The Easter bride of 1912 is absolutely unhampered by tradition when choosing her wedding gown. Fashion and custom give her a free hand, so free that at every wedding one attends one wonders what surprises in matters sartorial will be forthcoming.
The new regime certainly adds to the interest of the great occasion. Guests on the tip-toe of expectation, and with vague rumours to stimulate their curiosity, know that they may look for the most audacious flauntings of superstition. The bride may arrive wearing black, after the custom of not a few daring women who have defied the omens by deliberately choosing for their marriage garment the symbol of woe, instead of the white robe of hope and happiness.
Women are divided in opinion concerning the white wedding gown as a becoming or an unbecoming robe. Some people call it the most trying frock a girl can possibly wear, and others deem it the most ideal. Complexion and atmosphere hold the deciding vote in the matter.
A world of difference is made in a very pale or sallow bride's appearance if her white charmeuse or chiffon robe be mounted upon a flesh-coloured foundation, giving just the glow of radiance she requires, and taking away from the dress the chilly aspect it presents in the garish light of day.
At a winter or a dark day wedding, even in the summer, in London and any town the electric lights in the church are invariably blazing, or, at any rate, those in the chancel. Then it is that the ivory or pure white toilette looks its best. It should not be desecrated by any addition of colour. Yes, desecrated. Surely, the perfect wear for a bride is white, and to touch it with colour, except most sparingly, and for a special or romantic reason, is a great mistake.
A Lucky Colour
The decision of a bride to add to her train a large true-lovers' knot of pale blue velvet fastening a spray of orange-blossom is forgivable, and meets with approval by onlookers who remember that blue is the colour that is said to bring good fortune to a bride. The knot of velvet would not look too conspicuous upon the train, while the rest of the dress would be a lovely vision of white satin, white ninon, Brussels lace, and diamante embroidery. In the case (an actual one) quoted here, the bridesmaids' dresses were made of blue satin, to match the blue velvet on the bride's train.
For an Easter bride has been arranged a white satin toilette, hemstitched with crystals and pearls, and given a train of white satin, lined with shell-pink tulle, which delicate colour also shines through the lace hood,
Several spring-time brides have determined to add colour to their toilet t e s by carrying bouquets of such blossoms as pink carnations, gloire de Dijon roses, golden orchids, and blue cineraria, a flower in which people are taking a very great interest at present. In these cases the introduction of colour is pardonable, if not commendable, since the colours are the bridegroom's racing ones, or are connected in some way with him.
Widows share with maids the privilege of wearing the white wedding dress in these days, and bridesmaids follow them. No longer are they condemned to solitary state at this trying moment.
Another word about the bridal dress. It was in former days the custom for girls who were to be married quietly to appear in a travelling costume. Not so now. The modern bridegroom has no need to agree to have a smart wedding which he much dislikes, because his bride desires to wear a "real wedding dress," and will not otherwise have one given her by her parents.
There is a feeling for quiet weddings on the part of many brides, a feeling induced by a realisation of the religious solemnity of the occasion. All the same, a true and exquisite bridal costume is worn, designed with studious simplicity, and as beautiful as the conventional white satin can make it. The marriage is followed in numerous cases by a large reception, to which many guests are welcomed, and at it the bride, in all her wedding finery, can be admired to her heart's content.
An exquisite example of a wedding gown in peau de soie interwoven with silver leaves and true-lovers' knots. The train is veiled with tulle and lace to match that composing the upper part of the corsage
Dres3 waist. The train was cut in one with the dress, and was lined with gold tissue.
This season a more modern-looking robe will be the fashion, and a very supple and rich white gauze, lame, or interwoven with silver, will be modish. Lace will be worn with it; indeed, it will be seen in more pro-fusion than in 1911, for with the Renaissance dress that has just been described, the wearing of lace was confined to the veil, whereas now it is applied in deep flounces headed with garlands or cordons of orange-blossom, roses, or other flowers, after the manner of the mid-victorian modes.
