A British Royal Wedding – Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles

Last month in the ongoing British Royal Wedding series I featured a post on the wedding of Princess Victoria, the daughter of Queen Victoria.  This month’s post will be about another daughter of a British Monarch, Princess Mary who was the daughter of King George V.  I will briefly discuss the courtship, engagement and wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Henry Lascelles (later to become the Earl of Harewood).

Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary was born on April 25, 1897 at York Cottage on the Sandringham estate located in Norfolk, England.  Princess Mary (as she was known in the family) was the third child of King George V and Queen Mary; at the time of her birth her parents were then the Duke and Duchess of York.  She was their only daughter among her six brothers – Edward (the future King Edward VIII who abdicated in 1936), Albert (future King George VI), Henry, George and John (known as “the Lost Prince” died as a result of a severe epileptic seizure in 1919).

Princess Mary as a young girl

Princess Mary spent the majority of her privileged childhood years quietly on the Sandringham estate where her family lived a relatively “country” lifestyle despite the fact that her father was the heir to the British throne. Princess Mary’s father was a strict disciplinarian who was often absent due to his royal duties and her mother frequently accompanied her husband in his travels so as a result the Princess and her brothers were generally raised by a governess.

Duke and Duchess of York with their children
(Princess Mary is seen on the left)

Princess Mary at the time of her confirmation

In 1910, with the death of her grandfather King Edward VII, her father ascended to the British throne as King George V.  The Royal family would officially move from the simple and small York Cottage on the Sandringham estate to the grand and large Buckingham Palace in London.

During World War I Princess Mary and Queen Mary visited British soldiers in local hospitals.  Princess Mary had enrolled in a nursing course at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1918 and would eventually work a few days a week in the hospital’s Alexandra Ward named after her grandmother, Queen Alexandra.  The Princess also promoted the Land Girls which was an organization of women started in 1915 to provide manufacturing and agricultural labor in Britain necessitated by the absence of the men fighting in the war.   Princess Mary also actively supported the Girl Guides, a British organization started in 1910 similar to the American Girl Scouts, and she later became the honorary president of the association in 1920 and continued to hold that title for the rest of her life.

Princess Mary worked as a nurse at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London

While living in London, Princess Mary met Viscount Henry Lascelles at a dinner party when he was home on leave during the war.  The Viscount was the eldest son of the Earl and Countess of Harewood from Leeds, Yorkshire and he had served with distinction during World War I as a lieutenant colonel with the Grenadier Guards.  Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles met again at several country house parties in the months that followed, he was 38 years old and she was 23 at the time.  The seemingly unlikely couple had a lot in common and both enjoyed the sporting life with hunting, shooting and other activities common with the British upper class.

After a short time, Lord Lascelles was frequently spending time with the Royal family in London, at Balmoral in Scotland and it was while visiting the Sandringham estate that he proposed to Princess Mary.  The King gave his consent for the couple to be married and it was followed by the approval of the Privy Council which was required under the Royal Marriages Act 1772 for members of the British Royal Family. The engagement was officially announced by the Palace on November 22, 1921. 

Viscount Lascelles and Princess Mary at the time of the engagement

The Royal wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles took place on February 28, 1922 at Westminster Abbey in London, as customary the ceremony was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  There were eight bridesmaids – Princess Maud of Fife, Lady Rachel Cavendish, Lady Mary Thyne, Lady Victoria Cambridge, Lady Doris Lennox, Lady Diana Bridgeman, Lady May of Cambridge and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.  Special Note: The last bridesmaid mentioned, Lady Elizabeth, was destined to marry the bride’s brother, Prince Albert George a year later,  The couple would later become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and they are the parents of the current Queen Elizabeth II.

Viscount Lascelles and Princess Mary on their wedding day

Viscount Lascelles and Princess Mary
with the best man, Sir Victor Audley Mackenzie, and the eight bridesmaids

Viscount Lascelles and Princess Mary with the bride’s parents,
King George VI and Queen Mary

A precedence was set for future Royal weddings when the couple became the first to make an appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony as shown in the historical photograph below.  King George, Queen Mary and the Dowager Queen Alexandra, the bride’s grandmother, also joined the Royal couple on the balcony.  Sadly, a few years later the Dowager would become a recluse at her home in Sandringham as her health declined and she died in 1925.

from left to right –
King George, Princess Mary, Viscount Lascelles,
Dowager Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary

Following their appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony, there was a wedding breakfast for several hundred invited guests and the large four-tiered elaborately decorated wedding cake was reportedly cut with a sword.  After the wedding reception the couple left for their brief honeymoon in Paris, France and Florence, Italy.

The wedding cake of Viscount Lascelles and Princess Mary

When the couple returned to England they settled into Chesterfield House which was a grand townhouse that would be their London residence for the next nine years; it was bought by Lord Lascelles in 1919.  Later the couple moved to Goldsborough Hall located near Leeds in Yorkshire.

In the years following their marriage the couple had two sons, George born in 1923 and Gerald born in 1924.  Then in 1929 Lascalles’ father died and he became the 6th Earl of Harewood and Princess Mary became the Countess of Harewood and they would move permanently to Harewood House.  The large stately house has a lovely garden and grounds designed by the famous “Capability” Brown.  (Special Note: Today Harewood House, although still the home of the Lascelles family, is owned by the Harewood House Trust which offers tours of both the house and gardens.  For more information, regarding hours and fees, please click on the link to the website, www.harewood.org)

The Countess of Harewood with her two sons, George and Gerald

In addition to becoming the Countess of Harewood, Princess Mary became the Princess Royal in 1932, the title is customarily given to the eldest daughter of the British monarch.  Since there can be only one Princess Royal at a time, upon the death of her Aunt Princess Louise, the Duchess of Fife (the daughter of King Edward VII) the title was given to Princess Mary.  Special Note: Princess Louise in turn received the title in 1905 four years after the death of Princess Victoria, the Dowager German Empress and Queen of Prussia (the daughter of Queen Victoria).  The current Princess Royal is Princess Anne, who is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, and she received the title in 1987 twenty-two years after the death of Princess Mary.

The year of 1936 would bring about drastic changes to the British Royal Family.  Upon the death of her father King George V, her favorite brother became King Edward VIII but before his coronation was held he abdicated and her other brother would become King George VI.  Shunned by the Royal Family, Edward went on to become the Duke of Windsor and in 1937 when he married Wallis Simpson in France and the Earl and Countess of Harewood would be the only members of the Royal Family to attend.  (Special Note: Still upset years later when the Duke of Windsor did not receive an invitation to the wedding of her niece Princess Elizabeth to Phillip Mountbatten in 1947, the Countess declined to attend in protest)

The Earl and Countess of Harewood

In May 1947 the Earl of Harewood died suddenly of a heart attack at Harewood House.  In the years that followed the Countess Harewood seemed to have reconciled with the other members of the Royal family and she did attended the coronation of her niece, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953.  In March 1965, the Princess Royal suffered a similar fate as that of her husband and she died suddenly of a heart attack at Harewood House.  After a private family funeral at the All Saints Church, which was attended by several members of the Royal Family including Queen Elizabeth II, she was buried alongside her husband.

