Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vintage photographs - wedding photos

One of the vintage photos I posted yesterday showed a wedding couple. Barry posed the question: why is the bride wearing a dark (presumed black, as we can't really say which colour it is) dress?
Here is another example.



I knew that white wedding dresses have not always been the style. Wikipedia has this information to offer:

White did not become a popular option until 1840, after the marriage of Queen Victoria to Albert of Saxe-Coburg. Victoria had worn a white gown for the event so as to incorporate some lace she owned. The official wedding portrait photograph was widely published, and many other brides opted for a similar dress in honor of the Queen's choice.

And also:
The tradition of a white wedding is commonly credited to Queen Victoria's choice to wear a white wedding dress at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840.
Queen Victoria was not the first royal bride to wear a white wedding gown, but the first of the modern era. White had been a traditional color of royal mourning, and although not often utilized as such, white was not considered a suitable choice for a royal wedding. Victoria's choice popularized the white gown as no other had before her. Previously, brides wore their best clothes or the most expensive new clothes they could afford. Gold or gold-threaded dresses became popular with royal brides; the rank-and-file wore dresses that reflected their station. White was one of many choices, pastel shades were also popular.


Most of the older photos of wedding couples that have made their way into my hands show brides in dark dresses. Most of these ladies are not young brides. I am guessing that these are perhaps widows marrying a second time. Also, these pictures are for the most part from Bavaria, which was very widely rural at the turn of the century, meaning people didn't usually have a lot of money, to invest in a special dress for only one occasion. They probably wore their best dress, which would have been black or dark, at any rate.

Wikipedia did mention that it was tradition in Finland for the bride to wear a black dress.

I haven't been able to unearth any other information so far. Do any of you know more about this subject?

13 comments:

mairedodd said...

that is so interesting and makes much sense especially in rural areas... these photos are wonderful...

Silke said...

How interesting is that!? When I saw her, I just figured she was a widow and this was her second marriage. I just love old photos like that!! Hugs, Silke

Barry said...

Well, that is very interesting. It was certainly sensible for brides to wear their best dress instead of one that would only be worn one time. Who could afford such extravagance?

sharon said...

I don't have a clue, but I appreciate your efforts, it is very interesting and amazing to me!

lilylovekin said...

Interesting, I love old photos and the tales behind what creates our traditions. Thanks.

Studio Sylvia said...

Usually black and red were avoided as black was related to grief and red was linked to prostitutes.
There is an old poem about how the color of your wedding dress will influence your future: “Married in white, you will have chosen all right. Married in grey , you will go far away. Married in black, you will wish yourself back. Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead. Married in blue, you will always be true. Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl. Married in green, ashamed to be seen, Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow. Married in brown, you’ll live out of town. Married in pink, your spirits will sink.”
http://www.fromtimespast.com/wedding.htm

Rebecca said...

Good Morning
What an interesting post, we could use some of that sensibility these days! Have a wonderful week.
Blessings
Rebecca

diane said...

I have many old wedding cabinet cards of relatives, and indeed some are wearing black wedding dresses. I was told it was a German tradition of that time, and I do believe from a specific region.....just can't recall all the details.
I did know the facts about why we started wearing the white ones =) Great post, and great photo...I just love old photos!!

The Rustic Victorian said...

really interesting info!

Wanda said...

Enjoyed this interesting post of the traditions and history of wedding dresses!

Cindy said...

Renate, your information is just fascinating to me...thank you for researching and sharing with me. As much as I love old pitures, I never really realized or noted that some are wearing black for wedding dresses. Maybe I just never ran across the examples before. Please share more if you run across them! :-) Have a great weekend, dear Round Robin Sister!

SharonP said...

A very far cry from the outrageously expensive "Platinum Weddings" of today and much more sensible. Thanks for teaching me something new!

Silke said...

Hallo, Renate!! Thanks for your visit. I hope you are doing well!! Are you staying warm in cold Germany?! Hugs, Silke