Why the Bride Wobbled: 1904

wedding garters 1912

1912 wedding garters. “Something blue.” http://www.charlestonmuseum.org

WHY THE BRIDE WOBBLED

A New Wedding Fad Comes to Light in North Dakota.

It has been thought that the chief product of the Dakotas was divorces, but a gentleman who recently visited that section is responsible for the following. He says a new wedding fad has been unearthed, and this is how it came about:

At a wedding in Mankato the bride hobbled awfully, so that the audience, as she went down the pike to the altar, thought the poor thing was either scared, hip-shot or afflicted with soft corns, but she accidentally fainted, and then it was discovered that her legs were a mass of garters about forty on each leg–and as she was about to be taken for shop lifting, those in the secret had to tell that each one of her young lady friends had furnished her a garter to wear to her wedding to be taken off by the groom after the ceremony and given by the bride back to the owner, to be placed under the pillow of said owner, in place of the old time wedding cake which was likely to grow stale and draw rats and mice and throw the patients into fits, which a garter would not do, and could be perfumed with rose water and violet essence. You will dream of your next husband if you have a garter under your pillow that has been clawed off the under limbs of a bride, which is a fact and a custom that can’t be sneezed at. At any rate, if you do not see your future hubby in your dream it wont be the garter’s fault. But no bride should tackle over eighty garters, unless she has legs like a centipede.

The Streator [IL] Free Press 25 August 1904: p. 9

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: From this revealing little anecdote, we may deduce that the bride had quite an extensive circle of friends eager to dream of their “next” husband. Before the unhappily wed flocked to Reno, one could easily get a “Dakota Divorce,” described thus:

In 1866, the Dakota Territory legislature passed a divorce law that allowed an an applicant for divorce to begin action immediately upon arrival in the territory. The territorial code was amended in 1877 to require three months for residency for a divorce. U.S. citizenship was not required. While establishing the “residency” required for divorce, soon-to-be divorcees stayed in elegant hotels, attended the opera and symphony, and ate at fine restaurants. People seeking divorces often registered at a hotel for the required three months, left town, and returned several months later when their “residency” had been established. At that time the Northern Pacific train stopped in Fargo at noon for 10 minutes for lunch. So many people used that 10 minutes to check into a hotel, leave a bag, and return to the train that it came to be known as the “Ten Minute Divorce.”

The Divorce Capital of the West.

One has always heard that young ladies were at a premium “out West,” but perhaps these ladies had been through the “divorce mill” more than once and were still looking for that next husband. The bridegroom must have become quite impatient waiting for his new bride to return eighty garters to their owners. One would not have blamed him had he simply hurled the garters into the air and let the young ladies scramble for them.

Although touted as a novelty, the custom was not an entirely new one.

New Wedding Fad.

A Scotch custom as old as Walter Scott’s Novels, has been again made fashionable by the division of Princess Margaret’s garter among her bride-maids after the marriage ceremony a few weeks ago. The original notion was that the bride wore quite a number of pretty ribbons as well as the ordinary garter, and these were in due course distributed among the masculine friends of the bridegroom, while in Scotland the piper invariably had one to tie around his bagpipe. The conferring the of the gift brought good luck, and in olden times the bride was often used quite roughly in the effort to take away her garter.

The Daily Republican [Monongahela PA] 28 February 1893: p. 4

Garters for Brides.

The latest bride garter is of white elastic. Running over the surface of the elastic is a delicate tracery in blue in the pattern of a tiny flower. Here and there knots of very narrow white ribbon. Bordering the elastic is a ruffle of white lace of fine pattern. As elegant a little piece of lace as may be found can be placed upon the garter, for the bridal garter is to be put away as one of the mementoes of the day.

Lewiston [ID] Daily Teller 29 October 1897: p. 6

 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdote

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

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