Tag Archives: Edwardian wedding

A Candle Wedding: 1904

1904 wedding 4 (2)

1904 bride and groom

A Candle Wedding

A True Story

By Grace Bristow

The day of the wedding dawned clear and radiant, but as the morning progressed, dark clouds began to send across the sky.

Mr Wentworth, the bride’s father, shook his head dubiously. “I don’t like the looks of that,” he whispered to his wife.’ “It’s too much as it was just before that great storm two years ago.”

Sure enough, it grew darker and darker. The bridesmaids rushed from their homes to condole with the bride. The groom wandered disconsolately through the rooms and discussed the situation with his best man. The servants went about closing doors and windows. Presently the rain came, not in gusts, but in one tremendous downpour. The bride fell to weeping, the mother was frantic; but at 6 o’clock the clouds broke and the rain stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The bride emerged from her room, the bridesmaids rushed home to dress, the caterer and florist appeared, and all went merrily until nearly 7, when the servants started to light up the house and found that the storm had destroyed the electrical connections. There was gas in neither church nor house, and the few lamps were wickless and chimneyless, for in the novelty of having all the houses in town furnished with the new light, lamps had been put away on high shelves. What could be done? There never, never had been such a calamity at a wedding. Mrs Wentworth sobbed aloud as she considered the frightful outlook, and the bride sat in desperate silence in the darkness.

Suddenly an usher had a bright idea. “I can fix the church,” he exclaimed. “I know a big store where they took down their large hanging lamps only last week and stored them in the lumber room. We can get them and hang them from the chandeliers, pull the vines down a little and they will look all right.” Instantly he rushed off with the other men to carry out the plan. Then the bridesmaid had a thought equally brilliant.

“How many little glass lemonade cups have you? Only three dozen? Well, ask the caterer to send for about twenty dozen more and then somebody go down town and buy me heaps and heaps of tall wax candles.”

Nobody saw the connection between lemonade glasses and candles, but her orders were obeyed. When both articles were at hand she went into the yard, filled the cups with wet, brown earth, and taking asters with rather short stems stuck three or four into each cup and placed the candle in the middle. The flowers drooped over the edge and stood up around the tall candle prettily, while the cups looked like bronze, with the earth showing through the glass.

When dozens were ready, she put long regular rows across each mantel, behind the potted ferns already in place, grouped some on the piano, and on each bookcase. bracket and table in all the rooms. Everyone was anxious to see the effect, but she sternly prohibited any lighting, beyond what was actually necessary, till after the ceremony.

The men came home from the church and announced that it looked very well, but that it still needed a little more light. “Very well!” said the ingenious bridesmaid, “this shall be a candle wedding. We will put them in the chancel and organ loft and all of us girls will carry candles. It will be perfectly lovely!”

It was quickly done, for luckily the house was near the church, and when the wedding march pealed out and the white-robed girls came in, each bearing her lighted taper, the effect was so becoming, lovely and unique that a loud murmur of admiration came from all over the church, while the tableau at the altar was something no one who saw it could ever forget. But the house was a vision of beauty, too. Guests who had seen ballrooms in Europe exclaimed that there never had been anything there so beautiful as this. And when the bride went up to put on her traveling dress, she hugged her bridesmaids ecstatically.

“No girl ever had such a pretty wedding,” she exclaimed. “Everybody says the church was lovely and the house a perfect dream. I would not have had electric light for the world! And you see my wedding did go off without a mishap after all, so there!”

Good Housekeeping, Vol. 39, October 1904: p. 500-501

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: It all sounds perfectly lovely, and the bride’s friends are to be congratulated on their resourcefulness. However, Mrs Daffodil is just grateful that there was no tragic sequel. The church undoubtedly contained a large amount of wood   and 1904 gowns were of featherweight lawn and silk that would go up in smoke at the merely touch of flame.

Still, there have been an unusual number of storms this spring, so this idea may prove useful in an emergency.  To-days brides could duplicate the “look” with the new electric candles, some of which have flickering “flames.”


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 anecdotes

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.

