A Wedding Gown – #15

There’s going to be a wedding, but not everyone is happy about it. Especially Lady Sophia, the newly-betrothed, bride-to-be. This match was not of her choosing, but that’s a topic for another blog. For now, the wedding is going to take place, and there must be a gown.

This wedding is taking place in the year 1316, so 14th century trends and rules apply. White was not yet the tradition; that started after Queen Victoria’s marriage to Albert in 1840. Although Mary, Queen of Scots, wore a white wedding gown in 1559 when she married her first husband, Francis Dauphin of France, the tradition caught on with Queen Victoria’s marriage almost three hundred years later.

So, what are Lady Sophia’s choices? Her family has money and aspire to enhance their political connections and elevate their social status. Her father is a servant and friend to King Robert the Bruce (a worthy connection!), who has gifted him the land where they live – the breathtaking Dunnottar Castle.

The groom, Lord Patrick deDunbar is a lecherous earl, full of self-importance and overly fond of drink who is also seeking to elevate his status by marrying. I’m getting off track here, but the bottom line is this will be a well-attended wedding of important and wealthy people. The deKeith family has to put on a good show.

Back to the gown… Lady Sophia will probably wear a garment known as a cotehardie. It’s a long, form-fitting gown with a wide neckline and either full or elbow-length sleeves. Fabric choices and colors vary. Some sources I researched said the gown sometimes featured patterns like stripes and damask. Fabrics could be velvet, satin, or silk. Because this wedding is taking place in late August, silk may be the most comfortable (but most expensive) choice.

What about color? Back then, dark blue was the color of purity. Other jewel-tones were also popular. Wealthier brides often chose shades of red or gold. Lady Sophia is tall and slender with long, dark curly/wavy hair and dark eyes. She will probably look stunning in any color, but her mother will want her gown to make a strong, visual statement so she is easily seen and recognized. And yet… the dark blue for purity.

Lady Sophia will accompany her mother to the nearby village of Stonehaven to select the fabric for her wedding gown. She is repulsed by her intended groom and has voiced her objection to the marriage countless times to her parents. To no avail, it would seem. Will the wedding proceed as planned?

Until next time…

Image credit: Dickinson College

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