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Summer Weddings

  A new fashion in the engraving of the wedding note-paper is the first novelty of the early summer wedding. The card is entirely discarded, and sheets of note-paper, with the words of the invitation in _very fine_ running script, are now universally used, without crests or ciphers. We are glad to see that the very respectful form of invitation, "Mr. and Mrs. John H. Brown request the honor of your presence," etc., is returning to fashionable favor. It never should have gone out. Nothing is more self-respecting than respect, and when we ask our friends to visit us we can well afford to be unusually courteous. The brief, curt, and not too friendly announcement, "Mr. and Mrs. John H. Brown request your presence," etc., etc., may well yield to the much more elegant and formal compliment.

From high social authority in New York we have an invitation much simpler and more cordial, also worthy of imitation: "Mr. and Mrs. Winslow Appleblossom request the pleasure of your company at the wedding reception of their daughter, on Tuesday afternoon June the sixteenth." This is without cards or names, presuming that the latter will follow later on.

Another very comprehensive and useful announcement of a wedding, from a lady living out of town, conveys, however, on one sheet of paper the desired information of where to find the bride:

Mrs. Seth Osborne announces the marriage of her daughter Margurite to Mr. Joseph Wendon, on Wednesday, September the ninth,
at Bristol, Connecticut.

At Home after January first, at 758 Wood Street.

This card of announcement is a model of conciseness, and answers the oft-repeated question, "Where shall we go to find the married couple next winter?"

In arranging the house for the spring wedding the florists have hit upon a new device of having only _one_ flower in masses; so we hear of the apple-blossom wedding, the lilac wedding, the lily wedding, the rose wedding and the daffodil wedding, the violet wedding, and the daisy wedding. So well has this been carried out that at a recent daisy wedding the bride's lace and diamond ornaments bore the daisy pattern, and each bridesmaid received a daisy pin with diamond centre.

This fashion of massing a single flower has its advantages when that flower is the beautiful feathery lilac, as ornamental as a plume; but it is not to be commended when flowers are as somber as the violet, which nowadays suggests funerals. Daffodils are lovely and original, and apple-blossoms make a hall in a Queen Anne mansion very decorative. No one needs to be told that roses look better for being massed, and it is a pretty conceit for a bride to make the flower which was the ornament of her wedding,  her  flower for life.

The passion for little girls as bridesmaids receives much encouragement at the spring and summer weddings. One is reminded of the children weddings of the fifteenth century, as these darlings, wearing Kate Greenaway hats, walk up the aisle, preceding the bride. The young brother of the bride, a mere boy, who, in the fatherless condition of his sister, recently gave her away, also presented a touching picture. It has become a fashion now to invoke youth as well as age to give the blessings once supposed to be alone at the beck and call of those whom Time had sanctified.

The bridal dresses are usually of white satin and point lace, a preference for tulle veils being very evident. A pin for the veil, with a diamond ornament, and five large diamonds hanging by little chains, makes a very fine effect, and is a novelty. The groom at a recent wedding gave cat's-eyes set round with diamonds to his ushers for scarf pins, the cat's-eye being considered a very lucky stone. The ushers and the groom wear very large boutonnieres_ of stephanotis and gardenias, or equally large bunches of lilies-of-the-valley, in their button-holes.
 At one of the country weddings of the spring a piper in full Scotch costume discoursed most eloquent music on the lawn during the wedding ceremony. This was a compliment to the groom, who is a captain in a Highland regiment. A prevailing fashion for wedding presents is to give heavy pieces of furniture, such as sideboards, writing-tables, cabinets, and pianos.

A favorite dress for traveling is heliotrope cashmere, with bonnet to match. For a dark bride nothing is more becoming than dark blue tailor-made with white vest and sailor collar. Gray cashmere with steel passementerie has also been much in vogue. A light gray mohair, trimmed with lace of the same color, was also much admired.