Hints for Bridal Showers: 1907, 1914

The Wooden Bridal Shower

The Wooden Bridal Shower

The bride of today is a very lucky individual, for, besides her wedding presents, she has all sorts of delightful affairs given by her intimate friends. There are “stocking,” “handkerchief,” “plate and cup and saucer,” “linen,” “book,” “flower,” “kitchen” and “novelty” showers. Some or all of these functions are likely to fall to the lot of a girl who announces her engagement, and who gives her friends this opportunity to show their good will. Great care should be taken that only one’s nearest and dearest friends are asked to parties of this kind; strangers or mere calling acquaintances should not be asked to contribute, for it would be embarrassing both to the giver and the recipient; this is one of the instances where a hostess must be sure of who the bride-elect would like to be present. Remember that the “gift without the giver is bare.”

One of the very latest fads is a “turnover collar shower.” Each guest is asked to bring material for a turnover and her thimble, and at the conclusion of an afternoon the fair (we take it for granted that adjective applies, as it seems to be the prerogative of a bride to be termed thusly) bride-to-be will have a number of these useful accessories to her trousseau.

The “book shower” must be arranged by a person who can find out what volumes the recipient does not possess, so there will not be duplicates. The name of the donor, with an inscription, will greatly enhance the value of the gift, and it is safe to say that this collection will be more than prized when placed upon the bookshelves of the new home.

The handkerchief and linen showers are both pretty. Each article can be thrown at the bride until she is fairly buried under the white offerings.

A unique way was devised for the stocking shower by having a large “shoe” candy box in the center of the luncheon table with a ribbon going to each plate. When the ribbons were pulled all drew out favors except the honored guest, who drew out a number of white packages, all rolled tight in white tissue paper—a pair of silk hose from each guest present.

A flower shower is the very prettiest of all, and should be given the day before the wedding. Each guest brings a bunch of flowers, and the bride is literally showered with blossoms from a huge floral ball suspended in a doorway. Have a large ball made of wire covered with moss, and fill closely with flowers; carnations make a perfect sphere. The ball is made in halves and filled with rose petals. When farewells are being said the hostess pulls the ribbon which separates the two halves, releasing the petals, which fall upon the young woman who is about to leave the realm of single blessedness, for the new and unknown way. This scattering rose leaves in the pathway of a bride is a very old custom.

A Silhouette Party for the Bride Elect

A Silhouette Party given for a bride elect was declared by the guests to be one of the most delightful and amusing affairs they had attended. Each guest was given a small square of black paper (procured at a stationer’s or picture framer’s) and a pair of scissors, with instructions to cut a silhouette of the bride elect performing some household duty. The subjects were: “Her First Baking Day, “Saturday She Scrubbed,” “Monday at the Tub,” “Tuesday She Ironed,” “Thursday Is Sweeping Day,” “Friday She Dusted.” One of the girls posed for the amateur artists, sitting or standing as she was requested. Of course every one protested that she never could cut out anything recognizable, but the results proved the contrary. After the figures were cut out, they were pasted on white mats, given the titles they were supposed to represent, signed by the artist, and all given to the bride-to-be — a souvenir of a most delightful afternoon. When refreshments were served, the table was decorated with a baking pan which was filled with flowers; a scrubbing brush bore the guest of honor’s place card; a small flatiron held her napkin down; while a miniature broom and a half-dozen cheesecloth dusters were on her chair. This was a very practical bridal shower and was much appreciated.

A Handkerchief Shower

This affair for a prospective bride was arranged in a very clever manner. Twelve intimate friends were invited to luncheon, with the request to bring the gift mouchoir rolled up into the smallest package possible. Before going to the dining-room the hostess took all the packages and disappeared. When luncheon was announced, with one voice the guests exclaimed “How pretty!” Suspended from the chandelier there was an inverted Japanese umbrella; from each rib there was a smaller umbrella; and from the centre, hung by ribbons, there was a gilded watering can, the sprinkler of which had twelve holes with baby ribbons of different colors coming out. At the end of each ribbon there was a tightly rolled package. The effect was lovely. The place cards were miniature Japanese parasols with the cards tied to the handles. The candle shades were ornamented with these same tiny parasols, and a small lantern filled with candied puffed rice was at each place.