A British Royal Wedding – Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick William

This blog has featured several British Royal Brides in recent months and this post will be about Princess Victoria, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.   I will briefly discuss the courtship, engagement and wedding of Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick William with details about her wedding dress and bridal accessories worn on her wedding day.

Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa was born on November 21, 1840 to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace in London.  Although the Royal couple would have preferred their first born to be a boy, despite this fact Prince Albert was absolutely delighted with his daughter.  While she was still only one year old, the young Victoria was created the Princess Royal in 1841; the title is customarily given to the eldest daughter of the British sovereign.

Princess Victoria 1842 by Franz Winterhalter

Princess Victoria and her siblings received a proper education which was closely followed by their father and overseen by Baron Stockmar.  The Princess would prove to be an excellent student that thrived in her studies while her brother Prince Albert Edward, who was born a year after her, struggled with his lessons.  Throughout the years, Princess Victoria and her father shared a special bond enjoying common interests and later similar political views.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had carefully planned that their children would be joined in marriage into some of the most prominent European Royal families in the hopes of forming political alliances that would greatly benefit England.  The Queen and her husband had a long standing friendship with Prince William (later William I the King of Prussia and German Emperor) and his wife, Princess Augusta.  So to further strengthen the bond between England, Prussia and eventually a unified Germany it was decided that a marriage would be arranged between Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick, the eldest son of Prince William.

Princess Victoria 1851 by Franz Winterhalter

Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick would meet in London for the first time during the Great Exhibition of 1851, she was only 11 years old and he was nineteen.  The Princess made a great impression on the Prince who found her to be very mature and intelligent despite her young age and after returning to his homeland he began regularly writing letters to her.  Back in Prussia the idea of the Prince marrying the daughter of the Queen of England was met with much resistance and also great apprehension.  Then, in 1855 Prince Frederick planned a trip to see Princess Victoria again to make a final decision about a marriage.  He visited her in Balmoral Castle in Scotland and within a few days he was asking the Queen’s approval and also her permission before proposing to the Princess.  Several conditions had been set by the Queen, the first being that the marriage would not take place until the Princess was 17 years old and that the wedding would be in England not in Prussia.  Special Note: This last stipulation was an unusual request because customarily the wedding of an heir (Prince Frederick) would take place in his country and not the bride’s homeland.

Lithograph showing Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick (center)
and their parents – Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (left) and
Princess Augusta and Prince William (later King of Prussia and German Emperor)

Once the engagement of Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick was officially announced on May 17, 1856 there was general disapproval not only in Prussia but also in England.  The public was very critical of the Prussian neutrality during the Crimean War and also disapproved of the Prussian government association with Russia.  Meanwhile Prince Albert took the opportunity between the engagement and the wedding to prepare his daughter for her future life in Prussia.  He spent many hours teaching her his liberal ideals promoting a unified Germany but unfortunately this would ultimately cause the Princess immense problems later with the conservative government of Prussia.

The Marriage of Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick painting by John Phillip
(Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family are shown on the right in the painting)

The Royal wedding of Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick took place on January 25, 1858 at the Chapel Royal in St. James Palace in London, England.  On the morning of the wedding thousands of people lined the procession route that led from Buckingham Palace to St James Palace to witness eighteen carriages which carried the Royal Family and other dignitaries plus hundreds of soldiers and horses.

The bride’s brothers rode in one carriage wearing Highland kilts while in another carriage her sisters were wearing pink satin and white lace dresses. In the final carriage Princess Victoria rode with her mother, Queen Victoria.  Arriving at St James Palace to a fanfare of trumpets and drums they were joined by the bride’s father, Prince Albert.  Then the wedding procession entered the Palace it included the bride’s brothers and sisters, the young bridesmaids, the bride’s grandmother and lastly the Queen.   The groom, Prince Frederick, stood at the railing near the front of the Chapel dressed in the dark blue tunic and white trousers of the Prussian Guard uniform; he also held a silver helmet in his hand. Finally, Princess Victoria walked into the Chapel accompanied by her father and her Great Uncle Leopold positioned on either side. (Special Note: Leopold, the King of Belgium, was the uncle to both the bride’s parents since the Queen and Prince Albert were first cousins).

Lithograph showing Queen Victoria and Princess Victoria
arriving at St James Palace for the wedding ceremony

After the wedding ceremony concluded the bride and groom walked out of the Chapel to a song which had been written in 1842 by the German composer, Felix Mendelssohn.  It was originally written to accompany the Shakespeare play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  Referred in the commemorative souvenir printed material at the time as the “Bride’s Song” it would be the first time that the song would be performed at a Royal Wedding.  (Special Note: As with most customs set during the Victorian Era, it proved to be very popular with the public for wedding ceremonies as a recessional song, it later became known as the “Wedding March”)

Shown above is a page from a special Royal Wedding printing
referring the Mendelssohn composition as “A Bride’s Song”

As tradition dictates, following the ceremony the wedding register was signed and a reception was held later at Buckingham Palace where a large and ornate wedding cake was cut and served to the invited guests.

Lithograph showing Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick
signing the marriage register after the wedding

Lithograph showing the wedding cake of Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick

Princess Victoria’s wedding dress and accessories

When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she popularized the style of the white wedding dress and her daughter, Princess Victoria followed this new tradition.  A dress was specially created for the Royal Princess and was made of white silk moiré accented with three layers of Honiton lace; the lace featured a design incorporating roses, shamrocks and thistles which were symbols of England, Ireland and Scotland.   The dress had a rather long train that measured more than three yards and was trimmed with lace and satin ribbon.  Orange blossoms and sprigs of myrtle were used to decorate the bodice and the various tiers of the dress.  (Special Note: in the “language of flowers”, the orange blossom was used to represent purity and fertility while the myrtle was commonly used as a bridal flower in Germany, a sweet gesture to honor the groom)

A photograph of Princess Victoria’s wedding dress,
from www.royalcollection.org.uk

To complete Princess Victoria’s wedding ensemble a long Honiton lace veil was attached to her head with a wreath made of orange blossoms and myrtle.  She also wore a diamond necklace, earrings and a brooch.  (Special Note:  Queen Victoria was regally dressed for her daughter’s wedding and she wore a lilac silk moiré dress with a velvet train and she also wore a diamond crown with a royal diadem of diamonds and pearls)

A photograph of Princess Victoria’s wedding veil,
from www.royalcollection.org.uk

Princess Victoria’s wedding gifts

On the occasion of Princess Victoria’s wedding to Prince Frederick many wedding gifts were received and displayed in one of the State rooms at Buckingham Palace.  The items were labeled with a brief description and the name of the person presenting the wedding gift.  From the groom, Prince Frederick, the Princess Royal received a lovely diamond and turquoise necklace.  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the bride’s parents, had given their daughter a necklace made of 36 large pearls and an opal and Diamond demi-parure which included a necklace, earrings and brooch.  The Queen also gave her a diamond brooch which could also be worn as a necklace pendant and Prince Albert gave her an emerald and diamond bracelet.  The groom’s parents, Prince William and Princess Augusta, gave her a wonderful diamond diadem (a coronet often worn as a symbol of sovereignty)

The lithograph shown above depicts the diamond and opal demi-parure which was a gift from the Princess Royal’s parents and also the diamond brooch from the Queen and emerald and diamond bracelet which was a gift from Prince Albert.

