White wedding gowns had been popular since Queen Victoria got married in
white in 1840. Often until the 1950s women simply got married in their 'best' dress
which might be coloured or
bought an outfit that could be worn again for other special occasions.
It's hard to tell from the picture below if the bride was wearing a lorgnette or a locket or a
watch on a chain, but it certainly is a statement piece. It looks heavy
which suggests it has the making of being a lorgnette viewer. See lady on the left in the photo below.
James Meakin and Bessie Hobley were married June 1, 1904 in Nuneaton,
Warwickshire, England. This bride is quite full figured and has a true Edwardian mature S-bend figure.
Bessie chose a skirt, blouse and pretty
fashionable jacket. The shoulder line fine pleating, after a technique
popularised by Fortuny, was very popular on tea dresses of the time.
If the jacket were buttoned up it would create a cape like effect bertha
I think the equivalent of this outfit today would be something we find in
department stores and call occasion wear.
bridesmaid wears a dress following all the fashion lines of the day,
especially the tucked and tiered frilled skirt.
lovers eat your heart out.
The sleeves are fulsome in both bodices and the general line is similar
to the outline colouring-in sketch right.
The bouquet is typical of the Edwardian era. Bouquets of the
Edwardian age were always large and trailing. Much of the trail was
meandering maidenhair fern, which by the 1960s was thought very old
fashioned and rather naff and common in a bouquet. Later versions of
bouquets in the Edwardian era were sometime large, but wider.
Look for features like
hats as shown below. These wide hats are typical of the 1903-5 era. Later
Edwardian hats became much wider. The hairstyle is also
important when dating pictures. Several of these women have
hairstyles in the
pompadour manner typical of the early Edwardian era. Also look for confirmation of the date by examining variations of the sleeve and cuff styles like those shown in the photo above.
Observe the ways that women wore jewellery. A typically Edwardian
touch is the positioning of a bar brooch or locket brooch at the high
neckline. Every women in the back row wears a brooch, whilst
the bridal party wear long possibly gold chains or semi precious gem necklaces. Some of the jewellery may have been pinchbeck or pinchbeck substitutes.
Pinchbeck was an invention of the 1700s by a famous watch maker called
Christopher Pinchbeck. For a long time, a C18th century
formula for the Pinchbeck alloy was used to make attractive jewellery in place of
real gold. The closely guarded formula secret included
zinc, copper, carbon and other unknown elements making an affordable
alloy with the look and warmth of old gold. Pinchbeck appears gold
all the way through the metal.
Pinchbeck was very popular with the Georgians and the Victorians as a
form of alternative jewellery for travel by stagecoach or rail and for
theatrical use. Later the name became associated with cheap and
tawdry gold pieces when unscrupulous jewellers attempted to pass
off imitations of pinchbeck as real gold. The original pinchbeck was fine material that shone as brightly as gold.
But the chances are that these women are wearing family pieces, or special
gifts they had for
special birthdays. Perhaps they kept the
sentimentally important piece to wear on a unique day such as for their
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wedding picture is from the Edwardian era and was of the couple alone at their
In this 1904 wedding picture you can see the general line of this Edwardian
wedding dress. 1904 was a year when hems were flounced and frilled.
Sleeves were full and there was a good deal of shoulder interest along with
an S-Bend Silhouette. You can read more about 1900's fashions in
the Edwardian section.
You can read
how to date an old photo in this section here. Click thumbnails
For more information about Wedding Photos click below:-
Old photos can be useful when tracing family members and narrowing down
search dates. These photo pages may help you put an era to your
If you have old wedding photos please send them to me and if suitable I will
add them to this pictorial section of social history.
OLD WEDDING PHOTOS
For superb Victorian or Edwardian re-enactment costumes in USA, try the reproduction costume range at:
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