Great (Wedding) Expectations

The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis fields this week’s wedding questions. Today: One bride tries to keep her Victorian-themed dream from turning into a nightmare

Choosing a theme is one of the most fun elements about your wedding. The choice, of course, is up to the bride (with some help from the moms). Once selected, there’s lots of information around to help you carry the theme throughout your wedding, from the rehearsal dinner to when it’s time to go home. It may be a challenge, but this is a great place for a bride to tap into her creativity!

A Valley bride asks: “I’ve always wanted a Victorian-themed wedding, but now that it’s time to actually implement the idea, I’m getting a little overwhelmed. Where do I start — and which parts of my wedding should follow the theme? I don’t want it to look like a Broadway play, or worse, a carnival sideshow.”

Dear bride: First let me assure you that there’s no right or wrong way to do this. You can incorporate as many theme-related items as you want! Don’t worry about what it’ll look like — I’m sure your guests will enjoy your efforts.

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Victorian weddings (in the 1870s) were all about romance. The location of your wedding will be a good start: If you can find a venue that’s historically of the Victorian period, you can build on that. Attire includes lots of lace, bustled gowns, and even high button shoes. Incidentally, Victorian weddings were all white, including the attendants’ dresses and your veil.

To be “authentic,” a Victorian-themed wedding needs to consider the groom’s attire. The early-Victorian groom wore a frock coat of blue, mulberry or claret, and a flower favor in his lapel.

Victorians believed that every flower had a meaning, so the flowers in your bouquets should be carefully selected. The bridesmaids at a Victorian wedding would carry “tussie mussies,” a small bunch of silver flowers tied with sweet-smelling herbs.

Instead of the traditional cocktail hour, you can hold a high tea. And, let’s not forget dessert! In early-Victorian times, three wedding cakes were the norm: one was very fancy, and one each for the bride and the groom. The fancy cake was cut into pieces, put into boxes, and tied with a ribbon. Each guest received a box as a parting gift, to “dream on.”

Sound like a lot? Don’t worry — whatever you do, remember that planning a wedding is supposed to be fun!

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» Click here for more information about planning a Victorian-theme wedding.

To submit your own question to the Wedding Guru, email Judy at

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