Many years after the wedding, in 1875 the Royal Princess Victoria now known as the Crown Princess of Germany, commissioned a special painting as a gift for her mother, Queen Victoria.  Shown below is the formal portrait by Heinrich von Angeli which is significant because she is wearing the Indian necklace that Queen Victoria had originally received from Queen Oude and then given to her daughter as a wedding gift.  (Special Note:The Crown Princess is also shown wearing the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert badge and the Order of Louise badge pinned to the left sleeve of her dress)

Formal portrait of the Crown Princess of Germany by Heinrich von Angeli
from www.royalcollection.org.uk

Despite the fact that the marriage of Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick was basically an arranged marriage it had turned into a true love.  The Royal couple had eight children: Wilhelm (1859-1941), Charlotte (1860-1919), Heinrich (1862-1929), Sigismund (1864-1866), Viktoria (1866-1929), Waldemar (1868-1879), Sophia (1870-1932), Margaret (1872-1954).

Prince Frederick and Princess Victoria with five of their eight children

Frederick became the King of Prussia and German Emperor upon the death of his father in March 1888.  Sadly, Frederick III died on June 15 from cancer of the larynx only 99 days after his accession and was succeeded by his son, Wilhelm II.

After the death of her husband the Dowager Empress relocated to Friedrichshof, a castle she had built in Kronberg im Taunus located in Hesse, Germany.  There she lived a very isolated life until she died of breast cancer on August 5, 1901 only a few months after the death of her mother, Queen Victoria.  The Empress Dowager Victoria was laid to rest alongside her husband at Friedenskirche, the Royal mausoleum located in Postsdam, Germany.

Wedding Reception – Table Numbers

In general, table numbers are used in coordination with the guest escort cards that indicate the table assignments at a wedding reception.   Table numbers can be a creative way for the bridal couple to express the theme and colors of a wedding and in this post I will discuss several different ideas, including both formal elegant styles to informal whimsical styles.

In addition, table numbers can be used in a variety of different ways to make it easier for guests to find their seats at a wedding reception.  One way is to consider the size of the numbers and the basic idea would be to make the numbers visible for the guests to see without being so large that they distract from the wedding reception style, I think numbers not more than six inches in height is a good size. Another idea is to arrange the tables with even numbers on one side of the room and the odd numbers on the other side.    

Shown below are several examples of table numbers in a formal and elegant style.

a simple gold table number on a base

with the vast selection of frames available at retail stores and online for purchase,
a style or type of frame can be found for any color scheme of a wedding reception

shown below is a silver frame with table number

an elegant pearl frame with table number

a crystal frame with table number

a floral table number printed on heavy cardstock

a table number on a simple white candle

a table number used with a lantern

Depending on the size of the wedding reception and how many guest tables are required, the next examples use items that can be family heirlooms or
vintage finds from an antique store.

a beautiful china teapot with a floral arrangement and used with a table number

a china plate on a stand with a table number

a vintage clock set to the “time” of the table number (in this example for table one)

an antique mirror with the table number

Shown below are several examples of ideas for table numbers for a theme wedding used in an informal and whimsical style sometimes using quirky items.

a seashell or a piece of coral with a table number
(keep in mind that most decorative pieces of coral are now artificially produced)

a boat with table number can be an idea for a nautical theme wedding

a wine or champagne bottle with a table number attached
would be a great idea for a wedding held at a winery or vineyard
(note that the bottle can be opened for use at the wedding reception)

a horseshoe attached to a piece of wood with a wired table number
can be used for a rustic country themed wedding held in a barn

a cowbell with the table number for a farm themed wedding
(can be “rung” in the tradition that the bride and groom kiss!)

a moss covered table number would be a great idea for a garden themed wedding

a piece of wood with the table number could be used for
an enchanted forest theme wedding

a book with a table number could be used for a wedding held in a historic library

The next examples use organic items but don’t necessarily have a particular wedding theme

a piece of agate with the table number

a ceramic tile with the table number

a vintage door knob attached to a piece of wood with the table number

Finally here a some additional ideas for table numbers

  1.  A cute idea for table numbers is to include photos of the bride and groom at that particular age, an example for table one would use photos of the bridal couple at the age of one year old. 
  2. Another idea for a system of identification to determine the tables is to use words instead of numbers.  An example would be to use words can be the name of cities that hold special meaning to the bridal couple, maybe places they visited of their vacations. 

Russian Imperial Nuptial Jewels


In this post I will discuss the Russian Nuptial Jewels worn by several of the Russian Imperial brides throughout the centuries and which have traditionally included the Russian Nuptial Tiara and Crown, also the Russian Nuptial Necklace and Earrings and the large Russian Nuptial Brooch that was used to fasten the ermine robes worn by the bride at the wedding ceremony.

Russian Nuptial Tiara

The Russian Nuptial Tiara has been worn by several Russian Imperial brides, including tsarinas and grand duchesses throughout the centuries.  The large diamond tiara was created around 1800 by Jacob David Duval, a St. Petersburg jeweler, for Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna.  The largest stone set in the center of the lower portion of the tiara is a remarkable 13 carat pink diamond; in addition there is a row of briolette diamonds topped by diamond uprights.  Surprisingly, the tiara survived the Russian Revolution and is now displayed at the Kremlin Armory in Moscow.

Russian Nuptial Crown

As part of the Eastern Orthodox Holy Matrimony, not only are rings exchanged as part of the ceremony, but crowns are also placed on the heads of both the bride and groom.  The Russian Nuptial Crown was made around 1844, possibly by Nichols and Plincke jewelers.  There are 320 large diamonds weighing approximately 182 carats and 1,200 smaller diamonds totaling 80 carats; it is thought that most of the diamonds were previously used to embellish the clothing of Catherine II.  The diamonds are set in silver and mounted onto a crimson red velvet crown.  At a specific point in the wedding ceremony, the Nuptial Crown is placed behind the Nuptial Tiara.

Records indicate that the Nuptial Crown was sold by Christie’s Auction House in 1927.  It was acquired by Marjorie Merriweather Post, an American businesswoman and heiress of the Post Cereal Company which she expanded into General Foods.  In the 1930s, when her husband was the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union she continued collecting Imperial art and artifacts and eventually her collections was given to the Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C.

Shown above is a small portion of the Laurits Tuxen painting which depicts the 1894 wedding of Emperor Nicholas II and Princess Alexandra, the princess is seen wearing both the Russian Nuptial Tiara and Crown.

Russian Rivère Diamond Necklace and Earrings

In addition to the Russian Imperial Tiara and Crown, the Romanov brides would wear other stunning diamond jewelry.  The Russian Rivère Diamond Necklace was a set of large diamonds and pear-shaped diamond drops that weighed a total of 475 carats; the necklace was once part of the Russian Imperial Crown Jewels.  During the time of the Russian Revolution the necklace was sold to an unknown buyer and has since mysteriously disappeared.  The matching earrings were originally commissioned by Catherine II, the large Brazilian diamonds are set in gold and silver and styled to resemble cherries and stems.  The earrings are so heavy to wear that a special support wire was fashioned to be wrapped behind and over the ears.


