Monday, January 21, 2019

Threadbare Brides of the Civil War

Weddings were welcomed social events during the Civil War and even threadbare brides were radiant. Economy usually replaced the glorious wedding gowns of the past and a nice day dress was considered proper attire, but flowers especially orange blossoms were still seen. Northerner Ellen Wright wrote that she was going to renovate her old clothes for her own wedding because she had no interest in, "shining forth in new apparel in these hard times."

Late in the war, after the fall of Columbia, South Carolina. Louisa McCord was preparing to be married.  Old gloves and slippers were re-dyed with ink.  Family and friends had scrapped together a trousseau which was a "monument to needlework ingenuity." A white wedding gown could not be found however, until Louisa’s mother found white muslin clothe available from a Yankee sutler, priced at an exorbitant $10 in greenbacks. The determined mother sold her carpet and some chairs and finally was forced to drive around town selling lard and butter to come up with all of the money needed to buy the clothe.
A wedding ring also became a challenge for Louisa's fiancĂ©. He announced that he would have to travel to another part of the state to borrow a ring from a cousin or aunt, but the McCord family came through again. Louisa's sister offered her 16th birthday ring. Louisa wanted to be married in church, but the family had no transportation. The buggy had been confiscated and the horses eaten. Guests who came couldn't stay long "because their supply of horse feed gave out." 

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

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