|A pleasantly purple wedding kaftan that would have been worn by a Jewish-Turkish bride (Magnes Collection)|
It should be noted that Miss Kagashi hates weddings- or at least mainstream American ones. The blogger will spare you all her acid concerning these travesties of consumerism unless asked, however. So why focus an entire article on weddings and dresses worn by brides around the world if I detest them so? Much like headgear and etiquette, things were just so much more nifty back then and elsewhere. If these gorgeous pieces of art can make a believer out of me- who knows, I might get some drooling out of you.
|This Jewish bride from Morocco's attire is anything but dull. Eugene Delacroix, 1832 (Hoocher)|
|Wedding hanbok from the collection of Linda Wrigglesworth (Londonkoreanlinks)|
This bridal hanbok (the basic garment of Joseon Korea) was made and worn in the 19th century and decorated with actual gold plate. The rainbow sleeves (saekdong) are also traditional- a call to each of the five directions for their blessing. Part of the traditional Korean wedding ceremony is for the bride and husband to bow to one another- as that was originally the first time they would ever meet (thankfully this has gone the way of dial-up). For this custom the bride was flanked by bridesmaids because her wedding garb would be so heavy that she might require help to rise from her bow. While Western fashions have become popular, a lot of modern Korean girls like to get married in traditional dress- albeit not as overbearing as in prior generations, so the bow-guards' jobs are mostly symbolic.
One fun tradition that the French took with them to most of their colonies was that of the charivari- a loud and raucous procession made by family and friends of the newlywed couple. The band of well-wishers would make their way to the house of the couple, making all manner of racket on pots, pans, kettles, and washtubs until they were invited in for refreshment (punch and pie!). The charivari hit its pinnacle in the 18th and early 19th centuries, but is still done in parts of Quebec and Cajun country in the southern United States. I think it needs to come back, mainly because I want to harass my sister while banging on a mixing bowl demanding an omelet or something.
|Photo taken by Coleen over at Costume History is Fun!|
|A full Turkish bridal ensemble from the 1900s (V & A Museum)|
A slightly less delightful tradition is the rather old-fashioned announcement that the bride was in fact a virgin in front of the guests, family, friends, and well... everybody. While this is very touching that any Ottoman groom worth his salt would be appalled at the thought of any man but he bonking his wife, it doesn't exactly help that he was allowed to sleep around as much as he liked before and after marriage... but hey, at least she has a gorgeous dress as consolation!
|A 19th century Manchu-style wedding robe (Miller's Antiques)|
Just in case a luck-infused dress wasn't enough, one of the pre-wedding customs was for a person called the "Good Luck Woman" to style the bride's hair while uttering encouraging, auspicious, and complimentary blessings. When my sister gets married this fall I might bribe the hairdresser to do this, everybody could do with a pep talk...
|Wedding gown from Attica, found in the Benaki Museum (Caro Interiors)|
|A Kazakh bride in 1911- judging by the horse's pose the engagement was consensual (Sergei Ivanovich Borisov)|
If the parties agreed however, a Kazakh bride would wear a tall, steepled, bejeweled headdress called a saukele. This highly ornamented hat would be worn the entire first year of marriage and probably caused many a backache for a newlywed crawling out of her yurt.
|Yes, this is a traditional Spanish wedding gown. And yes... I kind of want one. (Elegant Event Designs)|
The mantilla was affixed to the bride's hair with ornately carved mantilla combs- which are now highly collectible...
|This one's from the 1870s- I couldn't find one from the 1860s that struck my fancy (V & A)|
I hope you enjoyed this bride-gawking jaunt around the world (which is by no means complete, I'm rather peeved that after 2 hours of searching I wasn't able to find an extant picture of an Indian bride- but worry not, we'll be discussing henna soon!) and some of those gorgeous gowns of yesteryear. If you find yourself to be wedded this June (or some time in the near future) I wish you the best of fortune and happiness (and that you weren't abducted from your yurt...)