Imperial Mantle Clasp

Over the wedding gown, the bride would wear the Imperial Mantle made of embroidered golden fabric edged with ermine; the mantle was also worn for coronations.  To fasten the mantle a magnificent clasp was set with diamonds of various sizes and shapes, it measured approximately 8 inches across.

Special Note: Portions of this post were originally published on my other blog, theenchantedmanor.com.  If interested in more information regarding other Romanov Jewels, please click on two additional posts about the House of Fabergé and Fabergé Eggs.  The first post gives a brief history of the Fabergé Company started by Peter Carl Fabergé.  The second post gives information about the beautiful jeweled 54 Imperial Eggs that Fabergé created for the Russian Tsar Alexander III and later his son Tsar Nicholas II between 1885 and 1917.

Princess Elizabeth as a Royal Bridesmaid

Princess Elizabeth (now known as Queen Elizabeth II) married Prince Philip on November 20, 1947 in a grand wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London, England. But before she was a British Royal Bride marrying her prince charming she was a bridesmaid at four different British Royal weddings.  In this post I will discuss those weddings in more detail and also show photos of Princess Elizabeth as an adorable young bridesmaid and then as a women of twenty years old the year before she herself was married.

The wedding of Lady May Cambridge to Henry Abel Smith – 1931

Princess Elizabeth was a very young bridesmaid at the wedding of Lady May Cambridge (formerly Princess May of Teck) to Henry Abel Smith on October 24, 1931 in Balcombe, Sussex.  Lady May’s parents were Prince Alexander of Teck and Prince Alice of Albany, Lady May was also the niece of Queen Mary who was the sister of her father.  The groom was a Captain in the Royal Horse Guards. 

The wedding of Lady May Cambridge to Henry Abel Smith
(Princess Elizabeth is the one holding the hand of the bride)
photo credit to the National Portrait Gallery

Lady May’s simple wedding dress was made of ivory satin; a slight train fell from her shoulders.  She wore a Honiton wedding veil which Queen Mary had loaned to her niece.  The veil had previously been worn by the Queen when she was Princess May of Teck and married Prince George, Duke of York (later to become King George V), in London on July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace. For more information about their wedding, please click on the link

Lady May Cambridge with Princess Elizabeth
photo credit to the National Portrait Gallery

Princess Elizabeth was only five years old at the time of the wedding of Lady May and was one of several young bridesmaids, she wore a light blue long dress with puff sleeves.  This event was one of her first public official duties as a British Royal.     

Princess Elizabeth
photo credit to the National Portrait Gallery

Special Note:  Two things regarding Lady May, first during World War I there were strong anti-German feelings in England and many families with German surnames changed them to something more English sounding, thus Prince Alexander changed their name from Teck to Cambridge.  Secondly, Princess May broke with a century old tradition and had the word “obey” omitted from her wedding vows.   

The wedding of the Prince George, Duke of Kent to Princess Marina – 1934

The next time Princess Elizabeth was a bridesmaid it was for the wedding of Prince George, the Duke of Kent to Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark that took place on November 29, 1934 at Westminster Abbey in London.  Prince George was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. Princess Marina was the youngest daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.   

the wedding of Prince George, the Duke of Kent to
Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark
(Princess Elizabeth is seen on the bottom left of the photo)

There were actually two wedding ceremonies, the first was the one held at Westminster Abbey and a second smaller Greek Orthodox service took place in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace.  Princess Marina wore a white silk and silver lame brocade dress designed by Edward Molyneux and a tulle veil held in place with a diamond fringe tiara that belong to her mother.    

Princess Elizabeth was a niece to Prince George and as a bridesmaid she wore a rather whimsical short satin dress with an organdy overlay and layered ruffled sleeves    

Princess Elizabeth

Special Note:  The wedding of Prince George, the Duke of Kent to Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark was the first British Royal wedding to be broadcast live on the radio. 

The wedding of Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester to Lady Alice Scott – 1935

The wedding of Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester and Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott took place on November 6, 1935 in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace.  Prince Henry was the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. Lady Alice was the third daughter of the John Montagu Douglas Scott, the 7th Duke of Buccleuch and Lady Margaret Bridgeman.  Originally the wedding had been scheduled to take place at Westminster Abbey but the bride’s father died shortly before the wedding date and the venue was moved to accommodate a smaller private wedding at Buckingham Palace.   

the wedding of Prince Henry and Lady Alice
(Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret are the two bridesmaids sitting)

Lady Alice’s wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell and it was an unusual color choice of a lovely shade of pale pink satin; this was per her request because she was an older bride at the age of 34.  The dress featured a high neckline accented with artificial orange blossoms, long sleeves and a cathedral length train.

For the young bridesmaids, which included Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret who were the nieces of Prince Henry, Hartnell designed short dresses of pale pink stain trimmed with tiers of ruffled tulle (as shown in the photo below).

Princess Elizabeth waiting for the bride and groom to depart on their honeymoon
(I love her facial expression of pure joy!)

Special Note:  Lady Elizabeth, the Duchess of York (later to become Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) was so delighted with the bridesmaid dresses Norman Hartnell designed for her two small daughters that she became his steadfast client.  Hartnell went on to become her primary dress designer and when her husband became King George VI, he designed the famous White Wardrobe for a state visit to France in 1938.  Hartnell went on to design the wedding dress for Princess Elizabeth when she married Prince Philip in 1947 and also her coronation dress when she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  For his work with the British Royal Family, Hartnell received the Royal Warrant as dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1940 and later the Royal Warrant as dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.   (Please click on the links for more information regarding the White Wardrobe, Princess Elizabeth’s wedding dress and Queen Elizabeth II coronation dress)  

The wedding of Patricia Mountbatten to John Knatchbull – 1946

The wedding of Patricia Mountbatten to John Knatchbull the 7th Baron Brabourn took place on October 26, 1946 at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, England.  Patricia was the eldest daughter of Louis Mountbatten, the 1st Earl of Burma and Admiral of the Fleet and Edwina Ashley.  John was the second son of Michael Knatchbull, the 5th Baron Brabourne and Lady Doreen Browne, his father had been the Governor of Bombay, Governor of Bengal and then later the Viceroy of India. 

the wedding of Patricia Mountbatten to John Knatchbull
(Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret are the two bridesmaids on the bottom right)

Patrica’s wedding gown was made of Indian silver-gold brocade and she wore the diamond and pearl Mountbatten Star tiara, the tiara had previously been worn by Edwina, the bride’s mother, when she married in 1922.  The four bridesmaids, which included Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, wore blue satin long dresses with puff sleeves with floral wreaths on their heads.

Many members of the British Royal family attended the wedding including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, notice in the photo below that the Queen is wearing a silver grey dress and a silver fox fur trimmed with ostrich feathers.  Patricia’s godfather, the Duke of Windsor, was not in attendance due to his estrangement from the British Royal family caused by his abdication in 1936. 

the Royal Family arriving at the wedding
King George VI, Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth

Prince Philip, a first cousin to the bride, was noticeably present at the wedding and his romance with Princess Elizabeth was revealed to the public when they supposedly exchange amorous glances which were caught by the photographers and newsmen covering the wedding as shown in the photo below.  Special Note: Their official engagement was announced on July 9, 1947 and the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip would take place on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey.  For more detailed information about their wedding please click on the link.   

