French Bridal Dress, September 1813

Journal des Dames et des Modes, September 10, 1813.

“Une Mariée”

French Bridal Dress Septembr 1813

This is one of the earliest prints I have come across that identifies the dress is a bridal dress.

Most weddings were held during the morning, and contemporary sources suggest that brides wore their best day dress and bonnet to their morning weddings. But throughout the 1810s, especially the later years of the decade, we begin to see prints of dresses identified as bridal dresses, which look for all intents and purposes as full evening dresses.

This perhaps suggests a gradual change in wedding customs, where the participants, especially the bride, donned more formal dress, just as they do now. None of the prints of bridal dresses that I’ve seen show a day dress and bonnet. A few, mostly French, show a veil, as here.

The print is not described in the magazine (almost none were), but it appears to be a lace dress over an underskirt trimmed with flowers at the hem. The waist is quite high, much higher than those seen in British prints of this year. The headdress and bosom are ornamented with what appear to be roses and sprigs of wheat, or what the British would call corn. Other prints of bridal dress also show sprigs of grain. Perhaps it was used as a symbol, of fruitfulness or fertility.



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