As the days begin to peek through with more warming sunshine and the greening grasses become dotted with florals, thoughts of love are on everyone’s minds. Spring is traditionally a celebration of new life, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it remains one of the most popular seasons for weddings and the binding of two lives into a single new one. The Victorian Garden theme appeals to couples who are looking to display their romantic nature, to offer up a ton of elegance in a comfortable environment. Their very nature lends easily to wedding ceremonies that lead directly into the reception, and many couples will opt to have the entire celebration at a family member’s home. Not only is it beautiful, it becomes a touching, bonding experience that brings entire families together.
Want to add some true authenticity to your Victorian wedding? Have the celebrations in the morning – before 1880, couples were required by law to hold their nuptuals before noon.
Victorian Garden Wedding Gear for the Ladies
Everything about the Victorian wedding is lush with elegance. Your wedding colors should be soft; cream, blue and yellow or a terracotta-type tan, ecru, and pastel greens. Simple black and white will always work in a pinch, but accent these with pastels in one or two shades of pink, blue, yellow, or green.
For a mental image, think of those beautiful pictures that are all black and white, often showing a little boy pecking a little girl on the cheek, with flowers behind his back. The clothing is very formal, lots of lace, top hats and gloves. The only real color you see in the image, though, is a bright burst of florals in pastel shades.
Part of this is our own perception of the past. Because we know history from images and drawings, most of our ideas of the past are tinted in sepia and monochrome black and white. But hey – it works … the beauty of your wedding wear works to set the garden around you into beautiful focus.
Brides get to be a princess in a Victorian wedding. Focus on truly feminine accents, and choose bridal gowns in white or off-white shades with high lace collars, long sleeves, and lace cuffs. Truly, you can drown yourself in lace and look the picture of beauty in this themed wedding. Try wide-brimmed hats trimmed with ribbons and flowers to sit atop your full veil, and grab some frilly white lace gloves and ankle boots. Matching parasols and bouquets of pastel roses will work to set the whole theme into effect. Try small accents too – cameo brooches, lace hankies, victorian fans, and small beaded purses on your wedding dress.
Remember that the Victorian lady surrounded herself with beauty in every form, and become that lady. Get into the feel of the day with a splash of lavender spray, and work on a luscious upswept hair-do. Lots of curls, intricate “knots”, and accents weaved throughout braids are all popular hairstyles for the Victorian bride.
Bridesmaids dresses should reflect the same lacey Victorian theme including ankle boots and gloves, but make sure that you don’t try to have a “matching” gown for every bridesmaid. Let the personal style of your bridesmaids indicate special touches that can set them apart – by letting everyone in the bridal party flourish with their own style of Victorian, you’ll carry the theme of the wedding in a beautiful way. Bridesmaid hair should also be upswept, entwined with ribbons or accented with small spring flowers. Top the look off with parasols or baskets overflowing with spring floral beauty, and you’ll have a picture-perfect team to make your wedding memorable.
Victorian Garden Wedding Gear for the Gentlemen
The groom and best man might have a bit more “fun” dressing for a Victorian wedding – and it all comes down to their natural style. During the Victorian age, fashion twisted and turned for men, changing dramatically within just a few years’ time. Throughout the entire period, the black top hat was worn but beyond this accent, grooms will want to play around with what they find most comfortable.
Here’s some tips that might be helpful:
The early years of the Victorian age saw men dressed in frock coats and waistcoats in white worn over lavender colored trousers and gloves. The colors aren’t as important today as they were then – if you like the look of the waistcoat, try it worn over crisp black trousers and add a bachelor’s button to a pocket.
Within a few years, the frock coat was like so yesterday and men tossed them aside for morning coats over black and paisley vests. The went all-out with the accessories, too, including colored gloves, walking canes (for the decoration, of course), and the always popular black top-hat. Today, the look of a sharp black coat over a white or colored vest always lends a look of old-world charm.
By the late 1800’s, the frock coat was once more all the rage. Black frock coats paired with light colored or white waistcoats, dark ties, and pin-striped trousers made men the height of fashion. Today, you can once again opt for the black and white look, pairing your outfit with patent-leather button boots and white kid gloves.
