The History of the Wedding Gown: A Guest Post by Lucy Hayes

I restored this Victorian Gown so that it could be worn by the original owners great great granddaughter on her wedding day. She wore the strapless more comtemporary version to her evening celebrations. Note the intricate and rather beautiful Victorian shell –pleating which was a labor of love for me to copy.

(Image courtesy of Lucy Hayes)

Thomas Hardy’s ‘Tess of the Durbervilles’ introduces the concept of a white wedding dress as Tess ponders her wedding attire.

 “She wondered whether he would like her to be married in her present best white frock, or if she ought to buy a new one. The question was set at rest by his forethought, disclosed by the arrival of some large packages addressed to her. In side them she found a whole stock of clothing, from bonnet to shoes, including a perfect morning costume, such as would well suit the simple wedding they planned.”

 The white bridal gown is perceived as deep seated tradition of British culture; however it is not based in antiquity but rather a tradition established by Queen Victoria. Historically, bridal gowns actually assumed various different colours.