Though weddings have existed for over a millenia, they haven’t always been pictured as we do today. There was time where most brides expected to have their weddings in their homes. Other times where the white dress was not even considered a “thing”. The idea of weddings have truly come a long way.
There’s some interesting history behind weddings and we thought we’d share it with you.
The earliest records of weddings describe them as being done by coercion or capture. There were usually no emotional ties between the man and the woman, in fact, the woman wasn’t really thought of as much during these times. Most men desired wives for sexual relief, procreation, and household duties. Love nor true commitment were ever apart of the plan when it came to marriage.
It wasn’t until roughly the 1800s that marriage was considered more of a personal decision. This is the time where the trend of wedding ceremonies began to emerge. However, during this time, weddings weren’t anything close to what they are today. Most brides had private ceremonies with just them, their groom, and both sets of parents and one set of parents’ house and then the bride would be recognized for her nuptials the following Sunday at church. Brides didn’t even purchase dresses for their weddings, their wedding dresses were their best dress that they already owned and was often a dark color because it doubled as funeral attire. Could you imagine not wearing a new dress on your special day? Weddings were small like this due to the realistic need for minimalism. Having your wedding at home meant that you could limit the amount of people who attended therefore not needing as many things to accommodate.
In the earlier 1800s, upper class weddings began to evolve into something like the types of weddings we are familiar with today but were still small and private. In the 1840s, unlike those before her, Queen Victoria of Britain married Prince Albert in a satin white gown and since all of the women wanted to be and look like the queen at that time, brides sought to have white dresses for their weddings. Before, having a white gown for your wedding was for the rich but was now becoming a trend for the middle class as well.
Towards the end of the 1800s, what we know today as wedding vendors began to emerge and the weddings that would have been previously held at home were now being held in churches. With the a larger space to accommodate more people, there required a larger “show”. Brides were no longer sewing their own dresses, they were seeking out seamstresses or looking to purchases their dresses already made. The cakes and floral arrangements that would have been made at home were now being made by bakers and florists. By the 1900s, the brides were only turning to professional help for organizing their weddings.
One of the earlier contributions of the image of the “new” bride was bridal departments being added to larger stores. There were one stop shops available for all your decorations, attire, etc. Along with this, catered weddings and engraved invitations were longer an luxury for the rich but now a standard all brides were aspiring for. It was also during this time that wedding photographers began to emerge and become a very important part of the big day for everyone. By the 70s though, brides started to crave some kind of uniqueness in their weddings so they began to take their weddings out of churches and have them at event halls, back at homes, even in backyards of friend or relative’s house. This is also when the destination wedding became a “thing”. Weddings in the 21st century aren’t too different. The average bride spends about $20k on her wedding and it is predominantly organized by professionals.
As we said in the beginning, weddings have a come a VERY long way. Always remember, you’re wedding is whatever YOU want it to be. It can be as big or as small as you desire and look like whatever you want it to.
Congratulations! Best of luck to you with wedding planning.