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Bridal White?

As you can see from this photograph of a bridal couple sometime in the 1880’s, wedding gowns have not always been white. In fact, in the American West between the 1830’s and the 1870’s the single most common color for a wedding gown was…plaid.

Plaids were fashionable throughout the period, and in a time when clothes were often handed down and remade by other family members, a white dress just wasn’t practical for the majority of brides.

Age and life experience also played a role in brides wearing colors other than white. A widow, for instance, would never consider wearing white even if she was quite young. In fact, etiquette manuals from the late Victorian period generally suggested grey or mauve as suitable colors for the woman who chose to remarry. An older bride would also be steered gently away from wearing white no matter how virginal she might be.

Then, too, there are cultures that think of some color other than white as the bridal color. German and Scandinavian women were usually married in black unless they were fairly wealthy.

Even now, some bold souls dare to choose color for their wedding days. If there’s a color you like and look good in, why not consider wearing that instead of white? You’ve certainly got a wealth of history behind you!

Do you feel lucky, bride? Well do you?

I’ve long been amused by the various traditions concerning luck and lack thereof for brides and grooms. Some make a certain amount of sense, such as a sunny day for the wedding being a sign of luck. Others make little or no sense. Why is it considered lucky, after all, for brides to kiss chimney sweeps? I have no clue.

Just for fun, here are some ways to make your own luck on your wedding day…though I disclaim any responsibility for bad luck incurred or good luck not delivered by following or failing to follow any of these helpful hints, particularly those which directly contradict one another:

It’s good luck if you drop the wedding ring, because that allows the bad luck to be shaken out.

It’s bad luck to drop the wedding ring. Whichever of you drops it will be the first to die.

It’s good luck to wear a silk wedding gown.

It’s bad luck to see yourself in your completed bridal finery before the wedding.

It’s good luck to wear white, which symbolizes joy or blue, which symbolizes fidelity.

It’s bad luck to wear anything black or to wear purple on your wedding day because these colors are associated with mourning and indicate early widowhood.

It’s good luck to wear a veil previously worn by a happy bride.

It’s bad luck to wear your veil with your gown before the wedding day.

It’s good luck for a bride to place a gold coin in her right shoe before walking down the aisle. By walking on gold, she’s assuring prosperity for the marriage.

It’s bad luck to allow the bride to cross the threshold of her new home without being carried. (One assumes this is because the gold coin in her shoe will finally trip her. )

It’s good luck for a bride to meet and kiss a chimney sweep on her way to the church.

It’s bad luck for her to meet up with a clergyman, police officer, lawyer, or doctor on the way to the church. No information was readily available on whether that changed if she kissed any of them.
It’s good luck for the bridal party to see a black cat, a grey horse, or an elephant on the way to church.

It’s bad luck for a pig to run across the path of the bridal party on their way to church.

It’s good luck to feed the cat before you go to your wedding, or if the cat sneezes.

It’s bad luck to marry on the same day – or even in the same year – as your sister, lest both marriages be unhappy.

It’s good luck if your wedding day is sunny, or if it snows.

It’s bad luck if your wedding day is windy, or if it rains.

It’s good luck if a baby cries during the wedding ceremony.

It’s bad luck if the bride cries at any point in the day other than during the ceremony itself.

And if the bride reads the entire ceremony before it happens, the wedding will not take place, so I’m told. Is this because she sees what she’s letting herself in for?

The Manolo for the Brides Forum

Manolo says, hello to the readers of the Manolo for the Brides!

The Manolo would like to announce that he has opened the discussion forum the Manolo for the Brides readers at his new Manolo’s Super Fantastic Forums. Here you may discuss in greater details all of the things about the weddings, and the bridal fashion, and the cakes, and all of the topics mentioned in the Manolo for the Brides Blog.

Click here to be taken to the Manolo for the Brides Super Fantastic Forum.

From the Manolo: Reader Survey Time!

Manolo says, for the next week the Manolo for the Brides blog will be conducting the survey of the readers for our internet friends at the Coutorture Network. If you would be so kind as to please fill out the survey in the column to the immediate right, the Manolo would be most grateful.

