This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
The English fashion of a wedding-break" fast is now often followed in this country, the guests being specially invited a fortnight in advance. On such an occasion the gentlemen, on reaching the house, leave their hats in the hall; but the ladies do not remove their bonnets.
In going to the table, the bride and groom precede, then the bride's father with the groom's mother, the groom's father with the bride's mother, the best man with the first bridesmaid, the other bridesmaids with gentlemen selected as their escorts, and finally the remaining guests. The dishes usually provided are bouillon, salad, birds, oysters, ices, jellies, etc.
The health of the bride and groom is proposed, usually by the groom's father, and response is made by the father of the bride. The health of the bridesmaids may also be proposed; but the occasion is ordinarily more pleasurable if strict formality is dispensed with.
After remaining for an hour or two with the guests, the bride retires to change her wedding dress for a traveling costume. She is met by the groom in the hall, the necessary good wishes and kisses are exchanged, and the pair drive away, often followed by a shower of rice and slippers.
As regards the desideratum of wedding cake, it is no longer the fashion to send it; but small boxes of it, neatly tied with white ribbon, are prepared, of which each guest may take one upon leaving the house, if desired.
What is above said relates to the marriage of a maiden. In the case of the marriage of a widow certain changes in dress and ceremony are requisite. A widow must never be attended by bridesmaids, nor must she wear a veil or orange blossoms; the proper dress at church is a colored silk and bonnet, pearl gray or some other delicate shade being preferable, though she is privileged to wear white if she desires. She should be accompanied by her father, brother, or some near friend.