An Apron Shower

An apron shower given for a bride elect proved to be a most enjoyable affair, and the little bride-to-be, was delighted with her supply of aprons. The hostess asked the guests to bring material for any kind of an apron, with their thimbles; the hours were from two until five. On arriving, the girls were taken upstairs into a spacious room, which contained two sewing machines. There were two kitchen aprons; two of dainty white, made long to cover the best gown while preparing Sunday night tea; two work aprons with bibs and pockets; three of lawn, trimmed with ruffles and lace for serving afternoon tea, and one with sleeves. Amid merry chatter and exchange of confidences so dear to girlish hearts, the hum of the machines and flying fingers, the hours passed so rapidly that when the hostess called time as the clock struck five it was impossible to realize that ten aprons had been made and piled into a basket made by a Dutch peasant, and which henceforth was to be a market receptacle for the new housekeeper.

“Dame Curtsey’s” book of novel entertainments for every day in the year, Ellye Howell Glover, 1907

A Tin Bridal Shower

A Tin Bridal Shower


A washday shower was the name of an affair given in honor of a bride-to-be. She was ushered into the parlor in which a clothes line was suspended after the manner of washday, and on it was hung the various gifts. She was provided with a big clothes basket and ordered to take in the wash, which was neatly pinned on the line. The wash consisted of various articles needed for daily domestic tasks. There were dish towels, dust cloths, ironing blankets, kitchen aprons, a clothes-pin bag, in which she had to collect the pins, and a frame on which to roll the line when she had taken it down, and as a climax the tin tubs stood in one corner.

Duluth [MN] News-Tribune 18 January 1914: p. 8

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: One can scarcely bear the thrill of the tin tub revelation. Mrs Daffodil wonders if any brides were ever smothered into insensibility by the showers of white offerings or rose petals, a la the feast of the Emperor Heliogabalus.

While social and household roles were still quite defined in 1907 and 1914, it seems somewhat dismal to celebrate gifts of dust cloths and clothes-pins in honour of what was supposed to be a romantic, companionate love-match. A silhouette depicting “Saturday She Scrubbed,” is more a reminder of “household duties,” than a pleasant souvenir of a delightful afternoon. Perhaps showers were really meant as a warning of the drudgery looming beyond the veil of the wedding-day.

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 anecdotes

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.


No Marriage Ceremony Complete Without Him: The Professional Usher: 1903

The Bridal Party, complete with ushers, who may be amateurs.

The Bridal Party, complete with ushers, who may be amateurs.

The Professional Usher.

You can always tell the professional usher by the number and style of his scarf pins. Few men run naturally to the accumulation of scarf pins as a fad. The usher does not have to achieve his, but has them thrust upon him.

He is apt to begin his career as a page at some wedding when he is a child, and makes a hit by his bearing and dignity as he marches down the aisle with the little maid of honor.

Somehow this first performance of his becomes a part of family history and he then begins ushering in a mild way at the weddings of relatives. By degrees he forms the habit of being asked to usher sometimes at the wedding of men with whom he may only have a slight acquaintance, but as he gets on in certain sets, it would almost seem as though no marriage ceremony were complete without him.

He is so experienced and graceful in his ushering that his presence adds tone to a wedding, and sometimes he has two or three in a day during the rush season at Easter or in June. But he fairly revels in it, and it is a joy to him to be asked out of town to usher at a wedding where he may only have a casual acquaintance with the groom or may be, perhaps a distant relative of the bride.

The fact that he is invited out of town shows conclusively that his fame as an usher is growing, and in time he becomes an authority as to the newest wrinkles in church weddings, the proper togs which will show a knowledge of the season’s fashions, and the best hotels to go to on a wedding tour.

Of course, the usher must be popular, but he must be something more than that. He must be a man of which the bride and her family strictly approve. No over-gay college chum or roistering bachelor companion can figure prominently as an usher. His reputation must be as spotless as his linen.

Eccentricity and the artistic temperament are all very well in their place, but not in an usher. To be depended on he must be correct through and trough. Many a man’s career as an usher has been cut short at his first wedding by the trace of levity on his face, or perhaps too deep a sorrow, or a severe expression calculated to give the event a funereal tone.

