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Vintage Wedding Dresses 19th Century -20th Century

Updated on September 23, 2012

Victorian Wedding Dress

Wedding Dresses

Most little girls are fascinated with wedding dresses and dream about the style of wedding dress they will some day choose to wear on their special day.

Wedding dresses change with the times, and popular styles are always greatly influenced by royal weddings, and movie stars, however, many women look to the past for their inspiration, with the desire to have a "vintage wedding," or simply because they like the style of a particular era.

Wedding dresses are fun, and it is difficult to make up one's mind no matter what your plans are.

Victorian dresses are always gorgeous to look at. With the intense attention to detail, they are often works of art all their own. To duplicate a real Victorian gown would mean hours upon hours of intense labor. She photo at right, and notice the yards of lace, satin and edging, coupled with reinforcment to handle the aggressive pulling necessary to cinch the dress tightly over a corset.

1930s Wedding Dress

The 30's

As a teenager I saw It Happened One Night with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. When I saw Colbert in her classic 1930s wedding gown I was convinced that this would be the style of dress that I would wear for my wedding. It was satin, as was popular during that era in the fashion of a Jean Harlow, close fitting and long with the veil being the part that had a train. I thought it perfect because I love the slinky nightgown style that Harlow was famous for, and figured it would make a nice clean line for photos.

Often times the silhouette of a fitted dress will photograph better than a large bundle of white.

I also reasoned that because the veil is the only "train" that the ensemble possesses, I can take in off for the reception and dance without tripping.

The idea was good, but somehow when I found myself shopping for my dress I chose something totally different. However, I still love this style, and when looking at groups of wedding dresses I always look for one that resembles the Claudette Colbert dress.

The Dress of Queen Elizabeth 1947

Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride


When Queen Elizabeth Married in 1947, her dress inspired the next 5-10 years of wedding dresses to become fuller, with long sleeves, and a fitted waist that flares out toward the bottom. Her dress was pure white satin, and featured a tailored bodice and a short train.

Even Grace Kelly's dress featured some strong parallels to the one Queen (then Princess) Elizabeth had worn 9 years before.

When Elizabeth Taylor made Father Of The Bride in 1950, her dress bore a striking resemblance to the one Elizabeth II had worn in her royal wedding two years before.

Taylor's dress is white, flared, with a tailored waist, long sleeves and plenty of gingerbread fit for a queen.


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    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      Thank you fpherj48.

      I love everything vintage too...

    • fpherj48 profile image


      7 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OMG....what gorgeous gowns.....the 1947 Queen Elizabeth is positively stunning! Anyone who wore this would surely FEEL like a Queen! This is an interesting article on vintage gowns......I LOVE antique everything.


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