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The Best Wedding Dress for the Venue - 1911

The Best Wedding Dress for the Venue

Trousseaux and wedding gowns, bridesmaids in open revolt over the cut of their dresses and the size of their hats, inconspicuous bridegrooms, and small flower-girls swelled with importance who fancy the whole wedding revolves around them— it is a busy month, isn't it?

For my weddings—that has rather a Mormonistic sound, hasn't it?-I use white satin almost invariably. Not a stiff, heavy satin, of course, but something as light and pliable as a chiffon, but with all the luster and radiance that goes with the traditional wedding gown.

And with its lace and seed pearl embroidery, lovely enough to dream about, but all of it subordinated to the beautiful, stately lines of the dress itself. I am rather autocratic about wedding-dresses, for I think, they should be very simple.

At other times, if women want fussy clothes overloaded with trimming, and nothing else will make them happy, I do not try to force other standards of taste upon them. But for the wedding-dress the law of dignity, beauty and simplicity should be absolute, inviolable.

For church weddings, I use a long train that lies three or four feet on the ground. It is always weighted very heavily so that it “follows" slowly, draggingly, and doesn't jerk and hop along like a cheerful cricket.

The weights hold it out to its full length and keep it in set, unbroken lines. In the model, I have been using this Spring the skirt is made with a very graceful one-sided tunic.

The underskirt and each half of the tunic end in a long pointed tail, and the three points together form the train. The waist of the train is made of the satin draped in a surplice over a deep chemisette of lace.

I usually bring the sleeves down to the elbow or a little below it, and for a large formal wedding, the neck of the dress is apt to be high, though now and then a bride will insist on having a collarless waist.

The length of the veil varies a good deal, for a good many girls wear real lace that has been handed down for generations, and a short veil that only comes a little below the waistline will represent a small fortune.

The white tulle is almost more ethereal looking than lace, and it is more manageable, for you can take liberties with it that you cannot with family heirlooms.

A tulle veil should reach to the bottom of the dress at the sides and back. It is adjusted on the head first, and then we simply take a pair of shears and cut it off even with the skirt and train.

It can be arranged very prettily in assort of cap effect held to the head with orange-blossoms placed just back of the ears. Faces differ, and a veil that will look well on one girl will not suit another.

Bridesmaids' dresses have to be treated with a high hand, for if you start to consider individual types and preferences, you will find yourself in a hopeless muddle.

I feel inclined to say to the rising generation, “Begin young, my dear children, and choose for your intimate friends girls who will look well together in your bridal procession," but I am afraid it would be words wasted.

I have planned a number of lovely weddings this year, but in one of the most successful, from the pictorial point of view—you remember the answer the woman gave when she was asked if it was a happy marriage?

“Oh, yes, my dear, eight hundred presents, and the bridesmaids' dresses were beautiful!"

However, to go back to my successful wedding, the bridesmaids wore the most adorable frocks of a changeable old-blue and rose chiffon over old-blue satin.

They were made after the scanty, high-waisted Greenaway fashion with straight tunics edged with a deep border of multi-colored flowers and bound at the top and bottom with very full ruchings of frayed taffeta.

With the dresses, they wore the quaintest, dearest little poke bonnets and skimpy shoulder scarfs made of the chiffon and taffeta, and carried huge oblong muffs of the printed chiffon trimmed like bonnet and skirt with the full ruchings of dull blue taffeta. 

The dress for the bride's mother has to be handled with considerable tact. There have been any number of eighteen and - nineteen year old - brides lately, the young daughters of young mothers.

A woman under forty is apt to feel that there is something almost unfilially in calling the attention of the world to the fact that her children are of marriageable age. Her gown must be young-looking without being frivolous; dignified, but with nothing to suggest an elderly woman.

She has an amiable weakness for being taken for her girl's elder sister that one must bear in mind in choosing her clothes. It is not hard this year, fortunately, for youth and age are merged in one as far as styles are concerned.

The rule in regard to colors for the mother's dress grows less and less arbitrary every year. As long as it is not too pronounced she can wear any color she likes.

One dress that I made recently was of soft dull-blue chiffon hemmed with black. It had a one-piece overskirt lapped at the waistline and separating below it, leaving a narrow triangular opening in front.

The edges of the tunic and the underskirt were finished with six-inch hems of black chiffon. The same triangular effect was used in the waist, the wider part coming, of course, at the shoulders. 

The chemisette came to the waistline at the front and back and was made of plain white chiffon with a band of the black at the top of the collar.

I use white chiffon a great deal for chemisettes this Spring. The nets and net laces are still good, but the chiffon is newer and fresher looking. It is becoming, and I like it very much.

For Summer dresses, I am using a great deal of taffeta in place of satin and foulard. For dresses, and occasionally for suits, I use chiffon and taffeta together— taffeta for the flounce and sash panels on the skirt and trimming bands on the coat— chiffon for the coat itself and for the skirt.

Simcox, Mrs. Clara E., "Now Comes The Bride: Picturesque Wedding-Parties In Which The Groom Is A Mere Detail," in The Delineator, New York: The Butterick Publishing Company, Vol. LXXVII, No. 6, June 1911, p. 470.

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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