Thanks to educated Victorians with their lustrous names, intelligence and writing abilities, they have passed on to us what a mannered person should do in all social situations. In the 1870’s to 1880’s there were at more than sixty (60) etiquette books that were published of which includes Victorian wedding etiquette. These Victorian wedding etiquettes became popular before and are still popular in these days.
Victorian wedding etiquette focuses on manners, culture and dress before, during and after the wedding ceremony and reception. Victorians also have etiquette rules on courtship and engagement.
— Victorian Wedding Etiquette on Marriage Ceremony
For Victorians, the marriage ceremony varies with the fortunes, desires and wishes of the wedding parties. According to Victorian Wedding Etiquette, a bride and couple may have a very lavish and expensive wedding if they can afford it or they can have a small gathering of closest family and friends celebrating the wedding with them.
As to the form of right, Victorians have no specific directions as to how the wedding rite should be done, but they should follow rules of their churches of the proper wedding rite.
Victorians who are to be married by their ministers, wedding etiquette calls them to study the form or proper wedding rite of their particular church. For Victorians who will be married in a Methodist church should study Book of Discipline. Episcopalian Victorians, on the other hand should read the Book of Common Prayer. Catholic Victorians are invoked to know the basic Ritual in a Catholic Wedding Celebration.
In Victorian wedding etiquette, couples must do wedding rehearsals. The rehearsal of the ceremony is always made in private. Victorians believe that with this way, the bride and groom and the wedding parties could understand better the necessary forms and rites.
— Victorian Wedding Etiquette General Rules
Victorians have general rules in wedding etiquette. They are interesting to learn and to note especially if you are planning to have a Victorian wedding theme.
Bridesmaids and groomsmen are expected to assist in the preparation of the wedding and even during the wedding especially if the wedding is not private. Wealthy Victorians held weddings for public and with many guests that were expected to attend (even from nearby towns), the hired help won’t be able to accommodate the guests.
Although this seems funny nowadays, but Victorian wedding etiquette is clear on this matter: bridesmaids should be younger, yes you read it right, younger than the bride. If you have an older sister who you love you dearly, you won’t be able to make her a bridesmaid if you were born during the time of the Victorians.
Victorian wedding etiquette on bridesmaids clothing is also peculiar.
Bridesmaids should wear dresses that look like that of the bride.
It was believed before (even before the time of the Victorians) that a devil is on the loose every time there is a wedding. This devil is tasked to kidnap the bride, take her away from her groom, and take her virginity from her. So, bridesmaids are selected, those that look like the bride, younger or of her age, and must dress the way she dresses so as to confuse the devil who should be taken.
The material for bridesmaids wedding dresses are usually light and flowing fabric that allows graceful gait, and must have lots of ornament. Dresses should not be necessarily expensive.
The bridesmaids should assist the bride (thus the name brides’ MAID) in dressing her, receiving company, holding her things, etc. They should stand at the brides left side, with the first bridesmaid or the maid of honor holding the gloves and bouquet.
As for the groomsmen, he should receive the clergyman and present to him the couple to be married. The first groomsman or the best man should stand upon the right side of the groom during the ceremony.
Victorian wedding etiquette has not been changed much.
They are still the basic wedding etiquette that we have today.
We can follow Victorian wedding etiquette’s general rule as is without looking or making ourselves outrageous.
Some of victorian wedding etiquette are just bent a bit, such as a wedding dress, to accommodate the wishes and desires of the bride or the groom or of a relative special to the hearts of the couple.