I hope you enjoyed this post about Princess Elizabeth as a bridesmaid throughout the years.  If you are interested in information about the origin and history behind the role of the flower girl and what their purpose is in today’s modern weddings, please click on the link.

A British Royal Wedding – Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

To continue the ongoing British Royal Wedding series, in this post I will feature the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles that took place on April 9, 2005.  In fact there were two ceremonies performed that day; one was a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall and later a Church of England Service of Prayer and Dedication at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.  I will discuss the details of both wedding ceremonies and the reception that followed later.     

Prince Charles was born on November 14, 1948 at Buckingham Palace in London, England.  He is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.  At present, Prince Charles is the oldest and longest serving British heir apparent, his grandfather King George VI died in 1952 and his mother became Queen when he was three years old.  He is also the longest serving Prince of Wales, his investiture was held in July 1969 at Caernarfon Castle in Wales when he was 21 years old. 

Camilla was born on July 17, 1947 in London; her parents were Major Bruce Shand and Rosalind Cubitt.  Like most upper class British children, her parent’s had two homes, one in South Kensington and an 18th century country house, the Laines, located in East Sussex.  It was there that Camille developed her skills as an equestrian but she also enjoyed painting, fishing and gardening.

In 1965 Camilla was a London debutante and she moved to a small flat in Kensington which she shared with a friend, later she moved into a larger flat in Belgravia.  Camilla worked as a secretary for several different businesses in the West End and later as a receptionist at Colefax and Fowler, a famous decorating business in Mayfair. 

In the late 1960s Camilla met Andrew Parker Bowles who was then a Guards officer and lieutenant in the Blues and Royals.  The couple had a sporadic relationship over the next few years, at one time Parker Bowles dated Princess Anne (Prince Charles sister).  Camilla briefly dated Prince Charles but when he went overseas while serving in the Royal Navy in 1973 their relationship ended.  Although Prince Charles and Camilla were genuinely fond of each other, at the time she was deemed an unsuitable prospective wife of a future King or England. 

Later that same year Camilla reconciled with Parker Bowles and they became engaged, on hearing the news Prince Charles was devastated thinking that he had lost someone that he truly loved.  In July 1973 Parker Bowles and Camilla had a large society wedding held at the Guards Chapel at the Wellington Barracks in London.   The couple made their home in Wiltshire and then later in Corsham and they had two children, Tom born in 1974 and Laura born in 1978.  In 1994, after 21 years of marriage, Parker Bowles and Camilla started divorce proceedings and it became final a year later in March 1995.      

Meanwhile, who was thought to be a perennial bachelor, was feeling the pressure to settle down and get married.  Eventually Prince Charles met Lady Diana Spencer and quickly announced an engagement.  Their wedding took place on July 29, 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England.  (For more information about the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, please click on the link)

Prince Charles and Princess Diana would go on to have two children, Prince William born in 1982 and Prince Harry born in 1984.  Unfortunately, the future would not be kind to them and they would endure an unhappy marriage that included infidelities on the part of the Prince Charles and Princess Diana as well as malicious and very public gossip involving both of them.  The Royal couple would ultimately divorce in 1996 and sadly the Princess would die in a tragic car accident in Paris in 1997.  

Throughout the years, Prince Charles and Camilla continued their friendship and at one point they once again became romantically involved.  When the news came out, the public blamed Camilla for the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.  A few years after the death of Princess Diana, Prince Charles stayed firm in his rekindled relationship with Camilla and he hired a public relations team to rehabilitate Camilla’s public image.  In 1999, the couple made their first public appearance together and afterwards she accompanied the Prince on many of his official engagements.  After many years, eventually the public as well as the Queen and the Royal family accepted Camilla but most importantly to Charles his sons seemed to become quite fond of her because she made their father so happy. 

So, almost 35 years after the couple first meet, Prince Charles proposed to Camilla while they were on Christmas holiday at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate in Scotland.  On February 10, 2005 the engagement of Prince Charles and Camilla was officially announced by Clarence House.  Special Note: Both Birkhall and Clarence House had a special connection to Prince Charles’ beloved grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who died in 2002.  He inherited Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate from his grandmother as well as Clarence House which has become his official residence in London.

The engagement ring Prince Charles gave to Camilla features a platinum Art Deco setting with a five carat emerald cut diamond in the center with three baguettes on either side.  The ring is believed to have been given to his grandmother when she gave birth to his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1926. 

As the heir apparent of the British throne and thereby the future titular head of the Church of England, the impending marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla was very controversial and the consent of the Queen, her government and the Church of England were required for them to wed.   

Special Note:  When Princess Anne married Timothy Laurence after having divorced Mark Phillips, she did so in the Church of Scotland.  For a member of the Royal family, the remarriage of a divorcee is less controversial because the sovereign has no constitutional role in the Church of Scotland.  The Prince of Wales and Camilla did not choose this course.  

The Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla

The wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla took place on April 9, 2005 and, as previously mentioned, there were two ceremonies.  The civil ceremony took place at the Windsor Guildhall; the original date was delayed due to the funeral of Pope John Paul II to which the Prince of Wales attended as the representative of the Queen.    The civil ceremony was not opened to the public but was attended by the couple’s immediate families.  The couple’s two eldest sons from their previous marriages, Prince William and Tom Parker Bowles, were the formal witnesses.

The wedding ring Camilla were made from 22 carat Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine in Bontddu, this British Royal tradition dates back to 1923.  Wartski, a London jeweler who has held the Prince of Wales Royal Warrant since 1979, designed the wedding rings.  Camilla wears the wedding ring with her engagement ring on the same finger of her left hand.    

A second ceremony was held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and the Church of England Service of Prayer and Dedication was attended by 800 invited guests, this service was televised by the BBC.  Although the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were not present at the civil ceremony they did attend the church blessing. 

During the service, which was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prince Charles and Camilla read the act of penitence from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.  This was interpreted by the press as an unprecedented confessional from the couple for any past indiscretions thereby satisfying the public who were initially unhappy with the marriage of this couple with a controversial relationship. 

Immediately after the service was finished, Prince Charles and Camilla (now known as the named Duchess of Cornwall) exited St. George’s Chapel and were greeted by the people lined up outside. 

Later in the day the Queen hosted a reception at Windsor Castle in St. George’s Hall and the Waterloo Chamber.  It was noted that the Queen warmly congratulated the couple and Prince Charles gave a heartfelt toast to his new bride.  The entertainment at the reception included the St George’s Chapel Choir, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Russian soprano singer Ekaterina Semenchuk who performed a special song for the couple.

The wedding reception menu featured some of the finest British classic afternoon tea food which included sandwiches of smoked salmon, potted shrimp, and roast venison served with red currant and port jelly.  Sweet treats were also served including glazed fudge, strawberry tartlets and miniature scones with clotted cream and jam.  

