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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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.