The Pre-1900s Weekday Wedding – Past Wedding Traditions

Dress, Evening; 1850-1855; silk, cotton; Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession no. 2009.300.921a, b); visit http://www.metmuseum.org

A while back I read an article on pre-twentieth-century weddings and how the bride would not wear white or have a special dress made, but would appear in her very best dress, whatever color of dress that may have been–black, brown, dark green, and so on. Black would have been handy because it could do double duty as mourning attire. Plaids and florals were also very popular at one time. The idea of purchasing a dress that would only be worn once would have seemed very wasteful, apart from probably being prohibitively expensive (a white dress even more so–imagine trying to clean it without today’s technologies).

Wedding Ensemble, 1878, American, silk, Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession no. 2009.300.18a, b); visit http://www.metmuseum.org

It was only when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840 in a white satin gown specially made for the occasion, that brides began clamoring for white gowns, but a trend did not really come about until the late 1800s when such dresses could be better produced, transported, and marketed to the public, and were more affordable for the everyday woman.

Weddings often took place in the evening at the home of the bride, often on weekdays, particularly on Thursday evenings. This allowed the work of the day (weekends included), whether on the farm or elsewhere, to be accomplished and livelihoods thus maintained.

Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

Honeymoon photo, Frank M. Brodhead and Fannie Bishop Woodruff, married June 6, 1908

A handy day of week calendar allows you to take any date in history and find out what day of the week it was.  I decided to randomly check on some wedding dates I have in my database to see on which days weddings most often fell. As you can see, at least in my little random sample, they fell on all days of the week apart from Friday, with Thursday edging out the other days. And, while June is now the most popular month for weddings, I only found three ceremonies that fell in that month.

Sunday
John Woodruff and Mary Ogden Earl, 2/16/1817
Thomas Trewin and Mary Anne Phillips, 1/27/1839
James W. Angus and Anna Carpenter, 2/27/1870

Monday
John Woodruff and Sarah Cooper, 10/25/1683

Tuesday
George Wills and Mary Pitt Capon, 4/14/1812
Capt. Daniel Brodhead and Hester Wyngart, 9/19/1719
Calvin Easton Brodhead and Laura Leisenring, 12/6/1870
James Easton Brodhead and Harriet Boyd, 5/1/1877
Sampson Wills and Ann Gadsden, 9/22/1789

Wednesday
Francis Woodruff and Mary Jane Trowbridge, 11/12/1845
AJ Brodhead and Ophelia Easton, 12/31/1845
Austin F. Knowles and Mary M. Angus, 9/4/1867

Thursday
Henry Jaques, Sr. and Anna Knight, 10/8/1648
Henry Jaques, Jr. and Hannah Trueman, 4/10/1670
Lt. Garret Brodhead and Jane Davis, 3/15/1759
Garret Brodhead and Cornelia Dingman, 11/25/1813
William Earl Woodruff and Wealthy Ann Angus, 6/20/1872
Robert Packer Brodhead and Frances Loveland, 5/23/1889
Frank Ludey and Metta Ryman, 6/18/1896
Minnie Ludey and Herbert Duryea Crane, 9/24/1897

Saturday
Capt. Richard Brodhead and Magdalena Jansen, 4/19/1692
Timothy Woodruff and Elizabeth Parsons, 9/25/1739
James Winans Angus and Wealthy Ann Jaques, 1/26/1839
Frank Brodhead and Fannie Woodruff, 6/6/1908

For an interesting article on wedding fashions, visit the Monroe County [PA] Historical Society’s site.

I’ll close by including some wedding announcements of various family members. Two have appeared in previous posts, but the other two (of the Ludey siblings) are appearing in this blog for the first time. Wish we had some photos!

Brodhead-Woodruff Wedding Announcement (Probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal) - from our family's private archives

Brodhead-Woodruff Wedding Announcement (Probably clipped from the Elizabeth Daily Journal) – from our family’s private archives

Brodhead-Loveland Marriage Announcement, 1889

Frank T. Ludey Jr. (1871-1900), age 21  (Courtesy of Ruth Kirby Dean, great granddaughter)

Frank T. Ludey Jr. (1871-1900), age 21 (Courtesy of Ruth Kirby Dean, great granddaughter)

Ludey-Ryman Wedding, The New York Times, 6/19/1896

Mary ("Minnie") Emma Ludey (1873-1938), age 21 (Courtesy of Ruth Kirby Dean, great granddaughter)

Mary (“Minnie”) Emma Ludey (1873-1938), age 21 (Courtesy of Ruth Kirby Dean, great granddaughter)

Herbert Duryea Crane  (Courtesy of Ruth Kirby Dean, great granddaughter)

Herbert Duryea Crane (Courtesy of Ruth Kirby Dean, great granddaughter)

Ludey-Crane Marriage, Jersey City, The Evening Journal, 9/24/1897

Ludey-Crane Marriage, Jersey City, The Evening Journal, 9/24/1897

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Categories: Angus, Brodhead, Crane, Dingman, Easton, Jaques, Knowles, Ludey, Phillips, Ryman, Trewin, Trowbridge, Weddings, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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