Sunday, February 04, 2018

Queen Victoria's Wedding

Queen Victoria

     White did not become a popular option for wedding dresses until 1840, after the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  Victoria wore a white gown for the event so that she could incorporate lace of sentimental value into the design of the dress.  Victoria’s wedding picture was widely published in America and many American brides opted to wear a similar dress. Today’s “white wedding” continues the tradition, though prior to Victorian times, a young bride was married in any color except black (the color of mourning) or red (which was connected with prostitutes).   

Why did Queen Victoria select white?  Many theories have been put forward including: (1) color symbolism,(2) to represent purity of heart and the innocence of childhood, (3) an effort by the Queen to promote lace sales, and (4) to encourage conspicuous consumption by status-conscious families. Later, it was believed that the color white symbolized virginity and should be only be worn by virgin brides.

There was a great deal of cake at Buckingham Palace in February 1840.  Queen Victoria's wedding cake weighed three hundred pounds and measured nine feet across and fourteen inches high and was adorned with roses. An ice sculpture of Britannia surrounded by cupids capped the cake. Traditional white wedding cake or bride's cake did not appear in the United States until the 1860's. Prior to this, cakes served at wedding receptions were a dark and spicy concoction. A more refined cake was created with the introduction of finely ground white flour and the manufacture of baking powder and baking soda. The heavier "fruitcake" was relegated to being the "groom's cake."

The Civil War Wedding, an entertaining look at the customs and superstitions of weddings during the Civil War era.

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