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A touch of the old fashioned | Manolo for the Brides

A touch of the old fashioned

What follows is long, but it just tickles me, so I feel obligated to share it. These passages are from Inquire Within for Anything You Want to Know, or Over Three Thousand Seven Hundred Facts Worth Knowing published by New York: Dick and Fitzgerald in 1856. Do note that this was copied and pasted directly from the forums at the Civil War Reenactors Home Page. Enjoy!

2866. HOW TO WIN THE FAVOR OF LADIES.–To win the favor of ladies, dress and manner must never be neglected. Women look more to sense than to beauty, and a man shows his sense, or his want of it, in every action of his life. When a young man first finds himself in the company of the other sex, he is seldom free from a degree of bashfulness, which makes him more awkward than he would otherwise appear, and he very often errs from real ignorance of what he should say or do. Though a proper feeling of respect and kindness, and a desire to be obliging and agreeable, will always be recognized and appreciated, there are certain forms very convenient to be understood.

2889. _Popping the Question_.–There is nothing more appalling to a modest and sensitive young man than asking the girl he loves to marry him; and there are few who do not find their moral courage tasked to the utmost. Many a man who would lead a forlorn hope, mount a breach, and “seek the bubble reputation e’en in the cannon’ mouth,” trembles at the idea of asking a woman the question which is to decide his fate. Ladies may congratulate themselves that nature and custom have made them the responding party.


2890. In a matter which men have always found so terrible, yet which, in one way or other, they have always contrived in some awkward way to accomplish, t is not easy to give instructions suited to every emergency.

2891. A man naturally conforms to the disposition of the woman he admires. If she be serious, he will approach the awful subject with due solemnity–if gay and lively, he will make it an excellent joke–if softly sentimental, he must woo her in a strain of high-wrought romance–if severely practical, he relies upon straight-forward common sense.

2892. There is one maxim of universal application–Never lose an opportunity. What can a woman think of a lover who neglects one? Women cannot make direct advances, but they use infinite tact in giving men occasions to make them. In every case, it is fair to presume that when a woman gives a man an opportunity, she expects him to improve it; and though he may tremble, and feel his pulses throbbing and tingling through every limp; though his heart is filling up his throat, and his tongue cleaves to the roof of his mouth, yet the awful question must be asked–the fearful task accomplished.

2899. As a general rule, a gentleman never need be refused. Every woman except a heartless coquette, finds the means of discouraging a man whom she does not intend to have, before the matter comes to the point of a declaration.

2904. Where a wedding is celebrated in the usual forms, cards of invitation are issued, at least a week beforehand. The hour selected is usually eight o’clock, P. M. Wedding cake, wines, and other refreshments, are provided by the bride and her friends for the occasion. The bride is usually dressed in pure white–she wears a white veil, and her head is crowned with a wreath of white flowers, usually artificial; and orange blossoms are preferred. She should wear no ornaments but such as her intended husband or her father may present her for the occasion–certainly no gift, if any such were retained of any former sweetheart.

2905. The bridemaid or bridesmaids, if there be two, are generally younger than the bride, and should also be dressed in white, but more simply. The bridegroom must be in full dress–that is, he must wear a dress coat, which if he pleases, may be faced with white satin; a white satin vest, black pantaloons, and dress boots or pumps, black silk stockings, and white kid gloves, and a white cravat. The bridegroom is attended by one or two groomsmen, who should be dressed in a similar manner.

2906. It is the duty of the bridemaids to assist in dressing the bride, and making the necessary preparations for the entertainment of the guests. The chief groomsman engages the clergyman or magistrate, and upon his arrival, introduces him to the bride and bridegroom, and the friends of the parties.

2907. The invited guests, upon their arrival, are received as at other parties, and after visiting the dressing-rooms, and arranging their toilets, they proceed to the room where the ceremony is to be performed. In some cases the marriage is performed before the arrival of the guests.

2908. When the hour for the ceremony has arrived, and all things are ready, the wedding-party, consisting of the happy couple, with the bridesmaids and groomsmen, walk into the room arm in arm; the groomsmen each attending the bridesmaids, preceding the bride and bridegroom, and take their position at the head of the room, which is usually the end farthest from the entrance; the bride standing facing the assembly on the right of the bridegroom–the bridesmaids taking their position at her right, and the groomsmen at the left of the bridegroom.

2912. _The Bridal Chamber_.–The festivities should not be kept up too late; and at the hour of retiring, the bride is to be conducted to the bridal chamber by the bridesmaids, who assist her in her night toilet. The bridegroom upon receiving notice will retire, without farther attendance or ceremony.

2913. The practice of kissing the bride is not so common as formerly, and in regard to this, the taste of the bridegroom may be consulted, as the rest of the company follow the example of the groomsman; but the parents and very near relatives of the parties, of course act as affection prompts them.

