As a history lover, one of the most exciting parts of writing the White Swans series is all the research needed for creating an accurate setting with precise details.
It is unknown how common the white wedding dress was during the Regency Era, but some think it might have been more popular than we believe. Back in 1814, even Jane Austen’s nice, Anna, married in a white muslin wedding dress. Although some did wear a white gown, the actual veil did not become popular until later in the century. Usually a bride wore flowers in her hair or a bonnet trimmed with lace. Flowers at weddings date back to ancient Greece when the women wove flowers into wreaths and placed them on the brides head, a token of good luck from Mother Nature.
It was customary for royalty to wear silver on their wedding day. Princess Charlotta in 1816 conformed to the practice. Queen Victoria, on the other hand, established the new tradition of wearing white, stepping out of the usual convention. When she married her beloved Prince Albert, she decided not to wear the royal silver. Instead, the queen wore a simple white satin dress trimmed with Honiton lace, with a Honiton long veil, and an orange blossom wreath on her head to symbolize purity.
White became the fashion, and it was made easy and inexpensive with the introduction of machine made lace and dresses.
In the Regency Period, even more important than the wedding was the announcement printed in the newspapers. If a wedding was not announced properly in the paper it would almost be like the matrimony never took place as Jane Austin wrote:
“The latter writes me word that Miss Blackford is married, but I have never seen it in the papers, and one may as well be single if the wedding is not to be in print.”
During this period, ordinary folks celebrated weddings in the morning. The reception would consist of eggs, ham, a roll or buttered toast and wedding cake. The more well to do had a more elaborate menu to feast on like white soup, chips and dip, celery stalks and possibly spiced wine.
The wealthy and royals had fancy, formal dinner parties with famous chefs preparing the meals, which might have consisted of at least fifteen different courses, including, perhaps, roasted chicken, rabbit, quail, steamed vegetables and gooseberry tart.
Indeed, the research revealed many little details I knew nothing about. I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering some of these facts with me.
Some of the sources I used for my research: