time or place convenient.

Here is a look at my own ring!  (He knows what a big Princess Di/Duchess of Cambridge fan I am…)

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And one of the dresses I tried on!  (though this is not THE dress…)

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What was your own wedding like??  How would you plan a Regency wedding?

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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