2914. The chamber frolics, such as the whole company< 's> visiting the bride and bridegroom after they are in bed which was done some years ago, even at the marriage of monarchs, and the custom of throwing the stocking, etc., are almost universally dispensed with.

2915. WEDDING DRESS.–It is impossible to lay down specific rules for dress, as fashions change, and tastes differ. The great art consists in selecting the style of dress the most becoming.

2916. A stout person should adopt a different style from a thin person; a tall one from a short one. Peculiarities of complexion, and for of face and figure, should be duly regarded; and in these matters there is no better course than to call in the aid of an respectable milliner and dressmaker, who will be found ready to give the best advice. The bridegroom should simply appear in full dress, and should avoid everything eccentric and broad in style. The bridesmaids should always be made aware of the bride’s dress before they choose their own, which should be determined by a proper harmony with the former.

2930. WEDDING CAKES.–Four pounds of fine flour, well dried, four pounds of fresh butter, two pounds of loaf sugar, a quarter of a pound of mace pounded and sifted fine, the same of nutmegs. To every pound of flour add eight eggs; wash four pounds of currants, let them be well picked and dried before the fire; blanch a pound of sweet almonds, and cut them lengthwise very thin; a pound of citron, one pound of candied orange, the same of candied lemon; half a pint of brandy. When these are made ready work the butter with your hand to a cream, then beat in your sugar, a quarter of an hour, beat the whites of your eggs to a very strong froth, mix them with your sugar and butter; beat your yolks half an hour at least, and mix them with your cake; then put in your flour, mace and nutmeg, keep beating it well till your oven is ready–pour in the brandy, and beat the currants and almonds lightly in. Tie three sheets of white paper round the bottom of your hoop to keep it from running out, rub it well with butter, put in your cake, lay the sweetmeats in layers, with cake between each layer, and after it is risen and coloured cover it with paper before your oven is stopped up; it will require three hours to bake properly.

2931. ALMOND ICING FOR WEDDING CAKE.–Beat the whites of three eggs to a strong froth, beat a pound of Jordan almonds very fine with rose water, mix them, with the eggs, lightly together; put in by degrees a pound of common loaf sugar in powder. When the cake is baked enough, take it out, and lay it on the icing; then put it in to brown.

2932. SUGAR ICING FOR WEDDING CAKE.–Beat two pounds of double-refined sugar with two ounces of fine starch, sift the whole through a gauze sieve, then beat the whites of four eggs with a knife upon a pewter dish for half an hour; beat in your sugar a little at a time, or it will make the eggs fall, and injure the colour; when all the sugar is put in, beat it half an hour longer, and then lay on your almond icing, spreading it even with a knife. If put on as soon as the cake comes out of the oven it will harden by the time the cake is cold.

9 Responses to “A touch of the old fashioned”

  1. christine December 3, 2006 at 11:40 pm #

    Interestingly, reading this made me wonder about the future of weddings…

  2. Anonymous December 4, 2006 at 10:14 am #

    You know, as old fashioned as some of the phrasing is, their are actually pieces that still remain true today, such as about choosing a wedding gown design.

  3. Never teh Bride December 4, 2006 at 10:41 am #

    You’re quite right, Anonymous!

  4. Stephanie December 4, 2006 at 12:45 pm #

    And the advice to prospective bridegrooms about proposing in a way that suits his intended is at least as relevant today.

  5. Twistie December 4, 2006 at 2:37 pm #

    I must say that the section on making the wedding cake made me want to go pet my KitchenAid stand mixer. I may just do that anyway.

  6. Never teh Bride December 4, 2006 at 3:00 pm #

    I’ll second that, Twistie! Beat my yolks a half an hour at least? Yikes!

  7. Motormouth December 4, 2006 at 9:30 pm #

    My bridesmaids helped me get changed into my going-away outfit. They loved my “bride” bikini bottoms…

  8. La BellaDonna December 5, 2006 at 5:04 pm #

    It is possible that I am the last person on the East Coast to have made a lemon meringue pie, using a fork to make the meringue (at least outside the auspices of re-enactment).

    Believe me, it was unintentional, and due solely to the death of my mixer, and a deadline for making the pie (it was a gift, and was going traveling with us). Just the activity for someone with carpal tunnel! Not.

    Yes, Twistie, go pat that nice mixer!!l

  9. Never teh Bride December 5, 2006 at 8:10 pm #

    Ouch, La BellaDonna!

    Of course, my friends always laugh at me when I make whipped cream and meringue by hand using whatever is, um, handy. I think their laughter is based, in part, on the fact that I have one of those fancy Kitchenaide mixers. I just prefer to do it by hand, for some bizarre reason.