The wedding cake was made by Etta Richardson; the square shaped two layer fruitcake measured 93 by 12 inches and weighed about 240 pounds.  The cake was soaked in brandy and then covered with white fondant and royal icing was used to create lattice work on the sides.  The Prince Charles Royal crest and the letter C to represent both Prince Charles and Camilla, sugar roses, leeks, daffodils and thistles were also used as decoration.  In comparison to other Royal wedding cakes, this one was considerably smaller in size but appropriate for a second wedding.

Following the wedding, Prince Charles and Camilla went to Birkhall in Scotland for their honeymoon.

For more information regarding the wedding dresses and bridal accessories of Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, please check back later. 

TV Weddings – Bridgerton

Since the premiere on Netflix in 2020, the Bridgerton television series has been very popular and in this post I will focus on the wedding of the two of the main characters, Simon Basset and Daphne Bridgerton (hence the title of the episode in which they get married, “The Duke and I”).  But first I would like to briefly discuss the Bridgerton television series which is based on the historical romance books of Julia Quinn.    

The Bridgerton television series

The Bridgerton television series on Netflix premiered on December 25, 2020 and it was created by Chirs Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes.  It is a Regency period drama based on the books by American author Julia Quinn, a collection of eight books that featured the children of Viscount Edmund and Violet Bridgerton – Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth.  The Bridgerton television series featured eight episodes in the first season which were based on Quinn’s first book in the Bridgerton series, “The Duke and I”, which was first published in 2015.

The eldest daughter, Daphne (played by Phoebe Dynevor), is making her debut into London society and at one of the balls she meets Simon Bassett, (played by Regé-Jean Page), the handsome friend of her brother.  Much like every debutante, the beautiful Daphne’s goal is to find a suitable husband and together the two devise a plan to attract more suitors for Daphne and deflect the unwanted attention the pushy debutante mothers away from Simon, who due to his unhappy childhood has no desire to marry.  They pretend an innocent courtship but things become complicated when they start to fall in love.  After a seemingly unfortunate scene in the garden at one of the balls, Daphne’s reputation is compromised and the two are forced into marriage. 

The wedding of Simon Bassett and Daphne Bridgerton

It is in the fifth episode of the television series that the wedding of Simon and Daphne. There are there are many details to accomplish with only a few short days to prepare for the wedding. So, Daphne and her mother visit the mantua (a French word used for a dressmaker in the late 17th century and 18th century) to make not only the wedding dress but also the bridal trousseau. 

Special Note: all the photos shown in this post are from the Bridgerton series on Netflix

With no time to wait the household staff of Bridgerton also set about preparing for the wedding.  Decisions pertaining to the wedding flowers and the reception menu are quickly decided and the massive wedding cake will take days to prepare.

Despite the haste of the wedding, the church is beautifully decorated with an abundance of white flowers and greenery with several large arrangements, floral displays covering the end of the pews and draping down from the upper level and white rose petals lining the aisle.  (Special Note: St Mary’s Church in Twickenham, England was used for the interior scene of the wedding ceremony)

Only Daphne’s family, Lady Danbury and Simon’s friends are in attendance for the small wedding ceremony.  Since her father had died several years earlier Daphne is escorted down the aisle by her eldest brother as Simon, the reluctant groom, waits at the front of the church. 

For her wedding day Daphne is wearing a beautiful flowing silk white dress featuring embroidered flowers and swirls. The dress has an empire waistline, puffed sleeves and a train, she is wearing a veil attached with a glittering tiara and long white gloves.  (Special Note: The material for the dress was sourced in Madrid, Spain by the Bridgerton costume designer, Ellen Mirojnick and she knew instantly that the lovely silk would be used for Daphne’s wedding)

Simon is wearing a black waistcoat, black pants, his customary boots, a white vest, white cravat and his mother’s unique green enamel diamond and emerald brooch which Simon wears throughout the series.  (Special Note: Wearing a sentimental piece of jewelry from a departed relative, be it a mother or father or grandparent, would be a wonderful way to honor them on a wedding day)   

The actual wedding ceremony shown on screen is very short in duration with a brief glimpse as the couple exchanges vows and the ring is placed on Daphne’s hand. 

Special Note: In the Georgian era, the betrothal ring signified the couple’s engagement indicating that the couple was committed to each other in the time leading up to the actual wedding, as referenced in the Julia Quinn book “The Duke and I”.  For the television series this was changed and the ring was given during the ceremony to add a modern or contemporary element.      

The gold wedding ring is very simple in design and features four pearls with a small diamond in the center and flanked by several red gemstones, perhaps rubies or garnets.  Shown below is a photo from episode seven which gives a good look at the ring as Daphne plays the piano.    

After the brief ceremony a small reception is held at the Bridgerton family home, seen in the opening scene of the series the house is beautifully draped with pale purple wisteria making it the perfect setting for a wedding.  (Special Note: The location used for the exterior of the Bridgerton house is the Ranger’s House located in Greenwich, previously known as Chesterfield House it dates back to 1720)

The wedding reception is shown taking place in the Bridgerton House Grand Hall, not a formal sit down dinner but food was laid out on tables covered with white linens and drinks were served by staff on silver trays.  The room is decorated with white floral arrangements and there is an impressive chandelier suspended from the high ceiling.  (Special Note: The interior scenes of the wedding were filmed on the Royal Air Force Station near Aylesbury in Buckinhamshire.  Halton House is a late 19th century county home that once belong to a member of the Rothschild family)   

The multi-tiered wedding cake for Daphne and Simon was the centerpiece of the reception and was displayed on a round table covered with white linen.  It was 4.5 feet tall with white icing and embellished with white chocolate figurines, floral accents and both the Bridgerton and Hasting crests to honor the bride and the groom.    

We catch a glimpse of the Bridgerton House Grand Staircase as Daphne exits the reception to change into her going away outfit.  While in her bedroom  her mother comes to have a brief and awkward talk regarding what to expect on the wedding night.      

At the end of the reception the Hasting carriage arrives to take Simon and Daphne to their honeymoon. 

The Bridgerton family has gathered in front of the house to say goodbye to Daphne and Simon.  (Notice that the third daughter, Eloise, is not there … she has mysteriously left London unbeknown to her family, but we will need to wait for another season of the series to find out what has happened to her or we can read the book, “To Sir Phillip, With Love” by Julia Quinn)

* Photos used in this post are credited to NetFlix.

Wedding ceremony – aisle decorations (Part One)

In general, aisle decorations are frequently added to a ceremony site to coordinate with the wedding style and also as a way of bringing color to a venue and in Part One of the Wedding Ceremony Aisle Decorations series I will discuss ideas ranging from simple to more elaborate designs.    I will offer suggestions ranging from traditional fabric aisle runners which are available in a variety of styles and colors to aisle runners.  I will also discuss the popular use of floral designs and candles to decorate the aisle of a ceremony site. 

Special Note:  Frequently at a wedding the center aisle of a ceremony site is reserved for only the bride and her attendants to walk down, sometimes the aisle will be roped off and the guests will be asked to use the side aisles to get to their seats and this is especially important when elaborate aisle decorations are used.


