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Suggestions for authentic Victorian wedding resources/sites/books

I am having a Victorian Garden Tea Party wedding next Spring and I am hoping to remain relatively authentic with the decor, menu, reception, music, and other details, etc. Does anyone have any resources (websites, books, etc) that might put me on the right track?

Re: Suggestions for authentic Victorian wedding resources/sites/books

  • Some websites:

    The Victorian era is a long era- as her reign was almost seventy years long! :) So this really could encompass a great number of things. In general though:

    Decor-  This is something that did not seem to change all that much. It was a time of high refinement for the upper classes- so you'd need to rent some very nice place settings and silver- or if it's small, you can perhaps borrow some fine china. Or troll garage sales to find some.

     Watch some Oscar Wilde plays/movies like 'The Importance of Being Earnest' or 'The Ideal Husband' to see what sorts of centerpieces and decor they went for. Much of the ambiance was achieved by location- either a resplendent garden, or highly decorated interior. The rest of the 'party decor' is mostly a refined place setting, hand engraved/calligraphed place cards, and beautiful/detailed floral arrangements, as well as lovely napkins and tablecloth. It's all in the refined details.

    Get any book on etiquette, and you'll get an idea of what to do. Even looking towards shows like 'Downtown Abbey' or the movie Titanic gives you an idea of what is expected at such functions- as those standards remained relatively the same for almost 100 years.

    Music- that really depends a lot on which part of the 'Victorian era' you want to look towards. 
    Through most of the Victorian era opera was the go to music- Grand opera (like Michael Balfe) and comic opera (like Gilbert and Sullivan). Later brass bands became popular (think Sousa or William Tell), but at the very latest part of the Victorian era Ragtime was just coming about. 

    At tea parties, the go to music, though, is something lighter and relaxing- so string music, light ragtime, classical (like Chopin, Brahams) would be the ideal choice.

    Menu- tea is usually in the afternoon- and food to go with this would be light finger sandwiches, salads, pastries, cakes, cookies- dainty foods easily eaten that will not make a mess or be too filling- as it's a tea snack, essentially, and not a full meals. 

    If outdoors, providing adequate and elegant shade- either through parasols or lovely pole tents, would be required. If indoors, look for a classic building with natural light that is not too harsh, and pretty architecture. 

    Another thing to consider, the art of the Victorian era.
    Some of my favorite styles of art are during this time, and can be a great place to look for inspiration.
    Art Nouveau was most popular in the late 1800's, and is a lovely inspiration for invitations and decor.

    The Victorians had an avid interest in the beauties of nature, as can be seen in how they celebrated it through art, music and poetry.

    Speaking of poetry- there are some beautifully lyrical poems that could be adapted to a ceremony reading. 

  • Thank you! This helps a lot!

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