A bad gait or a peculiarity in the manner of arranging the hair makes a man impossible as an usher. His appearance counts as much as a butler’s or a footman’s. Ushers at a wedding, you will notice, are  nearly always cast somewhat in the same mould. They acquire the professional usher manner unconsciously and can always be trusted to do the right thing in the right way. At the farewell bachelor dinner the next day the ushers are always as conspicuously gay as the next day they are enveloped with a gracious charm of manner that has just its infinitesimal trace of regret. In reality the usher is always heartily congratulating himself on the fact that he continues a bachelor. Popular as he is as an usher with the community at large and with prospective mothers-in-law, he goes on ushering to the end of the chapter and rarely attempts the feat of personal bridegroomhood.

Once an usher can proudly display twenty-four presentation scarf pins that he has acquired by assisting at the nuptials of his friends, he gives up the idea of any marriage for himself. He accepts the role of a looker-on in Venice. [a jocular misquote of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, “a looker-on in Vienna.”] There is certainly some deterring influence in the habit, for there is a legend that a girl who acts as bridesmaid more than a certain number of times will never wear orange blossoms of her own.

So the usher grows old and gray in the work of escorting his friends from the altar. He rarely achieves the dignity of best man, for the best man is always chosen for some deeper reason than his good appearance or even his good character. Old friendship, a college intimacy, or a palship that extends back to schoolboy days, will bring a man forward in the part of best man, and in this, at least, the groom is allowed his own choice.

But the ushers are a different proposition. They must match as far as possible in size, and must never present the appearance of a vaudeville quartet—one tall, the other short, one fat and jolly, the other lean and severe looking. Above all, the usher must be experienced and guaranteed not to escort some unknown woman on his arm to a place of honor in the front pew, while he leaves the rich maiden aunt of the bride languishing in the back of the church. He must not stumble over his own feet or the bridesmaid’s gowns, nor must he starts hastily from his place, as though glad that the matter was over and done with, as soon as the clergyman pronounces the last word of the service. On the contrary, the usher, of all men, must seem reluctant. His progress up and down the aisle must be slow, for a step too quick will throw the whole procession out of order and demoralize it.

The usher has his name in the papers so often in connection with weddings that people get to take him for a society man, but in reality he never gets further than being an usher. It is his life work, and he is prominent at weddings and bachelor suppers only, and the sextons get to know him well by sight. It is as an usher that he shines, and he knows his limitations. To miss an occasion of the sort would make him positively ill, for it is the one thing that he does well.

The man who occasionally acts as usher can always be picked out in contrast to the hardened habitué. He is confused and nervous, sometimes almost as uncomfortable looking as the groom himself. But the professional usher you can tell at once by his swan-like motion of proceeding up an aisle—the head erect, the eyes calm, the shoulders held well, and the elbows gracefully posed. He is a glowing contrast to the “duffer” usher, and, of course, he is a valuable factor to a fashionable wedding. This is what causes him to be sought for, and this it is that finally transforms him into a sharper on weddings who knows all the very newest fads in the event matrimonial.

Kate Masterson.

The Illustrated Bee [Omaha, NE] 13 September 1903: p. 16

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Always an usher, never a groom… Mrs Daffodil thinks it a pity that a young man, so clever at finding his métier, does not think of a way to woo the rich maiden aunt.

Surprisingly, the professional usher had a female counterpart: The professional bridesmaid, noted for her statuesque beauty and ability to step-halt, step-halt to the “Bridal Chorus” from Lohengrin.

Here is one of the fairy-tales about American customs that find credence in England. It is from one of the leading society weeklies: “The professional bridesmaid is one of the latest transatlantic institutions. Whether from unwillingness to incur expense, or to receive the cost of a dress from the bride’s family, the young ladies who belong to the creme de la creme of New York society are no longer available for this purpose. Some say they are not invariably up to the accepted standard of beauty. So it comes about that a good-looking, graceful girl may earn thirty dollars and all expenses for appearing at one of the fashionable matrimonial ceremonies of Fifth Avenue. The other day a fair bride was followed to church by no fewer than fifteen hired virgins to bear her company. An exceptionally charming young lady can command even a bigger remuneration, and one of the most successful of these feminine acolytes is said to expect at least one hundred dollars. She has officiated on two hundred occasions and saved twenty thousand dollars, so that her own turn may come very soon.”

