Friday, September 13, 2013

Bridal Toilettes...A Victorian Wedding

by Katy Green

1800 Bridal Toilettes
Victorian Wedding Dresses
Bridal Toilettes

Any season is a perfect setting for weddings especially Victorian Weddings. I daydream of lace and long trains with tons of delicate flowers, silk and satin trimmings intertwined and the faint scent of lavender.

During Victorian times wedding dresses were called "Bridal Toilettes". In the 18th and 19th centuries brides did not wear white only on their wedding day. Victorian brides wore many colors from light blue to gold.  

Most women that were married during that time were young ranging from 14 years to 25 years. Lower class women  were expected to be married between the ages of 14-20. Higher class or wealthy women married in their late 20's depending on the suitors. The average age of marriage in the Victorian period was between 18-25.

The Victorian wedding dress was as a treasure back then as it is today and most women packed it away in a trunk or chest and passed it down to other generations. Many of the Victorian period wedding dresses that were made of lace and satin are 
in excellent condition and  so that's why so many are are exhibited in museums through out the world.

The following museums exhibit Victorian Wedding Dresses:

  • Andrea's Museum of Victorian Fashion in Tombstone Arizona, USA features over 400 items of authentic Victorian and Edwardian clothing, accessory, personal and household possessions, ranging in dates from primarily 1840 to 1920.
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum in London UK, ;A Collection include wedding dresses, wedding accessories and jewelry, wedding suits and bespoke wedding gifts from the Renaissance period to the present day.
  • Antique is like a museum but the site is mostly an auction site for Victorian clothes and clothes from other time periods.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art  is a landmark NY museum preserving over 9,000 Victorian dresses in their online digital collection as well as many exhibits. Access several wedding dresses from the 1800's-1900's online via the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute which houses over 35,000 costumes.
  • The Kent State University Museum offers a catalog of many wedding dresses from different time periods including Victorian wedding dresses.
  • The Chicago History Museum has an online digital catalog of dresses from the 18th century to present day.