The first thing which strikes the eye of the
fortunate person who is invited to see the bridal
gifts is the predominance of silver-ware. We have
now passed the age of bronze and that of brass, and
silver holds the first place of importance. Not only
the coffee and tea sets, but the dinner sets and the
whole furniture of the writing-table, and even
brooms and brushes, are made with repouss, silver
handles--the last, of course, for the toilette, as
for dusting velvet, feathers, bonnets, etc.
The oxidized, ugly, discolored silver is not so
fashionable as it was, and the beautiful, bright,
highly polished silver, with its own natural and
unmatchable color, has come in. The salvers afford a
splendid surface for a monogram, which is now copied
from the old Dutch silver, and bears many a
true-lovers' knot, and every sort and kind of
ornamentation; sometimes even a little verse, or
posy, as it was called in olden time. One tea-caddy
at a recent wedding bore the following almost
obsolete rhyme, which Corydon might have sent to
Phyllis in pastoral times:
"My heart to you is given;
Oh do give yours to me:
We'll lock them up together,
And throw away the key."
It should be added that the silver tea-caddy was in
the shape of a heart, and that it had a key. Very
dear to the heart of a housewife is the tea-caddy
which can be locked.
Another unique present was a gold tea scoop of
ancient pattern, probably once a baby's pap spoon.
There were also apostle-spoons, and little silver
canoes and other devices to hold cigarettes and
ashes; little mysterious boxes for the toilette, to
hold the tongs for curling hair, and hair-pins;
mirror frames, and even chair-backs and tables--all
Several beautiful umbrellas, with all sorts of
handles, recalled the anecdote of the man who said
he first saw his wife in a storm, married her in a
storm, lived with her in a hurricane, but buried her
in pleasant weather; parasols with jeweled handles,
and beautiful painted fans, are also favorite
offerings to the newly married.
Friends conspire to make their offerings together,
so that there may be no duplicates, and no pieces in
the silver service which do not match. This is a
very excellent plan. Old pieces like silver
tankards, Queen Anne silver, and the ever beautiful
Baltimore workmanship, are highly prized.
It is no longer the fashion to display the presents
at the wedding. They are arranged in an upper room,
and shown to a few friends of the bride the day
before the ceremony. Nor is it the fashion for the
bride to wear many jewels. These are reserved for
her first appearance as a married woman.
Clusters of diamond stars, daisies, or primroses
that can be grouped together are now favorite gifts.
In this costly gift several friends join again, as
in the silver presentation. Diamond bracelets that
can be used as necklaces are also favorite presents.
All sorts of vases, bits of china, cloisonn,, clocks
(although there is not such a stampede of clocks and
lamps as a few years ago), choice etchings framed,
and embroidered table-cloths, doilies, and useful
coverings for bureau and wash-stands, are in order.
The bride now prefers simplicity in her
dress--splendid and costly simplicity. An elegant
white-satin and a tulle veil, the latter very full,
the former extremely long and with a sweeping train,
high corsage, and long sleeves, long white gloves,
and perhaps a flower in the hair--such is the latest
fashion for an autumn bride. The young ladies say
they prefer that their magnificence should wait for
the days after marriage, when their jewels can be
worn. There is great sense in this, for a bride is
interesting enough when she is simply attired.
The solemnization of the marriage should be in a
church, and a high ecclesiastical functionary should
be asked to solemnize it. The guests are brought in
by the ushers, who, by the way, now wear
pearl-colored kid-gloves, embroidered in black, as
do the groom and best man. The front seats are
reserved for the relatives and intimate friends, and
the head usher has a paper on which are written the
names of people entitled to these front seats. The
seats thus reserved have a white ribbon as a line of
demarcation. Music should usher in the bride.
The fashion of bridesmaids has gone out temporarily,
and one person, generally a sister, alone
accompanies the bride to the altar as her female
aid. The bride, attended by her father or near
friend, comes in last, after the ushers. After her
mother, sister, and family have preceded her, these
near relatives group themselves about the altar
steps. Her sister, or one bridesmaid, stands near
her at the altar rail, and kneels with her and the
bridegroom, as does the best man. The groom takes
his bride from the hand of her father or nearest
friend, who then retires and stands a little behind
the bridal pair. He must be near enough to respond
quickly when he hears the words, "Who giveth this
woman to be married to this man?" The bride and
groom walk out together after the ceremony, followed
by the nearest relatives, and proceed to the home
where the wedding breakfast is served. Here the
bridal pair stand under an arch of autumn-leaves,
golden-rod, asters, and other seasonable flowers,
and receive their friends, who are presented by the
The father and mother do not take any stated
position on this occasion, but mingle with the
guests, and form a part of the company. In an
opulent country house, if the day is fine, little
tables are set out on the lawn, the ladies seat
themselves around, and the gentlemen carry the
refreshments to them; or the piazzas are beautifully
decorated with autumn boughs and ferns, flowers,
evergreens, and the refreshments are served there.
