June and the Summer Months have our minds turning toward wedding season and all the joy and beauty and traditions that surround it.
Who as a child hasnt sat looking at old photographs of relatives long gone, celebrating weddings? That old black & white 8×10 of Grandma and Grandpa, looking so young and hopeful.Aunts and Uncles and cousins in starched collars and lace veils.
I thought it would be fun to feature a little bit of Floral wedding history for my readers this month and scoured my photo albums and historic notes to find wedding photos that would reflect the decades from Victorian to 2011. with a bit of commentary on the floral bridal bouquets. You may be surprised to see a renewal of these styles in our current selections. so lets explore the years!
1890-1900’s– Oh those Naughty Victorians! They loved the most ornate of fashions, laces, layers, and FLOWERS. Our Great great Granny’s did not have the luxury of the modern floral storage or even the gorgeous flowers we take for granted today. The Victorian Bride placed “Meaning” in her bouquet with selections from the seasonal garden. Orange Blossom, Lily Of the Valley, Myrtle, Honeysuckle, Garden roses, Gardenia and Massive displays of Botanical specimens. a Tiny nosegay tucked at the waist or neckline of a gown was considered proper, and as the turn of the century progressed the signs of wealth and opulence were displayed at weddings with massive gardens and hanging arrangements as well as “Feasting ” tables.
1920-1930’s as wealth and fortunes are bound to do there was an era that saw great progress and industrial growth only to have the Stock Market crash, the dust bowl and depression rear its ugly head and major changes to our moral standards.
Yet weddings were still part of the main stream that remained important in every culture. The 1920’s saw Prohibition and the rise of the “roaring 20’s ” ladies of fashion went from the high button tight collared show no leg fashions to daring scandalous women in short fringed and beaded “Flapper: dresses and “Bobbed ” hair dos.
The Bridal Bouquets became massive cascades with yards of silk satin”Love” knotted ribbons for good luck. Gardenia, Lily of the valley, Easter Lily and Calla Lilly and Bushes of Greenery that nearly dwarfed the brides were fashionable.
1930’s The 30’s was an era of sophisticated art, clean sweeping and curving lines of the Art Nuevo and Art Deco The use of Trumpet and easter Lily and anything Fragrant was a Must. armfuls of calla lily with a dramatic length were all the rage. Amazingly long veils of tulle. The rise of the Hollywood movie era would influence many of the wedding fashions and flowers of the day.
1940’s Saw a transition as the world was plunged into war. Modest classic lines of a more somber and subtle nature were used by the Brides lucky enough to have Church ceremony’s, flowers were simple tributes for the most part. Gardenia or Orchids perched on a prayerbook. Many a War bride wore their best suit with a pretty Cattleya orchid and ribbon to the courthouse. Followed by dancing to a Big Band and a quick honeymoon before the groom shipped out, and in some cases the bride too!
As war ended and the troops returned, it was a time to rebuild and renew. Large family weddings with Luncheons were the prefered style . Bouquets of roses and gardenia in more generous cascades for everyone.
The 2nd photo to the right – My Mom and Dad who were married on July 3, 1946.
1950′ s saw the Next generation of teens listening to a new fangled Music called Rock & Roll. It was all about the fast car, the poodle skirt and sock hops. Movies still set the scene for Many wedding fashions with stars like Elizabeth Taylor playing the part of brides. The dresses were Boufant . The Short petticoat gown would gain favor, with yards of tulle and strapless bodices, with modesty capes or bolero. French Influence and the rise of the Bridal Fashion houses. Fanciful hats and crisp full veils with “blushers” would be a must. The sophistication of high fashion would come to the fore front. The Bullet Bra fitted bodice and nipped in waist were the silhouette and the gloved hand was a must for formals.
1950’s flowers saw the Popularity of carnations and daisies with frills of Tulle and crazy Chenille “pipe cleaner” leaves arrive on the scene . The Large Hawaiian Cattleya orchids were still all the rage for Bridal Bouquets Wired and taped into pouf and cascades . The traditional white flower girl basket would plant its fame in the 50’s and stay as tradition.
