Getting Married In Old West Tombstone…

Some formal images taken in our Tombstone parlor, just before we left for the Courthouse. The bride is wearing a brocade gown in the mid 1870s style, with silk pleating and soft cotton netted ruffles with a corseted bodice in a ballgown style.

This gown has a detachable train, so she can wear it later for a Victorian Ball as a formal gown.

The bodice and skirt front had vintage lace applique and bobbinette (netted) ruffles all pinked with my antique tools and hand finished.

And the payoff… πŸ™‚

We fell in love with Martin as well…now they’re the prettiest couple in the West. πŸ™‚

Another Take On Wedding Gowns…

In contrast to today, the term “wedding gown” was far more flexible in the late 19th Century than it is today. When we think of a wedding gown, we invariably think of some sort of dress that’s in some shade of white or ivory that’s only worn once on the wedding day and then stored away forever, unless a descendant chooses to wear the dress for their wedding. However, in recent scholarship, it’s been noted that the concept of the “white wedding” with its one-use wedding gown is a fairly recent development, as much a product of merchandising as social convention.

As discussed in a previous post, during the late 19th Century, a wedding dress was typically a woman’s “best dress,” often enhanced by netting, lace, and flowers (especially orange blossoms). The dress was definitely meant to be worn long after the wedding and in fact, the idea of having a dress for that’s only worn once and then stored away forever was considered the height of wastefulness. With that said, here’s just one example of what a wedding dress could be, at least if we accept the Walsall Museums’ description:

Day Dress c. 1885

Day Dress, c. 1885; Walsall Museums (WASMG : 1976.0832)

Day Dress c. 1885

Side Profile

Unfortunately the photography is not the best…style-wise this is mid-1880s with a defined train/bustle and is constructed from a silver-gray silk satin for the overskirt and bodice combined with a silk brocade floral pattern for the underskirt, under bodice and sleeve cuffs. The bodice is constructed to create the effect of a jacket over a vest (although these were usually made as a single unit) and the red flowers on the silk brocade provide pops of red that add richness and variety to what would otherwise be a somewhat dull monochromatic silver-gray dress.

Day Dress c. 1885

Close-up of front bodice.

And here’s a nice close-up of the silk brocade fabric:

Day Dress c. 1885

Close-up of fashion fabric.

Here’s a couple of more pictures (although the color is a bit off):

Day Dress c. 1885

Three-Quarter rear view.

Day Dress c. 1885

The red flowers on the silk brocade panels definitely draws the eye up and fixes the viewer’s eyes (As should be the case with all bridal dresses!).Β Of course, as with much of fashion history, there’s rarely any absolutes and this was the case with using “regular” colors versus the more bridal colors of white and ivory during the 1880s. However, in the end, it’s important to realize that the dividing lines between “bridal” and non-bridal were not as rigid was we tend to view them today (although that’s changing). This was just a brief glimpse into the world of bridal dresses during the 1880s and that there are alternatives to the “traditional” when it comes to bridal dresses. πŸ™‚

Wedding Time At Helldorado…

Helldorado is not only a reunion for fans of all things Tombstone, but it’s also a great place to get married and that’s where Lily Absinthe swings into action…one of recent projects is this wedding dress:

Wedding Dress Tombstone c 1881

And here’s a standing view:

Wedding Dress Tombstone c. 1881

This dress is one of our Tatiana style and while it’s hard to tell from the picture, there’s a light green underlayer on the overskirt, giving the dress a subtle shade of green.Β  It was, understandably, a stressful day for the bride but in the end, it was worth it:

Wedding Dress Tombstone c. 1881

And now for the ceremony…. πŸ™‚

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Voila! We wish the happy couple all the happiness in the world! πŸ™‚