The Argonaut [San Francisco, CA] 23 May 1897

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 anecdotes.

Renting a Bridal Veil: An Embarrassment at a Fashionable Wedding : 1910

Wedding veils of 1910

Wedding veils of 1910


An Incident of a Fashionable Wedding In New York.

Not long ago one of the wealthiest “charge customers” of a well-known department store in New York purchased a $500 wedding veil for her daughter, which was charged to her account and duly delivered. The wedding was a large one and celebrated at high noon in one of the downtown churches.

It happened that one of the girls from a department store went out for luncheon at this hour and, seeing a fashionable wedding in full swing, slipped into the church with the crowd and into one of the back pews. After the ceremony was over she hurried back to her place behind the counter, too busy with her special sales to even think about it.

The next morning, however, when she read an account of the “magnificent wedding in  ___ church and a detailed of the wonderful veil worn by the bride, valued at $500,” she laughingly told her numerous friends in that department that she “had been one of the honored guests and had seen that $500 veil with her own eyes.” Just at this thrilling point of her story one of the floor men stepped up to her and said: “You are wanted at the manager’s office, Miss B.”

As she entered the office, to her perfect amazement, she beheld the identical bridal veil just under discussion.

“Miss B., can you tell me if you ever saw this veil before?” asked the manager.

“Yes, sir; I saw it yesterday.”

“Where did you see it?”

She took from her pocket the clipping from the morning newspaper with the account of the great wedding, the costly veil and a picture of the bride. Laying it upon the desk, she said: “This is a picture of the veil.”

“How did you happen to be at this wedding instead of in your place here in the store?”

“It was my luncheon hour, and I went to the wedding instead of to lunch.”

The manager smiled.

“Can you positively identify this veil as the one you saw yesterday?”

Miss B. took it up in her hands and, unfolding it, ran her fingers through the mesh and into the tiny folds where the orange blossoms were caught, then with some difficulty picked out three little pieces of rice and handed them to the manager.

She went back to her counter, and the “charge customer,” whose accounts number in the thousands each year, was rendered a bill for $300 for “the use of a bridal veil worn by her daughter.”

A check for the $300 was immediately sent, and the wealthy “charge customer” still continues to charge. Chicago Record-Herald.

Evening News [San Jose, CA] 30 April 1910: p. 2

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Hiring all the old-money trappings of a wedding was commonplace among the nouveau riche. One could hire gifts of silver and crystal (marked with affectionate cards from “Uncle”), jewels, “family” lace, and even an enormous cheque, to be prominently displayed on the gifts table and then returned. Even odder was the hiring of a professional father of the bride:

An Odd Business

A London firm which rents wedding gowns to brides also furnishes a “father” to give the bride away when the marriage takes place too far away from home to admit of parents and relatives being present. This professional father, as he might be appropriately called, is an ex-major in the army and a member of a fine old family, but he is poor and willingly gives away a bride for a small money consideration. He is said to look like a model father, with snowy hair and a kind and lovable expression. Sometimes he is called upon to manage a wedding breakfast, and he is said to be a charming speaker. Surely this is one of the oddest professions of advanced days. The Wichita [KS] Daily Eagle 5 September 1897: p.12


Scheme Resorted To By London’s Pretentious Aristocracy.

[Pearson’s Weekly.]

“One of the latest things in economy is the hiring instead of buying of wedding presents,” said a London silversmith and jeweler, in the course of a conversation with a reporter. It started in a small way two years ago and has steadily developed until now, when it may be considered quite a recognized thing.

“Of course it originated in the common desire to make a big show before friends for which there is no better opportunity than a wedding. We send out a surprising quantity of goods to be exhibited as presents; indeed, we turn over more money in this way than we do in the ordinary course of business with wedding gifts, although we do perhaps as much in that line as any firm in London.

“Who hires the presents? Oh, the bride’s parents, generally speaking; occasionally the bride herself does it, and we have lent wedding presents up to the value of £16,000 and to some of the best families in England, too.

