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1920s Weddings Dress old photos

C20th Fashion History
1920 Wedding Dress Photos

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

 

1920 Photos of Real People in Wedding Dress Fashions
1920's Australian Bridal Couple & Wedding Group Old Photo 1920

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Karen Seymour recently emailed me copies of several early 1920s wedding dress and group photos in her possession, they were taken in Melbourne, Australia. Some of these old wedding photos belonged to her Great Aunt Esther Prosser who was also a bridesmaid at two weddings. However, this page shows an earlier wedding photo of 1920 that also belonged to Esther although she is not in the image. Esther who lived to be 91 will be shown in other old photos on the 1924 wedding page.

July 1920 Melbourne Australia Old Wedding Photo

July 1920 Melbourne Australia Old Wedding Photo

This wedding took place 2 years after the 1914-18 First World War and has a known date of July 1920.  The wedding took place in Melbourne Australia and is of Clarence Dundas Seymour and Letitia Gertrude Henderson Clayton Marr.

1920 Bridal BouquetThe wedding party comprises the bride Letitia's 3 sisters, Jean, Ida and Adelaide, her brother Leslie (standing at right) and her friend Grace Perry (seated on right). The groomsman behind the bridegroom is Clarence's brother Brian.

1920 Bridal Bouquet

Note the bridal bouquet - The bouquet is interesting in that the flower styling is quite naturalistic for the era. I know little of Australian flowers, but suspect the main delicate bloom is a fragile flower. It has the appearance of a cross between a lisianthus and a pastel poppy.

Somewhat unfortunately, the horseshoe carried by the bride is hanging upside down. To keep the luck forever the silver wedding horseshoe should always be carried by ribbons hung from the horseshoe shoulders. Superstition says that if hung the wrong way the marriage good luck will fall out of the wedding horseshoe.

The Bridal Headwear

1920 - The Bridal HeadwearThe bridal headdress Letitia wears is in keeping with styles of the late teens and 1920s. One other factor in dating old photos of this era is to look closely at the headdresses. 1920 Headbands.In this case the bridesmaids wear two distinctive styles of 1920s headband.

Of course the one photo most people find in old shoeboxes of photos is the wedding photo, so being able to date the bridal dress adds to you armoury of dating the image.

These 1920's wedding dress styles below date from 1920 to 1923 and may also help you date an image.  Note all the headdresses which all have the similar mobcap features.

Bridal dress styles below date from 1920 to 1923

Note that the dresses are actually quite long for 1920s dresses, but that is because even day-dresses were long in the early 1920s.

The Bridal Skirt Silhouette 1920

There are several style and silhouette similarities between the shorter dresses of the bride and the Maid of Honour. The necklines and loose sleeve cut give a synergy to the bridal group. The clear visibility of the ankle on both adult women is also in keeping with silhouettes of the 1920's wedding fashion of the era.

1920 Bride - Letitia Gertrude Henderson Clayton Marr.Grace Perry - 1920 Bridesmaid - Maid of Honour.

These 1920 wedding dress silhouettes also comply well with other bridal fashion history images shown also on the 1921 and 1922 wedding pages.

Note carefully the above ankle length of the dresses, the deep hem of the bride's wedding dress, and the deep wide tucks creating a texturally interesting border on the dress worn by the Maid of Honour.The Bridal Skirt Hem 1920

Tucks and deep hems were sometimes joined with hemstitching, lace inserts, withdrawn threads, or picot stitches.  The deep hems, contrast fabric hems and tucks are a feature of early 1920s dresses. Faggoting Stitches.Multiple ways were devised to piece extra lengths of contrast fabric or lace to a lower skirt. Faggotting (shown right) between two pieces of fabric would have been a great way to introduce extra fabric length in a decorative manner.

The hemline styling is also another way of expressing mistrust of the latest fashion length. The hesitant fashionista of any era often adopts in-between safer looks, which then finds its way into mainstream fashion, such as the handkerchief hemline of the mid 1920s.1920 Wedding sketches

The depth of the 1920's wedding dress hem in the photograph left is such that one wonders if the wedding gown was shortened at the last minute to give it the latest stylish edge. However, one suspects that a prudent seamstresses declined to cut the vast hem away in case the dress would be used by another bride at a later date, when dresses were again floor length.

It is fair to say that after the teens the hemlines on dresses did rise and fall with regularity. The 1920 wedding dress sketches above right show how calf length gentle puffball and tiered styles were also the mode.

Everywoman's Magazine 1920

Everywoman's Magazine, a periodical of the fashion history era, featured a bridal article in the December 1920 edition. Two of the images below left and centre are taken from it. The bridal sketch far right below is also from a Good Housekeeping October 1920 magazine. These dress styles are clearly the latest fashion looks and show a narrowing and leanness to the skirt silhouette.

1920 Wedding sketches of bridal gowns

Everywoman's also commented on the wearing of 'Bridal White' compared to choosing a light bright colour and stated :-

BRIDAL WHITE

"A white dress for the bride is more or less traditional, and it is very infrequent that one has the courage to break away from the custom.

However a Society bride of a few weeks back was venturesome enough to go to the alter in peacock blue. The dress was designed on the usual stately lines that wedding gowns follow, and had a magnificent train of cloth of silver lined with blue ninon. Silver leaves held the bridal veil of blue tulle.

It was a startling innovation and I must confess that the result was extraordinarily effective."

Women were also given advice on the Trousseau and especially on the correct suits, collared coats and dresses for every possible occasion. This suit, coat and three dresses below were typical of trousseau wear, and were taken from December 1920 Everywoman's magazine.

1920 Trousseau fashions

Elements found within everyday dress styles can be an important indicator of the date of an image. Using female dress as the guide is often the fastest way to date an image since male dress often seems to move more slowly especially a hundred years ago.

Old family photos are often a total mystery to those who end up owning them.  So it is well worth making records of identification of people in images before all relatives pass away.  Older siblings may be more knowledgeable than younger siblings, so when you have opportunity to see relatives, ask about old pictures, and make notes of names and dates on the back of those old photos.

Consider making a CD of all your family photos and enclosing them with birthday or Christmas cards.  In an era when many of us live in affluent countries, such a thoughtful item can bring enormous pleasure in a way that expensive gifts cannot.  We all need to know our roots and genealogy can be a fascinating hobby.

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1920 Facts and Events

  • On April 3, 1920 F. Scott Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre.
  • Clara Bow the 20s film star and Gilbert Roland were romantically linked, but their relationship did not blossom into marriage.
  • One novel wedding invitations idea, was to print the cards in the shape of a 33 gramophone record; the phonograph having just become the must-have item.
  • Large wedding bouquets were in fashion, with orchids, gardenias, lilies and maybe even ostrich feathers being popular.
  • Life expectancy was only 55 back then in the 1920s.

See more late 1920's line drawings here.

You can read more about 1920's fashions in flapper fashion.  You can read how to date an old photo in this section here.

These wedding photos must not be published/used elsewhere - 
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These wedding photos must not be published or used elsewhere - © Copyright www.fashion-era.com  2000-2010.

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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 undated images. 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

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