A lady, all the way to her fingertips

Today’s post is sort of in accordance with my resolution to clear out my inbox. You see, more than a year ago, the fabulous Madelene (aka Gidget Bananas) sent me a link to a post on A Dress A Day that featured a vintage swan-like satin gown with faux feathers and plenty of tulle for sale on Vintage Textile‘s Treasure Hunt page. Of course, the gown has long since been snapped up by some lucky bride or some lucky collector. Who knows?

Anyhow, revisiting Madelene’s long-neglected e-mail inspired me to browse the current Treasure Hunt offerings. There, I found gloves and lots of ‘em. I don’t know about you, but I love gloves. There is something so ladylike and elegant about a nice pair of properly worn kid gloves, long or short. Check out these fabulous French evening gloves in beige:

Oh my gawd, they\'re gorgeous!

Of course, if you are planning to wear gloves on your wedding day, you may very well have questions as to the proper usage of such an accessory. Check out Hudson Valley Weddings’ comprehensive glove guide, “Gloves, a Wedding Style-Setter.” Or visit eHow, which, surprisingly, has a shorter basic glove-wearing guide.

STEP 3: Choose the glove length, determined by the number of buttons, based on the type of dress worn. For instance, both the 6-button glove, which ends just below the elbow, and the 8-button glove, which reaches the elbow, look best with a short-sleeved gown; the 16-button glove, also known as the opera-length glove, extends to the upper arm and accents a sleeveless or strapless gown. Forgo gloves when donning a long-sleeved dress, or else wear wrist-length gloves.

STEP 4: Slit the seam of a long glove at the underside of the ring finger to be able to slip your finger out during the ceremonial ring exchange – resew the seam after the wedding. If you opt for shorter wrist-length gloves, you can simply remove the glove and hand it to a bridal attendant.

STEP 5: Slip your now beautifully adorned finger discreetly back in your glove, or if you took off the glove completely, leave it off for the remainder of the ceremony.

Don’t forget, however, to put your glove back on at the end of the ceremony, before photographs are taken, as you don’t want to look back at those pictures and think of Michael Jackson. But always, always, always take your gloves off before eating and drinking, and keep them off while cutting the cake.

Nuptial randomness

If you’re a groom or know a groom, check out The Engaged Groom: You’re Getting Married. Read this Book. I’m reading it right now–it’s awesome so far–and will post a review when I’m done!

And if you’re in New York City or near it (and ready to buy your wedding dress), consider stopping by the the Brides Against Breast Cancer Wedding Gown Sale. On August 17 through 19, brides can ind the gown of their dreams while making wishes come true for terminal breast cancer patients and their families. The sale will feature new and used designer gowns, normally priced up to $15,000, starting at just $250. Proceeds will benefit Making Memories, a foundation dedicated to helping terminally ill breast cancer patients.

But if you’re not in the market for a gown but have a gown to donate or want to help out, the folks at Making Memories are still looking for donations and volunteers! And if you’re not in NYC, note that the sale will be moving through Chicago, Washington, DC, Philly, and more later in the year.

Finally, if you love weird nuptials as much as I do, check out Andrea E. Hoag’s wacky wedding piece on Canadian Bride. This collection of cringe-worthy wedding tales is sure to captivate.

For the bridesmaid or the bride?

Here comes the bridesmaid

I’ve noticed lately that the gulf that divides wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses is slowly coming together. The once clunky, never-to-be-worn again bridesmaid dress is becoming classier, slinkier, and, quite often, longer and more formal. And while the typically poufy, princessy wedding dress still dominates the matrimonial scene, there are plenty of less ornate offerings on the market.

In my frequent perusals of various sorts of eveningwear (which I have no occasion to wear but love to ooh and ahh over anyhow), I often check the manufacturer’s or designer’s color chart to see of a particular gown is available in white or ivory or cream. Lately, I’ve seen a range of bridesmaid dresses that could make fine wedding dresses, come in some shade of white, and are furthermore half or one third the price of your average wedding gown.

Can I get a collective “Whoopee!” from classy yet thrifty future brides? For those wondering, the above picture is of a Priscilla of Boston strapless satin bridesmaid gown with button-up back and banded trim in orchid. Here, for your consideration, is the same dress in vanilla:

And here comes the bride!

From bridesmaid to bride in one easy click!

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