Once more the very pretty fashion of cascading a simple bridal robe with lace from the throat to the hem of the skirt is being revived, a modification of the mid-victorian design, which favoured a severely - cut dress, fastened demurely and very stiffly with buttons from the neck to the waist, and in some cases to the feet.
A great diversity is noticed in the way in which the veil is now worn. How unlike the conventional plan of draping every bride's head with tulle, and giving her the wreath of orange-blossom, whether it suited her or not, is the new way of studying each bride's needs. Nowadays, silver bay-leaves are chosen instead of flowers, and in some cases green ones are substituted for silver. The Russian diadem is the resource of the petite bride, to whom it gives height, for it rises in the centre into a pyramidal spike of foliage or flowers.
Knots of orange-blossom are found much more becoming to some brides than the wreath, and particularly to those whose features are large. The bride with a little childish face and large eyes is the one who should not be persuaded to abandon the privilege she possesses of wearing the wreath of orange-blossom, hallowed by long usage, intermingled with myrtle, if she will, or with white heather or with shamrock.
Two ways of arranging the bridal veil. In one, silver leaves and pearl "blossoms" hold the filmy lace in position on the hair. In the second, lace forms a dainty cap, adorned with bridal flowers, a clear tulle veil being thrown over the whole
When the lace veil was re-introduced about ten years ago, it was not recognised at first that there were other ways of arranging it than the very trying one of draping it over the face. Indeed, when it was found that it almost blinded the bride and obliterated or disfigured her features, the powers that decide such matters put their wits together and devised other ways of dealing with it.
A lace veil, especially if it is old and an heirloom, is a beautiful finish to a bride's robe. There are probably very tender associations attached to it. It may have been worn by the bride's mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother, or may have been lent by a friend to bring the good fortune of "something borrowed" to the bride.
Why, then, should it not be allied to clear, white tulle, and be arranged in a cap form, with a tulle addition to veil the face? Not that the modern bride recognises invariably any necessity for a face veiling. She is quite willing to go to the altar unveiled, as if she were a royal bride whom everybody must be able to identify. In such a case the tulle is dispensed with altogether, and the lace is parted upon the brow in the manner shown by one of the illustrations that illuminate these remarks.
The over-dressed bridesmaid is a relic of the past, but the insignificant one is to be condemned also. The happy medium is accomplished by making a very careful choice of frocks, and an equally careful choice of bridesmaids.
The modern girl is not a sentimentalist, and her friends are of her opinion that the bridesmaids should match one another in heights and styles. In order, therefore, that the ten' twelve, or fourteen girls who follow the modern bride to the altar shall make an exquisite appearance, a girl's sister or best friend will herself suggest that she should be left out of the coterie if she is unlikely to grace it.
The Easter bridesmaid dressed in white, with flower trimmings, will be a lovely sight. Old pictures are consulted for the colour schemes of her frock, and in particular for the headgear that she wears. Blossom-sprigged gauze, soft taffetas dotted over with flowers, lace, veiling such primitive colours as pale blue and delicate pink, all are chosen for the bridesmaids of the spring-time.
The popular method of giving the bridesmaids veils of a shorter length than the one worn by the bride still prevails, and they wear chap-lets of flowers or ribbo*n snoods to hold the veils in their place.
Gold tissue is used instead of tulle in some instances, and veils sprinkled with crystal and pearls are well-liked. Child bridesmaids were never in greater request than in the spring of 1912, and their pretty frocks are made as simple as can be. Some of them represent spring in every detail, in their dresses of flowered gauze or cambric, festooned with blossoms, and their floral wreaths and little veils. As shown in the illustration, the pretty illusion is brightened by the dainty mites carrying sheaves of flowers or branches of lilies.
Pages that are given Dickensonian suits, with linen breeches and cloth coats, fastened with brass buttons, instead of the Cavalier sort, in which they usually look overdressed and self-conscious, are a brave and splendid sight. At Scottish weddings the boys wear the kilt, and at Irish ones are garbed as Paddys, escorting fascinating little colleens.
Child bridesmaid's frock in cream and pink chiffon, garlanded with tiny pink roses. A chiffon veil is held in place by a chaplet of the flowers and leaves