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A Fashionable Wedding in Paris 1892

A Fashionable Wedding in Paris 1892

In the days of Noe there was “marrying and giving in marriage; and thus shall it be till the end come.” Marriage is universal, but marriage customs differ in every nation.

However, in all countries, it is connected with the thought of feasting and happiness, even as the very word death recalls the memory of lamentation, woe, and the house of mourning. The large double page picture given this month represents an elegant French wedding.

The bride is dressed in flowing white robes, and the guests are all beautifully gowned. The husband is in evening dress, as is usual in Paris, although it looks out of place to English eyes.

The dresses have been carefully described under the picture, but reference must be just made to one—the lady standing to the left of the bride (Fig. 52). This dress is the height of elegance and would be most becoming to a tail person.

The costume illustrated in Fig. 42 is a dream of fair lace, a train comme ça would be perfect for evening wear, and the lovely pearl grey costume, trimmed with embroidered lace (Fig. 44) would make a charming bridesmaid’s dress when color is preferred to the usual white.

The little girl’s dress is also unique and stylish. The wedding party is in the vestry, where the beautiful bride and her happy husband are receiving the congratulations of their many friends.

A striking instance of the different manners and ideas of what is comme il faut is the way in which the guests are always seated in France.

At the wedding breakfast the bride and bridegroom are separated, the former being between her father and father-in-law, while the husband sits facing her with, on either hand, his mother and mother-in-law.

The guests are arranged to the right and left of the table. If there are any guests to whom it is desired to show special honor—if a man he is seated near the bride, or, if a lady, near the bridegroom.

A quiet marriage, on the tea and toast principle is now trendier and more common in Paris than a popular wedding with many guest. With the small, quiet marriage, only a few principal witnesses of the ceremony are invited.

The afternoon receptions, so much the vogue in England nowadays, are never given in France, where afternoon tea has not yet become a dire necessity.

These receptions are becoming increasingly popular in England, for in this way many more guests can be received, and at less cost than was the former formidable breakfast to the bride’s “poor papa."

In France, every bride, however poor, wears a white dress of silk or cashmere on her wedding day. These dresses are often borrowed for the occasion, and there is quite a trade made in Paris by hiring out these bridal costumes.

Amongst the bourgeois of Paris it is customary to go to a place of amusement after the “wedding is over,” and, on a beautiful afternoon, many a happy bride, proud as a peacock in her white silk dress, may be seen at the Jardin d’Acclimatation, or in the lovely gardens of Versailles, or treading the beautiful walks of the Bois de Boulogne, or the shady paths of lovely wooded St. Cloud.

There are many French proverbs with regard to marriage. “Tous les jours ne sont pas noces" is one of these. “On ne va pas aux noces sans manger,“ the equivalent to the English maxim, “One must take things as one finds them," and the clever bon mot, “Voyages des maîtres, noces de valets," are others.

There is a superstition abroad against marrying in the month of May; indeed, everywhere the springtide is unpopular for weddings, and yet the Poet laureate tells men that “In the spring a young man's fancy Lightly turns to thoughts of love."

The priests of the Middle Ages were averse to marriage festivities, and the most ascetic of them never attended a wedding save officially. One day a layman was arguing with one of these about the absurdity of the position he took; about marriage, when his Master Himself had performed His first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee.

The priest, who looked upon marriage as a temptation of the devil, was nonplussed awhile, then, equal to the occasion, muttered, “Ce n'est pas ce qu’il a fait de mieux." However, whether priest or layman disapprove, weddings and wedding rejoicings will continue till the end.

Description of Dress Fashions from Illustration

(Above, Left to Right)

  • Figure 42: Dress of pale green bengaline, trimmed with white guipure lace forming a Watteau train, finished at the top of the bodice with a bow of black velvet.
  • Figure 43: Dress of pale blue and silver-shot Surah silk with stripes of brown and old rose, bows of pale blue and silver-shot ribbon.
  • Figure 44: Child’s Dress of gray foulard, trimmed with white Irish lace.
  • Figure 45: Costume of pearl grey crepe de Chine, trimmed with cream guipure lace embroidered with colored flowers.
  • Figure 46: Dress of old rose foulard, brocaded with white flowers.
  • Figure 47: Costume of Tomblia blue Bengaline and cream mousseline de soir, in plaited velvet.
  • Figure 48: Costume of anemone pink fine cloth, the waistband of velvet, upper sleeves of white guipure lace.
  • Figure 49: Dress of beige, opening in the front over embroidery of the same shade, and edged with gold braid.
  • Figure 50: Costume of lilac-colored moiré, sleeves, and front of striped mousseline de soie, the edge of skirt and sleeves trimmed with ruching of ostrich feathers.
  • Figure 51: Dress of white satin, trails of orange blossom hiding the seams of the skirt.
  • Figure 52: Costume of black moiré silk with narrow stripes of pink satin, trimmings of black Chantilly.

French Proverbs About Marriage (Transcribed)

"Tous les jours ne sont pas noces"
"Every day is not a wedding"

"On ne va pas aux noces sans manger"
"We do not go to the wedding without eating"

"Voyages des maîtres, noces de valets"
"Travels of masters, wedding of valets"

"Ce n'est pas ce qu’il a fait de mieux"
"It's not what he did best"

"A Fashionable Wedding in Paris," in Fashions of To-Day: Being the English Edition of La Mode Pratique - A High-Class Illustrated Magazine on Fashion, London: Sampson Low Marston and Company Ltd., Vol. 1, No. 2, June 1892, p. 33 & 48.

Note: We have edited this text to correct grammatical errors and improve word choice to clarify the article for today’s readers. Changes made are typically minor, and we often left passive text “as is.” Those who need to quote the article directly should verify any changes by reviewing the original material.

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