We have mentioned the surroundings of the brides, but have not spoken of the background. A screen hung with white and purple lilacs formed the background of one fair bride, a hanging curtain of Jacque-minot roses formed the appropriate setting of another. Perhaps the most regal of these floral screens was one formed of costly orchids, each worth a fortune. One of the most beautiful of the spring wedding dresses was made of cream-white satin over a tulle petticoat, the tulle being held down by a long diagonal band of broad pearl embroidery, the satin train trimmed with bows of ribbon in true-lovers' knots embroidered in seed-pearls; a shower of white lilacs trimmed one side of the skirt.

Another simple dress was made of white silk, trimmed with old Venetian point, the train of striped ivory point and white satin depending _... la_ Watteau from the shoulders, and fastened at the point of the waist. At the side three large pleats formed a drapery, which was fringed with orange-blossoms.

From England we hear of the most curious combinations as to traveling-dresses. Biscuit-colored canvas, embroidered around the polonaise in green and gold, while the skirt is edged with a broad band of green velvet. The new woolen laces of all colors make a very good effect in the "going-away dress" of a bride.

We are often asked by summer brides whether they should wear bonnets or round hats for their traveling-dress. We unhesitatingly say bonnets. A very pretty wedding bonnet is made of lead-colored beads without foundation, light and transparent; strings of red velvet and a bunch of red plums complete this bonnet. Gold-colored straw, trimmed with gold-brown velvet and black net, makes a pretty traveling-bonnet. Open-work black straw trimmed with black lace and red roses, very high in the crown, with a "split front," is a very becoming and appropriate bonnet for a spring costume.

A pretty dress for the child bridesmaids is a pink faille slip covered with dotted muslin, not tied in at the waist, and the broadest of high Gainsborough hats of pale pink silk with immense bows, from the well-known pictures of Gainsborough's pretty women.

But if a summer bride must travel in a bonnet, there is no reason that her trousseau should not contain a large Leghorn hat, the straw caught up on the back in long loops, the spaces between filled in with bows of heliotrope ribbon. The crown should be covered with white ostrich tips. This is a very becoming hat for a lawn party.

It would be a charming addition to our well-known and somewhat worn-out Wedding-March, always played as the bride walks up the aisle, if a chorus of choir boys would sing an epithalamium, as is now done in England. These fresh young voices hailing the youthful couple would be in keeping with the child bridesmaids and the youthful brothers. Nay, they would suggest those frescoes of the Italian villas where Hymen and Cupid, two immortal boys, always precede the happy pair.

It is a pleasant part of weddings everywhere that the faithful domestics who have loved the bride from childhood are expected to assist by their presence at the ceremony, each wearing a wedding favor made by the fair hand of the bride herself. An amusing anecdote is told of a Yorkshire coachman, who, newly arrived in America, was to drive the bride to church. Not knowing him, particularly as he was a new addition to the force, the bride sent him his favor by the hands of her maid. But Yorkshire decided stoutly against receiving such a vicarious offering, and remarked, "Tell she I'd rather 'ave it from she." And so "she" was obliged to come down and affix the favor to his livery coat, or he would have resigned the "ribbons." The nurses, the cook, the maids, and the men-servants in England always expect a wedding favor and a small gratuity at a wedding, and in this country should be remembered by a box of cake, and possibly by a new dress, cap, or bonnet, or something to recall the day.

The plan of serving the refreshments at a buffet all through the reception retains its place as the most convenient and appropriate of forms. The wedding breakfast, where toasts are drunk and speeches made, is practicable in England, but hardly here, where we are not to the manner born. The old trained domestics who serve such a feast can not be invented at will in America, so that it is better to allow our well-filled tables to remain heavily laden, as they are, with dainties which defy competition, served by a corps of waiters.

The pretty plan of cutting the bride cake and hunting for a ring has been long exploded, as the bridesmaids declare that it ruins their gloves, and that in these days of eighteen buttons it is too much trouble to take off and put on a glove for the sake of finding a ring in a bit of greasy pastry. However, it might supplement a wedding supper.


Website: The History
Article Name: Summer Weddings
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina


Bibliography:  Manners and Social Usages by Mrs. John Sherwood; Harper & Brothers-New York 1894 Chapter X Loc
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