by Dr. Lori Verderame
Everything Old is New Again
Weddings are experiencing an antiques revival showing that everything old is new again! Antique wedding accessories have taken center stage at contemporary wedding showers, commitment ceremonies, and wedding receptions. Antique-inspired objects highlight the past making today’s brides blush with antique style.
In the Victorian times, letters and important documents were sealed for authentication and security, today brides use white wax and wax seals for correspondence ranging from love letters to wedding invitations. Late 19th Century wax seals may turn up in grandma’s attic or at your local flea market with price tags ranging from $50 to $150.
Few knew more about good fortune than Queen Victoria. When it came to trend setting, Victoria was, well, the Queen. Old, favorite wedding traditions are reinvented. At the ceremony, an abundance of Victorian style ribbons and flowers symbolize purity, love, and good fortune. Victorian wedding traditions are coveted with contemporary brides.
Shoes to Soup Cans
In ancient times, a bride’s shoes were transferred, along with responsibility for her well-being from her father to her new husband at the wedding. This ancient custom grew into the Victorian tradition of tossing shoes at the married couple and trying to make the shoe land in the wedding carriage as they departed the church. As chronicled in William Frith’s 1881 painting called For Better/For Worse, guests aimed shoes at the open wedding carriage, blew whistles, and honked horns. It was believed that the noise distracted evil spirits from the newlyweds and shoes symbolized a prosperous life.
Like the wearing of a white dress, the Victorian shoe tradition was established in the mid to late 1800s. Today, favors in the form of shoes are the 21st Century version of a longstanding wedding ritual. During all the post-wedding excitement, if a tossed shoe landed inside the wedding carriage with the couple, then the couple would enjoy a lifetime of wealth and prosperity. Today, the contemporary wedding trend of tying shoes and cans to a car’s fender recall these wedding traditions. We now use size 8 sling backs to denote prosperity and add Campbell soup cans as noisemakers
Some brides feared getting beaned by a flying loafer at her wedding, so she instead placed a painfully large coin in her shoe. In an effort to insure good fortune, history indicates that many 19th Century brides believed that it was well worth the discomfort. Today, the shoe as a wedding symbol may be found in a variety of forms from favors to reception décor.
Flowers and Tussy Mussys
Before flowers made up the bridal bouquet, brides carried garlic down the aisle. Yes smelly garlic. Used to ward off evil spirits, cloves of garlic were later replaced with flowers including favorites such as lilies (purity), ivy (fidelity), and roses (love).
Today’s brides typically select white flowers for their wedding bouquets but are not opposed to carrying a bouquet of brightly colored and bold flowers too. Most choose the ever-popular calla lily, the biblical flower that symbolized the purity of the Virgin Mary. Simple but elegant wedding bouquets recall the Victorian style of wedding florals where certain flowers would prompt certain behaviors from the spouse. The bouquets were accompanied by flowing ribbons and Victorian flower holders called tussy mussys.
Victorian tussy mussys have returned with enthusiasm for today’s brides as the antique bouquet holders are now in vogue. If you have your great grandmother’s tussy mussy from her wedding in the late 1800s, it could range in value from $250 to $2,000 depending on market, condition, and type.
After the nuptials, couples are choosing to mark their ceremonial wedding departure with soap bubbles and not rice. Replacing traditional rice, soap bubbles symbolize the brevity of life and remind the couple to carpe diem! This soapy wedding tradition dates back to the French Rococo period as captured by French artist Chardin’s painting, The Soap Bubble, 1750. At contemporary weddings, soap bubbles remind newlyweds to enjoy life to the fullest. Sage advice from the ages!
Request an online appraisal of your wedding antique from Dr. Lori.