“We have a big set of dinner knives and forks, in a handsome case, which was originally priced at £45. In the last two years we have made over £90 by letting this out on hire and still have it almost as good as new, so we have no occasion to grumble with this remarkable scheme.

“I need not tell you that we protect ourselves thoroughly. We insure every article before it is lent and require to be paid the full value of the article, for the time being, and in the event of its being lost or unreturned, this money is forfeited.

Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 7 August 1897: p. 14

Mrs Daffodil has previously written about a precious heirloom lace wedding veil whose sale led to much happiness for a couple.

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 anecdotes.


Quiet Weddings are Blunders: 1907

bride & groom


Young Parties Contemplating Matrimony Are Advised to Make a Splurge for the Happy Event.

Church Marriage on Large Scale Said to Be Good Investment and the Just Due of the Bride

One of the greatest economic blunders in the life of any young couple is the “quiet wedding.” During recent years especially the custom of having simple, almost private ceremonies has increased greatly, proving more than anything else the necessity of a course in domestic science for men about to commit matrimony.

Such a blunder, at the beginning of a married career, argues that the young man, at least, does not understand social economics as applied to the married state. The saddest part of the “quiet wedding” fad is that the bride and groom almost invariably make the same statement. “We couldn’t afford a big wedding.”
Nothing in the whole range of domestic science is more absurd or false. As a matter of face, no young couple can afford not to have a big wedding. Financially a big wedding is one of the best investments a young couple can make. Socially it is a long step towards prominence, commercially it is simple retaliation. The false training of young people has led to what they call “the sensible wedding” –which means that they call a minister quietly to their home, repeat the vows, and settle down to a life of semi-retirement.

Quiet Wedding Poor Investment.

Primarily such a wedding is wrong because it robs the girl who has become a wife of the one great white day in her life. For the sake of a false economic idea she foregoes the triumph that comes to most women but once in a lifetime. If the wedding cost what they think it costs they could afford it, and it would be a good investment, for during all the years of monotonous existence that she must lead afterwards she will have that day to look back upon as the white day of her career.

But, form the viewpoint of the house husband—the man who must manage the household and finance it—the quiet wedding is an even more serious mistake. I have studied the question most carefully and have decided that a big wedding pays at least 100 per cent in actual intrinsic value on the investment. The bigger the wedding and the larger the original investment the greater the returns. Yet it is the man who insists on the quiet wedding—and urges the necessity for strict economy as his objection to it.

The average “quiet wedding” costs the groom about $175, as follows;

Engagement ring: $100; wedding ring: $8; carriage, etc.: $25; minister: $10; refreshments, etc., and flowers: $30.

Church Event Costs Little More

The average “big church wedding” costs much more. The following figures are taken from one groom’s account, and it is about the average:

Engagement ring: $100; wedding ring, $10; carriages: $45; flowers, orange blossoms, decorations, etc.: $60; minister: $25; bride’s gift: $100; gifts for best man and ushers: $30; farewell bachelor dinner: $60

The bride’s expenses were as follows:

Two farewell receptions: $60; luncheons, etc.: $125; wedding breakfast and reception: $250; gifts: $165; extra for dress: $200.

It will be noticed that most of the items are ones necessary even in small weddings. The bride’s estimate of the extra cost on the trousseau because the affair was to be a church one is fair. It would see, on the face of the figures, that a big church wedding is merely a costly pageant for the sake of gratifying social ambitions or the bride’s vanity. Most young couples who claim to be “sensible” look upon the matter in exactly that same manner—and they do not count the receipts at all.

The reason I chose this young couple as an example was that both after the honeymoon mourned the “useless expense,” and sat together and talked of what they could have done with the money. They furnished me with figures showing the enormous cost of the ceremony. Thereupon we got at a basis of calculation. We went over the figures and I ascertained that we could simply cut of the bride’s expense list, for she confessed that her father paid all the bills. Also, while he settled the bills, he did not deduct one cent from the check he gave her as a gift. Therefore, instead of being loser, she was gainer to the extent of $200 worth of extra dresses, and society was in her debt to the extent of over %00 in entertainment and gifts which, at some time, it would repay. The groom’s gift went to his bride, so was an even proposition. The groom’s attendants already had repaid him for his entertainment.