1960’s If ever the times were a changing it was the 60’s. from the Rat pack smoothness of shark skin suits and tailored gowns to the towering Beehive hairdo of the early 60’s it was sexy, chic and daring. Jackie Kennedy set the scene with her Mohair suits and classic pillbox hats, clutch bags and form-fitting styling. The Beatles hit our shores and the British Invasion was here. Twiggy and her Minis stirred things up, and everything was Groovy. But with the rumble of a new war starting in Viet Nam and the rise of the Make Love Not War hippie era changed weddings more than any decade.
From smooth sophistication and Vegas style weddings to the Flowers in your hair vows on mountain tops, it was a time for anything goes.Cascades for the Mad Men era Brides and the start of the Gebera and Shasta daisy era for the free thinkers.
The Hippie movement was all about Peace and Love, But Marriage survived the free love movement. The Hippie wedding could be as simple as grabbing some friends a couple of bottles of sangria and a handful of wildflowers for the brides hair. as the decade progressed the influences of the counter-culture would be seen in the Fashions from designer houses.
1970’s Okay I will be showing my age here, but I was a Bride of the Mid 70’s, There were so many changes in a 5 year span in the 70’s with weddings that it was hard to keep up with the trend. BIG hats and Parasols were all the rage, that Southern belle influence was seen in the flowers. Rainbow weddings, Gathering baskets of Mixed spring flowers with an emphasis on the daisy were popular. Hybrid Roses in vibrant colors, Phalo Butterfly orchids would gain in popularity. The Halo of flowers was a Huge item of interest. Designers experimented with the Bohemian look ( not always with stunning results, LOL) and God forbid the Leisure suite with white shoes reared its ugly head. Theme weddings were beginning with the Hippie ideal of anything goes! Renn faire and Love In, Picnics and simple vows said in a meadow or park. The Gunne Sax wedding dress was the go to for Hippie chic. My families Bridal Salon in Los Angeles was one of the few that carried them along with the traditional Eve of Milady, Alfred Angelo and Bridal Lure gowns. We rented and sold so many hoopskirts each week it was the best-selling item in the inventory!
That’s me in the white hat in 1974 & My Bridesmaids
The Powder Blue Disco Tux!
With ruffled shirt and matching tie, yes they weren’t just in Dumb & Dumber!
1980’s The Disco age and as I like to refer to them the BIG hair 80’s saw a return to the extremes in wedding fashion. If clean lines and romantic looks were the 60’s and 70’s the 80’s were Over the TOP . Designers said make it puffy and then went Atomic on the size of sleeves. Rock stars weddings were like circus shows and the Bouquets were massive as the brides hair. Probably the most famous 80’s bride was Princess Diana with her silk gown and 25ft train. Disco styling brought in the Polyester wrap dress and the handkerchief hem, Platform shoes and the emergence of the single stem rose bouquet for the attendants ( probably because the bride used enough for all the others combined!
Biggest sleeves in decades!
The Girls Just want to have fun Decade. The crazy bouquets and skirt styles remained, But the sleeves were now replaced with and more fitted cap and long sleeve, Cleavage was everywhere. Choker necklaces and fluffy up-dos. The Bouquet of choice for the brides in the early 90’s was a cascade of Casablanca lily, I designed so many of these in that decade I think I could do them in my sleep, LOL , But the Tight round Clutch Bouquet was now become the trend with the start of Martha Stewart’s influence. BIG weddings with tented venues soon became what is known as the Platinum wedding.
The New Turn Of the century Early 2000’s The Y2K Brides and the start of the New millennium, saw Hopeful couples celebrating in style. with the tragedy of 9/11 couples faced a dilemma of whether to celebrate the same and Many saw it as their patriotic duty to not let anything change their families traditions.
As the 2000’s Progress we are seeing a return to many of the influences that past decades of Brides created. The Retro looks of the 20’s , 30’s and 40’s are hot, the twist on Victorian can be seen in the Steampunk Industrial stylings complete with parasols and mini riding hats.
Victorian Steampunk , 30’s Retro, Even the mixed influences of the 40’s and the meaning of flowers as seen in the recent Royal wedding.
Whatever your Floral or fashion style, Let it express your personality. Yes The Flowers may fade, But the Memories of their beauty and fragrance will live on, just as the images above have. After all your wedding Photos will be the stuff of someone elses dreams in years to come. Make it Memorable!
Thank you to those of you who allowed me to use your fashion images for this Blog, you are Awesome!