Culture and Entertainment


A Very White Wedding
Wedding photo, c1895,
possibly in Llandrindod Wells

Radnorshire Museum

Weddings have always been steeped in tradition and superstition but never more than in the Victorian era. There were traditions for the best day to marry:

Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday the best day of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all

and for the best month. May and Lent were considered bad times to marry, whereas June was the opposite.

The groom should not see the bride in her wedding dress before the day of the wedding. Queen Victoria started the fashion for dressing brides in white and they often wore dresses with a long train. It was usual to wear a veil, which the bride wore over her face until she had left church, and to wear long white gloves.

Bride & Groom from photograph above Detail of above photograph

For men, top hats were essential, as were morning coats with a special buttonhole in the lapel for a flower. The fashion for wearing gloves came and went. The bride's father and the ushers would dress similarly.

Bridesmaids frequently wore new fashions, often in other colours so as not to distract from the bride's gown.

However, marriages did not always follow the fashions. The following is a description of a wedding in Brecon in 1891, taken from the Brecon and Radnor Express:

"On Tuesday morning last the Plough Congregational chapel in Brecon was the scene of a very pretty wedding. The parties between whom the nuptial knot was tied being Mr W P James, son of Mr J James of Brynawel, Brecon and Miss Eleanor Mary Williams, Viaduct House, Brecon. Both the young people being very much respected and beloved in the town, a great amount of interest was taken in the happy event, and although the hour at which the ceremony was performed was somewhat early, a goodly number of friends and well-wishers assembled in the chapel. The bride, who was accompanied by her father, looked exceedingly well in her handsome dress of grey corded silk with hat to match. She also wore a beautiful enamelled brooch, the gift of the bridegroom, and carried a bouquet of bridal flowers (the gift of the best man Mr T D James). The bridesmaids - Miss Aurelia Williams and Miss Lizzie A Williams - were very prettily attired in blue (green shaded) bengaline, trimmed with old gold satin, with hats to match . . . the newly wedded couple and the wedding party left the chapel under a heavy downpour of rice, and drove to Viaduct House where the wedding breakfast was partaken of. . ."