The small accents will really make your style, and you can probably get away with a sharp suit and tie if you top it off with a top-hat and walking cane. Groomsmen should be dressed in a similar style as the groom, but let them express their own hints of style in the accents.
Checklist: Ideas & Resources for your Victorian Themed Wedding
Colors & Motifs:
Victorians had high ideals for romance, and everything had some sort of romantic meaning. Colors and flowers all held a language of their own, and you can incorporate these beautifully into your Victorian wedding.
- Red notes will add a vibrant touch to your wedding decor, and during the Victorian era stood for strength, courage, fire and vitality.
- Pink works beautifully for pastel accents, and its meanings of love, friendship, and relaxation add special thought to the decor.
- Yellow denotes the power of the mind, movement, and air – use it sparingly in floral bouquets to brighten everything up.
- Green is probably all around you, the color of nature and filled with the meanings of prosperity, growth, and faith.
- Blue shades indicate water, peace, healing, and joy. This is another color that will add beautiful pastel accents to bouquets and decorations.
- Carnations – both real and in the theme of invitations and decoration – stand for admiration.
- Sprinkle clover throughout your bouquets for fertility and luck.
- Daisies are perfect for the flower girl, with their meaning of innocence.
- Irises are not only elegant and beautiful, but impart hope and romantic messages.
- The ever popular rose has a bevvy of meanings from beauty and love to simple pleasures and mirthfulness.
Apparel & Accessories:
You really can’t go overboard on a Victorian wedding – it’s all about indulging in romance. For some great places to start looking for ideas and inspiration, check out these websites:
The Bridal Chalet – Renaissance and Victorian wedding gowns on this site are, in a word, sumptuous. They are the stuff little girl dreams of fairy-tale weddings are made of, with frothy flowing yards of lace and billowing layers of satin. http://www.bridalchalet.com/backup/RenaissanceLandingPage/index.html
Uniquely Yours – Lots and lots of cream-colored lace, these wedding gowns are simply victorian. http://www.uniquelyyourscapemay.com/c-8-victorian-wedding-dresses.aspx
Vintage Wedding – This page is filled with Groom’s attire, which will definitely get you going. http://www.vintagewedding.com/groom.html
Save a few dollars, but more importantly, get the decorations that you want most by creating them yourself – a great way of getting your whole family involved in the wedding:
Twinkle Tent – Learn how to make a beautiful tent of frothy white tulle and twinkling fairy lights for an Outdoor Wedding. Complete instructions are provided. http://www.foreverwed.com/Decorations/twinkletent.htm
Pretty in Pink Centerpiece – A beautiful centerpiece with pink rose petals and glowing white candles, this fulfills your color needs and adds a romantic Victorian sparkle to the tables. http://www.superweddings.com/decor/centerpieceproject-prettyinpink.html
Victorian Bridal Handbag – Craft designer Kathy Peterson creates a special handbag – reminiscent of Victorian times – from old lace curtains. http://www.diynet.com/diy/cr_wedding/article/0,2025,DIY_13783_2274040,00.html
Invitations & Stationary:
Some hints before you get looking?
- Use ivory colored stationary with images of lace, and calligraphy fonts. Traditional Victorian wedding invitations were engraves, so make sure that the first letters of names and lines are very ornate and fancy.
- Images of fans, dainty flowers, or parasols all set the theme for your wedding in advance.
- If making your own, consider using the type of invitations with the pretty transparent overlay.
Formal Invitations – The victorian wedding invitations on this page can be designed online and delivered for you http://www.formal-invitations.com/theme-victorian-invitation.html
Ashton – Beauty and elegance is inherent in each of the invitations this company offers. http://www.ashtonweddinginvitations.com/statres.nsf/browsecatalog.html!OpenForm&b=Theme&c=Victorian
Invitation Consultants – You can’t get closer to traditional than this, and the effect is stunning. http://www.invitationconsultants.com/ocatalog2/wcategoryindex.asp?p_collection=wedding&p_subcategory=victorian