Victorian Wedding Traditions

Victorian Wedding

During the Victorian era, there was much importance put on a young lady’s wedding day. At an early age, young girls became familiar with curious rhymes and poems filled with suggestions and omens regarding the anticipated wedding day — recommendations regarding the month, day, and even the color of the dress. From the following lists of months the bride could select the one which she considered the most promising:   



Married in January's hoar and rime,
Widowed you’ll be before your prime.
Married in February's sleety weather,
Life you’ll tread in tune together.
Married when March winds shrill and roar,
Your home will lie on a foreign shore.
Married 'neath April's changeful skies,
A checkered path before you lies.
Married when bees o'er May blossoms flit,
Strangers around your board will sit
Married in month of roses — June —
Life will be one long honeymoon.
Married in July, with flowers ablaze,
Bitter-sweet mem'ries in after days.
Married in August's heat and drowse,
Lover and friend in your chosen spouse.
Married in golden September's glow,
Smooth and serene your life will go.
Married when leaves in October thin,
Toil and hardship for you begin.
Married in veils of November mist,
Fortune your wedding ring has kissed.
Married in days of December cheer,
Love's star shines brighter from year to year.
Of course, if the young Victorian girl was not thrilled with the prospects offered in the first rhyme, there was another to choose from:
Marry when the year is new,
Always loving, kind, and true.
When February birds do mate
You may wed, nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow,
Joy and sorrow both you 'll know.
Marry in April when you can,
Joy for maiden and for man.
Marry in the month of May,
You will surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses blow,
Over land and sea you 'll go.
They who in July do wed
Must labor always for their bread.
Whoever wed in August be,
Many a change are sure to see.
Marry in September's shine,
Your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry,
Love will come, but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November
Only joy will come, remember.
When December's snows fall fast,
Marry, and true love will last.
As for the days in the week, the following jingle is almost as old as time:
Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all;
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
And Saturday no luck at all.

Moreover, it was said that if the day chosen by the young lady for her wedding proved to be rainy, her life would be filled with more sorrow than joy. Snow falling on a wedding day bode well for the happy couple, being the prophecy of great happiness. That may be the reason why the winter months were so popular for marriages. Even today, probably nine brides out of every ten go to the altar wearing the proverbial:

Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a gold dollar in her shoe.
During the Victorian era, the color of the bride's wedding gown signified even more:
Married in gray, you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in brown, you will live out of town.
Married in red, you will wish yourself dead.
Married in pearl, you will live in a whirl.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow.
Married in blue, he will always be true.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.
Married in white, you have chosen aright.

Furthermore, gray was the color a bride should choose for her going-away gown if she wished to wear what, for ages, was considered the proper color to insure good luck. While today the young guest who catches the bridal bouquet will marry next, in the 19th century there was another measure -- when the cake known as the "groom's" was passed at the wedding supper, the girl who was served the longest piece would be the first to marry.


Finally, Fate was certainly kind when she decreed that for a bride to shed tears on her wedding day was a good omen, for it would take a pretty stoical young woman to go through breaking home ties without a few tears, no matter how alluring the prospect of her new life.