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Ideas for a Victorian Wedding

Updated on March 14, 2011

Theme weddings are one of the most popular ways to express your individuality as a couple. The elegance and beauty of the Victorian era appeals to many couples, and a Victorian theme is a perfect choice for a formal wedding.

A Theme for Your Victorian Wedding?

Although the Victorian era offers fewer sub-themes than a medieval themed wedding, there are still plenty to choose from.

Couples who relish the elegance and formality of Victorian high society may take inspiration from high profile weddings of the era such as that of Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, or the American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt and the Duke of Marlborough, termed "the Match of the Century" by the press of their day.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria, a fashion icon of the 1860s and 70s. Source: Wikipedia
Empress Elisabeth of Austria, a fashion icon of the 1860s and 70s. Source: Wikipedia

Another popular theme is the Victorian tea party, and for couples who enjoy outdoor settings, or prefer a little more informal a ceremony, a Victorian garden party might be the perfect choice.

Civil war themed weddings are a theme popular wirth reenactors and other history enthusiasts, while other couples choose to set their weddings in the Victorian era Wild West.


The location where your wedding is held can play a very important role in setting the theme. An authentic setting will really help set the mood of your wedding, and contribute the the feeling of stepping back in time.

If possible, find a Victorian era church, mansion, or inn to host your wedding. If a genuine Victorian era building is not available, look for buildings with Victorian-inspired features such as ornate ballrooms, elaborately carved wood panelling, etc.

If you are interested in an outdoor wedding, look for formal landscaping with lots of classic plants such such as heirloom or English roses and ivy.

1880 fashion plate showing a bride, maid of honor, and young lady. Source:
1880 fashion plate showing a bride, maid of honor, and young lady. Source:

Victorian Wedding Dresses and Clothes

Victorian-style wedding dresses were stunningly beautiful and are one of the main attractions of the theme for many brides.

There are a number of designers who produce completely authentic reproduction gowns for Victorian weddings. However, these might be too pricey for some couples.

If money is an issue, look for a white gown with a fitted bodice, cinched waist and full skirt made of classic materials such as organdy, tulle, lace, gauze, or satin.

Victorian fashion for men was fortunately very similar to men's formal attire today. A tuxedo, top hat, and gloves will do the trick for most.

A Civil War Wedding

Decorations and Flowers

Flower choices are extremely important for a Victorian wedding. In the Victorian era, flowers were given special meanings, and it was possible to carry on an entire conversation based around nothing but the combination of flowers in a bouquet!

Orange flowers, roses (which signified happy love when used at weddings), and ivy (which signified fidelity) were among the most popular choices for wedding flowers in Victorian times.

Queen Victoria herself started the charming Victorian tradition of saving a sprig of ivy from the wedding bouquet and planting it.

Other good decorations include lace, crystal, silver, china, and other classic materials.

Victorian Wedding Dinners and Receptions

Your choice of foods may depend on your theme. Scones and tea sandwiches might be best for a Victorian tea party wedding, delicacies such as oysters and foie gras for a Victorian society wedding, and classic hearty fare such as roast meats for a Civil War wedding.

Another charming Victorian wedding tradition was the cake pull. The baker would tie ribbons to charms and place them between the layers of the wedding cake. Before the cake was cut, the bridesmaids would pull on the ribbons to discover their fortune. A heart charm mean True Love, an anchor Stability, a cross Peace, a clover Good Fortune, etc.

Music and Dance


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    • profile image 6 years ago

      Just Perfect. I love it.

    • profile image

      Destination Wedding Photographer 8 years ago

      It's so inspirational! It's a dream wedding not only for the bride and the groom but for any wedding photographer. Great hub!

    • Maria Faran profile image

      Maria Faran 8 years ago

      interesting...perhaps, you can get a little political with this...the bride's side can be the yankees and the groom's side can be the kidding! but, anyway, great page! i would love to add you...take care and God bless! :-P

    • JosefS profile image

      JosefS 8 years ago from Lisa Wellington from Canada

      I have been to a Victorian wedding, lots of wedding etiquette. Great hub, thanks.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Excellent hub. It would be very interesting to attend a Victorian wedding