Practically, then, they were gainers instead of losers on the face of the first returns. But beyond that this is what they received:

Cash and checks, $1,860; house and lot, $5,200; jewelry, china and silver: $1,400; rugs, bric-a-brac etc.: $800; cash from sale of duplicates: $214.

In going over this list the bride and groom agreed that if they had planned a quiet wedding her father would not have “come down so handsomely.” He gave $1,000 because he knew people would ask, whereas if he had been giving at a quiet affair his limit would have been $500. The richness of the other gifts was due largely to the fact that it was a big wedding. Indeed, the value of the gifts to couples that get married is directly I proportion to the elaborateness of the ceremony. That is a fixed rule.

There is another element to be considered, and that is that in time to come the young couples must repay to other wedding parties part of the gifts. But they would have had that to do under any circumstance, and, furthermore, they will be in better circumstances to afford to give to others than they would be to buy for themselves now.

Presents May Pay Expenses.

In contrast with this is another couple of my acquaintance. They decided that a big church wedding was useless expense, so they went to a minister’s house and were married. They both figured that her father, having been saved the expense of a big wedding, would donate that much to them. He didn’t. In fact he gave a measly little $250 check—and they knew it would have been at last $500 if it had been a big function, where somebody would be likely to ask what the birdie’s father gave. Nobody else gave anything. They were forced to buy rugs, china, silver, bric-a-brac and such things. They got no linen showers, or tin showers, or kitchen showers, or any showers at all. They paid out in actual cash $740 for furnishing modestly a little home that they bought on the installment plan, whereas if they had splurged and had a $1,500 wedding, they would have received all these things besides many others, and much more cash.

The wise young man, who has studied the economies of matrimony, when the plans for the wedding are being laid, will insist upon having as expensive a wedding as he can afford. He will realize that all weddings are in the nature of commercial ventures and that both he and his wife owe it to themselves to force the couple circle of their friends to “pony up.” Probably each has been making wedding gifts at least twice a year for eight or ten years. Every one to whom they have given will respond when they are married. Furthermore, all their old friends will donate, some for the pleasure of giving and some because they think they must.

Realize Well on Old Man’s Outlay.

The bride and groom themselves bear the minor part of the expense of a big wedding. The bride’s father, of course, gets the bulk of the burden, but he bears it willingly. He is a man of business, and he realizes that he can afford to pay $1,500 in “splurging” on the wedding of a daughter who is costing him at least hundreds of dollars a year for gowns and other expenses. He will not kick. He will raise the limit if necessary.

It will be seen therefore, that the difference in actual expense to the contracting parties falls wholly on the groom, and that his expenses are not greatly increased, no matter what kind of a wedding it is to be. Furthermore, the investment yields, in actual cash, at least double the outlay.

From a social standpoint the big wedding is advisable, for any bride and groom start in life at the niche of society in which they are married. They are newcomers and society has no basis of classifying them except the importance of the wedding. The young man, also, must not overlook the fact that a big wedding gives him a standing in the commercial world. He may be a $1,500 clerk, but he increases in importance in the eyes of his employer simply because he has been the secondary figure in a big society event. The boss may not care for society, and probably knows nothing about it, but he likes to have a young man around who has shown by the fact that he had a big church wedding, that either he or his wife amounts to something in a social way.

The Seattle [WA] Daily Times 11 April 1907: p. 24

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: An astonishingly blunt piece on the tit-for-tat nature of the wedding exchange. Mrs Daffodil understands that in certain cultures it is considered appropriate to help pay for the wedding entertainment by a gift of cash, either in an envelope inserted in a beribboned box, fastened to the bride’s gown, or placed in a jewelled tree. But that is a straightforward and well-defined transaction, not the sordid calculation of how much Crate & Barrel a guest “owes” the happy couple for their investment in a signature cocktail, grilled organic salmon with locally sourced green beans, and an Ice-Cream Sundae Station.

Mrs Daffodil remembers the happy days of silver fish slices, handsome cheques, and diamond tiaras from Garrard’s, all displayed on immaculate damask-draped tables with no thought at all of getting one’s money’s worth in cake and champagne at the wedding breakfast.

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 anecdotes.