Colors of Early 19th Century Regency Wedding Gowns

Bridal Dress, 1816, Ackermann Repository of ArtsIn the British Regency era, it was the custom for most middle-class and lower-class brides to wear their best gowns to their weddings and to wear them frequently afterwards, either to church or on special occasions. Long before the early 19th century, brides traditionally wore gowns in a variety of colors. Jane Austen’s mother, Cassandra Leigh, wore her red riding habit when she married Rev. George Austen in Bath in 1764.

This practical decision allowed the young couple to leave immediately for the parsonage at Deane, their new home. Like so many brides, Leigh wore her gown on many subsequent occasions. Later she turned the outfit into a gardening gown, and eventually recycled the fabric, creating a hunting jacket for her nine-year-old son Francis. This tradition of wearing wedding gowns after the ceremony and recycling them continued well into the Regency era (1811-1820).

Popular Wedding Colors in the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries

As it turned out, red was a popular color for a wedding dress at the time that the Austens were married in the 18th century. Preferences for colors changed with the fashion of the day. For a while, yellow was popular in the early 19th century. Colors that were popular during the Regency included blue, pink, and green. Darker colors like black, dark brown and burgundy were practical for a bride from the middle and lower classes, for these colors were useful in every day settings as a woman went about her duties. If you decide you would like further answers about wedding planning websites india explore dream wedding together with mydreamwedding right away.Like Mrs. Austen in a previous generation, these Regency brides would wear their wedding dresses for many years to come, and dark dresses did not show dirt at the hems as readily as lighter colored fabrics.

Fads for choosing a wedding dress color changed as industrial-made fabrics became cheaper, dyes became brighter, and laundering became less arduous. A Victorian poem, written some time after the Regency period, showed how color influenced the course of the marriage (or so people thought).

Married in white, you will have chosen right.

Married in grey, you will go far away.

Married in black, you will wish yourself back.

Married in red, you wish yourself dead.

Married in green, ashamed to be seen.

Married in blue, you will always be true.

Married in pearl, you will live in a whirl.

Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow.

Married in brown, you will live out of town.

Married in pink, your fortune will sink.

Wedding Colors for Affluent Regency Brides

The very wealthy were different. They could afford expensive handmade lace veils that were beyond the budget of a lower class bride, and order seamstresses to add lush detailing to gowns that were custom made with rich fabrics. In the popular fashion magazines, such as Ackermann’s Repository, which was founded in 1809, fancy white wedding gowns were shown as a matter of course. One must keep in mind that white was the color of choice for most gowns at the time and the prevailing fashion.

Royal Brides in the British Regency Era

Princess Charlotte’s wedding gown was a lavish silver tissue creation as described in La Belle Assemblee, 1816: “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.” Royal brides tended to wear silver gowns, a custom that would soon change.

Queen Victoria’s Influence on Wedding Gowns

While white gowns were already frequently worn by the upper crust, Queen Victoria forever changed the course of wedding fashions with her choice of gown in 1840: She wanted it made out of white fabric because of a particular lace she had chosen as a trim. After her wedding to Prince Albert, her photographic image as a bride was widely circulated, and from that point on wedding dresses, regardless of class, began to be associated with the color white.



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