The Turn Of The Century – La Belle Époque – The early 1900’s. 1900s Edwardian and Victorian Wedding Style was influenced by the vast changes in lifestyle were created by fantastic inventions and discoveries. Imagine a decade that brought about the first commonly used electricity into homes, The Ford Model T, the first flight by the Wright Brothers and the amazing Victrola. Sadly it also encompassed the First World War as well. These tumultuous times brought about new trends in lifestyle and fashion. Women progress in expressing themselves which also included their beauty regimes and fashions. Newly confident women wore a feminine silhouette, curvy hips under long skirts that brushed the floor. Throughout the decade, changes were prevalent in women’s wear. Early 1900s styles proved to be dramatically different from their 1919 counterparts. Influences included the Charles Dana Gibson “Gibson Girl” and the birth of the Parisian haute couture. A Bride of the 1900s era may have been a vision in lace in an Edwardian style. She would have a “pouter pigeon” bosom silhouette, corseted bodice and romantic ruffles, a tiny waist encircled with a satin ribbon above a lavish skirt, perhaps carrying a parasol as an accent. This era also offers brides a Gibson Girl look for hairstyles, soft and upswept. A mid-decade bride would wear “cutting edge” fashions of the day from Paris, a neo-Empire style. Late decade styles simplified dresses and brought about a slimmer silhouette, with less fabric in the skirts, foreshadowing the changes yet to be seen in the 1920s. Jewelry may feature lovely art nouveau designs, and later in the century, diamonds from Tiffany were all the rage.
Ladies cosmetics in the 1900s were used in a way so as to appear un-made-up. Make up in the early part of the century was frowned upon, for fear of being seen as a “loose woman”. It was desirable to appear as if the sun had never kissed your face, paler than pale porcelain skin was the canvas to begin with. All make up effects were to appear as if you were born that way. A smokey eye, full eye brows and a rosy blush will make your groom swoon. The proper bridal bouquet for a 1900s bride would be the stunning arm sheath bouquet. Popular in the early 1900’s under the name of Bernhardt bouquets; inspired by bouquets given to the actress, Sarah Bernhardt. The bride carries the bouquet cradled in her arm, also known as a presentation bouquet. Flowers of choice were white roses, white orchids, lilies of the valley, or orange blossoms.
For the groom, the long, lean, and athletic silhouette of the 1890s remained popular. Hair was cut worn short. Beards were less pointed and curled moustaches were popular. The cutaway morning coat was worn for formal day occasions, with striped trousers. The most formal evening dress was a dark tail coat and trousers with a dark or light waistcoat. Evening wear was worn with a white bow tie and shirt with winged collar. Popular images for the era included the Arrow Collar Man created by J.C. Leyendecker.
New to 1906, The Victrola brought recorded music home in style. Starting out your reception party with a few Ragtime selections like Scott Joplin‘s “Maple Leaf Rag” and going through the early Jazz Age including early jazz standards will be a wonderfully fun, and charming soundtrack for a wedding reception. Be sure to hit the dance floor in 1900s style, following the example of Irene and Vernon Castle by doing the Foxtrot, Tango, Peabody and other ragtime dances. Be sure to hire a dance teacher with vintage dance experience to choreograph your first dance in vintage style. Seek further guidance to this era by watching the television series “Downton Abbey” and movies such as “Howard’s End” and “My Fair Lady“.