If it is a bad day, of course the usual arrangements
of a crowded buffet are in order; there is no longer
a "sit-down" wedding breakfast; it does not suit our
American ideas, as recent experiments have proved.
We have many letters asking if the gentlemen of the
bride's family should wear gloves. They should, and,
as we have indicated, they should be of
pearl-colored kid, embroidered in the seams with
The one bridesmaid must be dressed in colors. At a
recent very fashionable wedding the bridesmaid wore
bright buttercup yellow, a real Directoire dress,
white lace skirt, yellow bodice, hat trimmed with
yellow--a very picturesque, pretty costume. The silk
stockings and slippers were of yellow, the hat of
Leghorn, very large, turned up at one side, yellow
plumes, and long streamers of yellow-velvet ribbon.
Yellow is now esteemed a favorite color and a
fortunate one. It once was deemed the synonym for
envy, but that has passed away.
The carrying of an ivory prayer-book was found to be
attended with inconvenience, therefore was
discontinued. Still, if a young lady wishes to have
her prayer-book associated with her vows at the
altar, she can properly carry it. Brides are,
however, leaving their bouquets at home, as the
immense size of a modern bouquet interfered with the
giving and taking of the ring.
A very pretty bit of ornamentation for an autumn
wedding is the making of a piece of tapestry of
autumn leaves to hang behind the bride as she
receives. This can be done by sewing the leaves on a
piece of drugget on which some artist has drawn a
clever sketch with chalk and charcoal. We have seen
some really elaborate and artistic groups done in
this way by earnest and unselfish girl friends.
Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Tristan and
Iseult, can thus be made to serve as decorations.
The walls of the church can, of course, be
exquisitely decorated with palms in an Oriental
pattern, flowers, and leaves. The season is one when
nature's bounty is so profuse that even the fruits
can be pressed into service. Care should be taken
not to put too many tuberoses about, for the perfume
is sickening to some.
The engagement ring should be worn on the third
finger of the left hand. It should have a solitaire
stone--either a diamond or a colored stone. Colored
stones and diamonds, set diagonally, as a sapphire
and a diamond, are also worn; but not a pearl, as,
according to the German idea, "pearls are tears for
a bride." The wedding ring is entirely different,
being merely a plain gold ring, not very wide nor a
square band, as it was a few years since, and the
engagement ring is worn as a guard above the wedding
ring. It is not usual for the bride expectant to
give a ring to her intended husband, but many girls
like to give an engagement gift to their betrothed.
Inside the engagement ring is the date of the
engagement and the initials of each of the
contracting parties. The wedding ring has the date
of the marriage and the initials.
If the marriage takes place at home, the bride and
groom enter together, and take their place before
the clergyman, who has already entered; then come
the father and mother and other friends. A pair of
hassocks should be arranged for the bridal pair to
kneel upon, and the father should be near to allow
the clergyman to see him when he asks for his
For autumn weddings nothing is so pretty for the
traveling-dress as a tailor-made costume of very
light cloth, with sacque to match for a cold day. No
traveling-dress should of itself be too heavy, as
our railway carriages are kept so very warm.
We have been asked to define the meaning of the word
"honeymoon." It comes from the Germans, who drank
mead, or metheglin--a beverage made of honey--for
thirty days after the wedding.
The bride-cake is no longer cut and served at
weddings; the present of cake in boxes has
superseded that. At the wedding breakfast the ices
are now packed in fancy boxes, which bear nuptial
mottoes and orange-blossoms and violets on their
surfaces. As the ring is the expressive emblem of
the perpetuity of the compact, and as the bride-cake
and customary libations form significant symbols of
the nectar sweets of matrimony, it will not do to
banish the cake altogether, although few people eat
it, and few wish to carry it away.
Among the Romans, June was considered the most
propitious month for marriage; but with the
Anglo-Saxons October has always been a favorite and
auspicious season. We find that the festival has
always been observed in very much the same way,
whether druidical, pagan, or Christian.
We have been asked, Who shall conduct the single
bridesmaid to the altar? It should be the brother of
the groom, her own fiancÚ, or some chosen
friend--never the best man; he does not leave his
friend the groom until he sees him fairly launched
on that hopeful but uncertain sea whose reverses and
whose smiles are being constantly tempted.
"That man must lead a happy life
Who is directed by a wife.
Who's freed from matrimonial claims
Is sure to suffer for his pains."
This is a "posy" for some October silver.