Aisle runners can serve a dual purpose for a wedding ceremony; the first practical reason is to protect the bride’s wedding dress from becoming soiled.  The second reason would be to incorporate design and sometimes color which can improve the aesthetics to a sometimes plain venues thus creating a beautiful and personalize style for a wedding ceremony site.

Special Note:  It is highly recommended that aisle runners be safely secured to avoid anyone from tripping.  Be sure to check with the wedding venue for advice on what type of method to use that would avoid any possible damage to the interior flooring or exterior ground. 

The most frequent used aisle decoration used for a wedding ceremony is an aisle runner and the common style being the use of a white material for a classic formal look.  Although inexpensive plastic white aisle runners are available, I would advise that when purchasing one it would be best to select one made of a heavier material aisle runner, sometimes ones are available with a non-slip backing.

A white material aisle runner is a great choice because it can be customized with a personal monogram and embellished with an edge of flower petals as shown in the photo below. 

An alternative material that is also a popular choice for an aisle runner is jute or burlap fabric which is often used for its durability.  This type of material would be great for a more informal outdoor wedding ceremony site such as a garden or on the beach. 

For a garden wedding the jute or burlap aisle runner
can be embellished with flower petals or leaves scattered along the edge.

For a beach wedding a jute or burlap aisle runner
can be accented with an assortment of seashells

A unique idea for an aisle runner would be a long rug such as the type used in the hallway of a home; this idea can be used for either an interior or exterior venue. 

In general, a long and narrow rug works best for a smaller wedding site with a shorter aisle length but additional rugs can also be used for longer aisles.

Special Note: These rugs can be a little pricey but a great advantage is that the rugs can be repurposed for use in the newlywed’s home after the wedding day! 


In recent years the use of flowers and greenery as an aisle decoration for a wedding ceremony has evolved from simple rose petals or leaves used to decorate the aisle runner to more elaborate styles involving beautiful floral petals arranged in an artistic way along the aisle to floral arrangements in large urns or floral arches to the use of potted plants and trees to decorate the aisle.

Perhaps the easiest use of floral petals or leaves would be to simply scatter them along the aisle runner, shown below is an example using leaves.

The next idea is to create an ombre effect by arranging floral petals in different shades of color ranging from light to dark.

In recent years a popular use of floral petals is an arrangement forming the initial of the bridal couple’s last name or a more intricate design creating a lovely pattern along the center aisle.  In the photos below, please also note the use of floral arrangements and floral arches which can also be used to decorate the start and/or end of an aisle as wedding ceremony decorations.   

Christine Bentley Photography

Potted floral arrangements or plants can be used for aisle decorations either for indoor or outdoor wedding ceremonies. Shown below are several examples using flowers placed in simple metal pails and boxwood plants placed in garden pots which would be perfect for a garden wedding ceremony, “seagrass” in a containers wrapped in burlap would be a great idea for a beach wedding ceremony.

Trees can also be used for aisle decorations either for indoor or outdoor wedding ceremonies. Shown below are several examples which feature trees of beautiful white flowers that would be a great idea for a spring or summer wedding ceremony and white bare branch trees which would look lovely at a winter wedding.

Special Note:  A great idea would to repurpose the potted plants or trees used at the wedding ceremony which can be later used at the home of the newlyweds as a sentimental reminder of their special day.  For the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton several English Maple trees were placed along the center aisle of Westminster Abbey for the wedding ceremony and then afterwards the trees were planted at the home of Prince Charles.  To view the photos of these trees before and after the ceremony, please click on the link to The Wedding Flowers of Prince William and Kate Middleton. 


For an indoor or outdoor evening ceremony candles used as aisle decoration can be beautiful and but would be especially lovely used to set a very romantic mood, shown below are several examples using glass cylinders, lanterns and tall candle holders decorated with floral arrangements.


Fabric draping for wedding aisle decorations can be used to create a lovely romantic style for a ceremony, shown below are several examples for both indoor and outdoor.

For additional ideas and suggestions, please click on Part Two of Wedding Ceremony Aisle Decorations which will focus on chair/pew decorations and more unique aisle decorations using items such as tree stumps, wine barrels and door panels. 

Theme Wedding – Delftware

At the beginning of this year Pantone released the 2020 color of the year and it was Classic Blue.  I wrote a post about using this color as inspiration and offered ideas and suggestion on creating a beautiful Blue Wedding, for more information please click on the link.  Delftware is known for its distinctive deep blue color known as Delft blue and it is very similar to the Pantone Classic Blue.  For this reason I thought I would discuss incorporating delftware style items into the design of a Classic Blue Wedding.   

Delftware is a very specific style of beautiful blue and white tin-glazed earthenware produced in Delft, Holland (hence the name!)  The evolution of the style began in Belgium where artisians were producing a type of pottery known as Majolica using techniques similar to those found in Spain and Italy during the 16th century.  After the Belgium potters relocated to Holland in the early 17th century they began to combine tin-glazed earthenware with painting techniques similar in style to the popular Chinese porcelain but instead of Asian themes the pottery was painted with Dutch landscapes with windmills and European floral patterns. 

Original Delftware items from Holland can be very expensive and hard to find.  If you are lucky, you can find Delftware items online directly from sources in Holland or in antique stores or through websites such as EBay.  Special Note: If you are selecting original delftware items for your wedding decorations please keep in mind that these pieces can be fragile and that there is always a potential risk for breakage.

Today, beautiful items are being produced that have the look of delftware but at much more affordable prices.  The delft style items available range from place settings which include dishes and glassware to serving pieces such as platters or cake stands to decorative pieces such as vases and figurines.  The delft style is also reproduced in fabric items such as tablecloths, napkins and pillows as well as paper products such as wedding invitations, place cards and menu cards.

delftware plate

Ceremony decorations

As I previously stated, delft style items would pair beautifully with a Classic Blue Wedding theme and could be used for either an indoor or outdoor wedding ceremony.  Shown below is a beautiful “tulip” vase that could be filled with flowers and placed on a white pedestal, I would definitely secure the vase with glue dots to keep it in place in case.  Another idea using the same vases would be to place them on the floor at the end of each row of chairs and fill with flowers to make a stunning aisle decoration for the wedding ceremony.  If the budget would not allow vases for every row, consider placing just a few vases along the aisle.  Special note: If you are concerned about guests tipping the vases or breakage, consider taking off the main aisle and have guests enter the row from the side.  

Tulip vase from Amazon

Reception decorations

Delftware style decorations would be wonderful incorporated into a Blue Wedding themed reception.  A lovely delft style vase could be filled with beautiful flowers for the reception guest tables and more vases could be placed on the guest book table or escort card table. 

Delftware vase from the royaldelft.com

Shown above is a delftware candlestick that could also be used on the guest tables

Shown above are delft style house tiles that could be used
for table numbers on the guest table at the wedding reception

Another idea for a simple white wedding cake is to use a small delftware vase filled with flowers would make a perfect cake topper, be sure to take into consideration the dimensions of the wedding cake because that would determine the size of the vase (also if the vase is too heavy it can sink into the cake!)

Shown below is delicious idea for another food item to serve at a wedding reception and these cookies were made to resemble delft style tiles.

Other wedding items

Delft jewelry would be a wonderful gift idea for the bride & groom and the bridesmaids & ushers.  Another idea that would make the presentation memorable would be to put the jewelry into a delftware box.

