Wedding Theme Ideas

How to Pull Off a Victorian-Style Wedding

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shutterstock_415140385Do you love the Victorian era? Do you dream of getting the chance to dress in Victorian-style fashion and dance in a Victorian-style ballroom? Then why not have a Victorian-themed wedding? Here are some suggestions to help you pull off your Victorian-style wedding.

Choose a Stylish Venue

Your choice in wedding venue has a lot to do with setting the tone for your ceremony and reception. From the guestrooms to the ballrooms, be sure to choose a place that features Victorian-style architecture or an 1880’s vibe. Think chandeliers, textured walls, tiered ceilings, and hand-crafted, antique decorative pieces.

Dress to Fit the Era

To bring the true spirit of the Victorian era to your wedding, be sure you choose the proper attire. For the bride and bridesmaids, that means lots of ruffles, bows, and lace. Satin wedding dresses were also common in this time period. Brides might consider purchasing a vintage wedding dress to get the truly “antique” Victorian feel. You may also want to wear a corset and petticoat layers under the dress. Brides should wear a long lace veil like Queen Victoria and other brides did during this time period.

For your jewelry, think pearls and lace. A lace choker adorned with pearls, for instance, gives off a Victorian vibe. Pearl earrings, necklaces, or hairpieces will also go well with the rest of your attire. It’s okay to throw jewels into the mix, but you’re definitely safe if you stick with pearls.

If you’re having a morning wedding, men should wear morning dress. However, if the wedding is in the evening, they should wear a tailcoat. Many men of this era also wore top hats, so you may want to add that as an extra touch.

Use a Tussy Mussy Bouquet

A bridal bouquet in the Victorian era was called a “tussy mussy.” It’s a small group of flowers placed in a metal vase designed to be carried. Traditionally, the metal vase was made of silver, though you can choose any metal to hold the flowers.

Tussy mussies are small and sometimes have a long chain with a “finger ring” so women can hold it while dancing. You can also use a holder with a base so you can stand it up as a centerpiece for your dining table. Consider purchasing a vintage tussy mussy from an antique shop for an authentic Victorian look.

The types of flowers may vary, but remember that the Victorian tradition uses different flowers for specific meanings. For example, red roses mean true love, red tulips are a declaration of love, blue violets mean faithfulness, and lily of the valley means trustworthiness. You can also use baby’s breath to signify innocence and purity and myrtle for hope and love.

Follow Victorian Wedding Cake Traditions

To follow the Victorian traditions, your wedding cake should be a dark fruit cake decorated with ornate patterns, flowers, or pearls. Most Victorian wedding cakes aren’t very high. Queen Victoria’s was only 14-inches high, although it was nine feet in circumference to accommodate all the guests. Hers was decorated with roses and covered in pure white sugar with a figure of Britannia blessing the bride and groom on top. Yours may feature real lace or flowers for a Victorian touch.

To keep up with the Victorian traditions, place charms of good luck inside the cake. These charms — which all hold meaning — are attached to white, satin ribbons that sit under the bottom layer of the cake. This allows the charms to dangle around the perimeter. Before the cake cutting, the wedding party — including bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, etc. — each pull a charm from the cake. Each charm holds a promise about the future.

Play Classical Music

Don’t forget that your music can set the scene just as well as your décor and dress can. For a Victorian-style wedding, play string music, such as violins and harps. Classical selections like Beethoven and Tchaikovsky are good choices. If you’d like to play more modern music at the reception, consider playing these classical tunes during the cocktail hour and dinner. However, you may decide to play some strings for your dancing debut so you can waltz your way into your new marriage.

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Serve a Victorian-Inspired Meal

Your food choices at a Victorian wedding will vary greatly depending on which direction you’d like to go. For example, think afternoon tea for the cocktail hour. Include appetizers like tea sandwiches, scones, and fresh berries. For the dinner reception, think a high-class, multi-course meal. Pork, filet mignon, roast duck, and oysters are all viable options. Don’t forget to serve brandy and/or fine wines.

Choose Era-Inspired Wedding Favors

When choosing wedding favors for your guests, consider those that continue the Victorian theme. For example, you could hand out folding paper fans. Maybe customize them by printing your wedding date on them. Crackers, like those popular around the holidays, are another good idea since they were invented during this time period. Fill the crackers with small trinkets that serve as reminders of the bride and groom’s special day. For other ideas, anything floral or ornate should work.

Stage the Photographs

Keep the Victorian theme going in your wedding photography. Stage the scene in the studio or outdoors, and make sure to have props handy. For example, the men might wear top hats, and a couple of the bridesmaids might have Victorian-style umbrellas. You could also photograph a few pictures with Victorian-style furniture or outside a home or building featuring Victorian-era architecture. Ask your photographer to make some of the images sepia toned, and then hang your photos in ornate frames at home.

Breaking away from modern tradition at your wedding and infusing your party with Victorian styles and customs isn’t difficult. It all starts with the right venue and a little bit of research to mimic the traditions of Victorian England.

Which suggestions from this list will you take when planning your Victorian-themed wedding?

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