Browse The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives Home Page

Advice on Ceremonial Traveling Gowns - 1910

Advice on Ceremonial Traveling Gowns - 1910

J.W. Lawrence Jr. & bride & wedding party, undated circa 1910,

The outfits at a quiet home wedding are less elaborate than they would be had the function a more imposing one. Frequently—and especially when no reception follows the ceremony—the bride is married in her going-away gown, which should in all cases be of inconspicuous color, though the manner of its making may be as stylish as one pleases.

In such cases, the bridesmaids or maid-of-honor would naturally be dressed quite simply, and all of the outfits should be so chosen as to be in keeping with the bridal costume.

Frequently someone asks if the bride may wear a traveling costume at a church wedding to which very many guests are invited. Such an outfit is often worn by brides who do not wish to endure the fatigue of a reception, and whose faith in the sacramental nature of the marriage vows leads them to want a celebration of the compact in a church.

A tailor-made suit of cloth correctly fills the requirements of a “traveling suit,” but gowns worn at church weddings are usually more elaborate confections of silk, velvet, or other precious fabrics in combination with some more straightforward material, which is of itself handsome and yet makes the gown suitable for a short journey.

It is entirely correct to wear for the ceremony a so-called traveling dress of light color, one which will do duty later as a visiting gown and have a pretty hat to harmonize with it.

Change these for a more unadorned going-away gown and more everyday hat before leaving for the journey. Otherwise the former delicate and dainty costume would attract too much attention, or perhaps become soiled or dust-stained and unfit for its subsequent use.

A recent bride wore a gown of pale-gray veiling, a hat with foliage and white roses, and carried a bouquet of white lilacs. Her bridesmaid—a single one being now allowable for a bride in traveling attire—wore an orchid veiling, a black hat, and carried pink orchids and white lilac.

If only a few witnesses are requested to be present at the ceremony the bride should be attired as simply as circumstances direct. In this case, a real traveling gown is worn for the wedding ceremony, but it should be chosen with discretion and with the intention of being inconspicuous while traveling.

Let it be of dark gray, tan, brown, or blue. A becoming hat not over-trimmed should complement the gown, for, while it is entirely correct for the bride to be attired in her traveling dress for her church wedding, it would be highly improper to wear a wedding veil except with a white gown.

More accessories for this costume are white, gray, or tan kid gloves and shoes or ties of patent leather; or, following the new fancy for colored shoes and ties, the bride may have her footwear match her gown in color.

When a traveling gown of this character is worn, a quiet wedding is generally desired, and the newly married couple usually depart on their honeymoon directly from the church, having planned previously that they will not return to the house after the ceremony.

Clark, Jean Wilde, Ed., Weddings and Wedding Anniversaries: The Ceremonial Traveling Gowns, New York, The Butterick Publishing Company, 1910, p. 28-29. Image: Library of Congress 2014717208.

Editor's Note: Some terminology used in the description of women's clothing during the 1800s and early 1900s has been changed to reflect more modern terms. For example, a women's "Toilette" -- a form of costume or outfit has an entirely different common meaning in the 21st century. Typical terms applied to "toilette" include outfit, ensemble, or costume, depending on context.

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.

Return to Top of Page

Vintage Wedding Dresses Archives