Delft necklace for the bride or bridesmaids

Delft cufflinks for the groom or ushers

Delftware will also make a wonderful gift for the bridal couple and shown below are two ideas, the first one is a commemorative plate that can be personalize with the bride and groom’s names and the wedding date and the second one is a wedding bell shaped Christmas ornament.

I hope that you enjoyed the ideas and suggestions
for incorporating delftware into a Blue Wedding.

Two Kennedy Weddings

This post is about two Kennedy weddings … the first wedding is Caroline Kennedy to Edwin Schlossberg and ten years later the second wedding is John F. Kennedy, Jr. to Carolyn Bessette.  But, before we start, let’s briefly discuss the immediate family of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline “Jackie” Bouvier Kennedy (later Onassis).

Many readers will remember the children of President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline from when they lived in the White House.  At the time of their father’s inauguration in January 1961 the children were very young and tragically, less than three years later President Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963.  (I have a very vivid image of young “John-John” saluting his father’s casket).  Sadly, John-John would celebrate his third birthday on the day of his father’s funeral and Caroline would turn six years old a few days later.

After leaving the White House and Washington D.C., Jackie moved her two children to New York City to raise them away from the glare of the public and the press.  Then five years later, with the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968 and Jackie’s subsequent marriage to Aristotle Onassis later that same year, the family would lead an even more closed life.  As the years passed, Caroline and John grew into well-behaved and responsible adults, graduating school and moving onto careers.

Sadly, Jackie lived to see only one of her children married.  Caroline wed Edwin Schlossberg in 1986.  The couple had three children; Rose born in 1988, Tatiana in 1990 and John in 1993.  In late 1993, Jackie was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and went through chemotherapy but the cancer spread to other parts of her body and she died on May 18, 1994.  Two years later, John Jr. married Carolyn Bessette in 1996.  Unfortunately, tragedy stuck the family again on July 16, 1999 when John Jr., Carolyn and her sister Laurel died in a plane crash.  Today, the last surviving member of the immediate family of President Kennedy is Caroline Kennedy was appointed as the ambassador to Japan in July 2013 by President Obama.

Wedding of Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg

Date: July 19, 1986  Place: Church of Our Lady of Victory in Centerville, Massachusetts

Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg met in 1981 when both were working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York.  Caroline had a job in the Film and Television Department and Ed was working as an exhibit designer.  The couple dated for several years and became engaged in March 1986 with a wedding set a few months later with most of the planning to be done by Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the mother of the bride.

The couple was married at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Centerville, Massachusetts. on July 19, 1986. (which was also the groom’s 41st birthday)  Many of the details of the wedding were keep secret in order to protect the privacy of the bridal couple.  It is known that there were 400 guests invited to the ceremony and the reception which followed at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port located six miles away from the church.  In addition to the numerous Kennedy family members and Schlossberg family there were several former aides of the Kennedy presidential administration; such as Arthur Schlesinger, Theodore Sorensen, Dave Powers and John Kenneth Galbraith.

Security was tight on the day of the wedding and that morning a crowd of 2,000 people had gathered in the small town on the streets outside the church.  Caroline, who was 28 years old, arrived with Senator Edward Kennedy, her beloved uncle that would escort her down the aisle.  John Kennedy Jr., the brother of the bride, was the best man and Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger, her cousin, was the matron of honor.  (The photos below show the bridal party arriving at the church, one photo taken just before the ceremony was to start shows Caroline gestured for the crowd to be quiet!)

Caroline collaborated with Carolina Herrera to design her wedding dress.  The white silk organza dress featured a round neck, short sleeves, a full skirt flowing into a twenty-five foot train and a long bodice covered with embroidered white shamrocks, which were the bride’s sentimental tribute to her father’s Irish ancestry.  On her head the bride wore a large bow with a long tulle veil attached, she wore carried a small bouquet of white phaleonopsis orchids and she “borrowed” diamond and pearl earring which had original been a gift from her father to her mother.  The groom wore a Willi Smith navy blue linen suit, a silver tie and a boutonniere of stephanotis.  The matron of honor and seven bridesmaids wore white and lavender floral print dress with wreaths cornflower bouquets and more cornflowers in their hair and the two flower girls wore white organdy pinafore dresses with pale blue sashes, cornflowers were President Kennedy’s favorite flowers. The best man and ten ushers wore blue linen blazers, white linen trousers, gray linen ties and cornflower boutonnieres.  The mother of the bride looked lovely wearing a pale green crepe dress with long sleeves and a narrow skirt designed by Herrera and long white gloves.

For the wedding ceremony, the inside of the church was decorated simply with several potted bay trees behind the altar and around the church, as well as floral arrangements of delphinium, white lilies, cornflowers and Queen Anne’s lace.  Across the altar was a garland of oak leaves and small bunches of wild roses and honeysuckle were tied on the pews.  After the service, Caroline and Ed exited the church, briefly posed for photographs and then left for the reception in a silver limousine.  John Jr. blew his sister a kiss from the steps of the church and standing nearby Jackie held back tears as she clung onto the arm of Ted Kennedy.

The wedding reception was held at the oceanfront home of the bride’s 95 year old grandmother in Hyannis Port.  Under a large white tent decorated with blue pennants the wedding dinner menu included cold pea soup with mint, vegetable vinaigrette, roast chicken with rice, beef sirloin.  The wedding cake was a four-tiered yellow cake with a chocolate filling and white icing which was served with a vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.  At the reception there were several toasts but perhaps the most poignant moment was when John Jr. raised is glass and said, “It’s been the three of us for so long … and now there is a fourth” and then he warmly welcomed Ed to the family.  To end the evening there was a wonderful fireworks display.  Later Caroline and Ed left for their honeymoon in Hawaii and Japan.  

(Shown below is a more recent photo of Caroline Kennedy and Ed Schlossberg)

Caroline and John10

Wedding of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette

Date: September 21, 1996  Place: Brack Chapel on Cumberland Island, Georgia

John F. Kennedy and Carolyn Bessette first met in 1992.  After they began dating in 1994, the good looking couple was photographed constantly and every detail of their relationship was reported in the press while the couple tried to live their lives quietly in the Tribeca loft that they had moved into in the summer of 1995.  By this time, John had left his job as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office to begin a career as the co-owner and editor of “George” magazine.  John’s goal for the magazine, which would focus on politics, was to present topics in an entertaining way which would create public interest and subsequent involvement in the political process.  At the time that Carolyn met John, she had been working for Calvin Klein but she later left her position with the company shortly after their engagement.          

John managed to keep his wedding to Carolyn a complete secret from the intrusive press by marrying on the exclusive Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia on September 21, 1996.  The ceremony took place in the evening at the tiny wooden structure known as the Brack Chapel of the First African Baptist Church attended by only 40 guests who included the immediate families of the bridal couple and a few close friends, a reception immediately followed the wedding ceremony at the Greyfield Inn also located on Cumberland Island.

The wedding officiant was Reverend Charles O’Byrne who had traveled from the St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church in Manhattan to perform the ceremony.  Since the service took place in the evening and because the small church had no electricity, the inside was light by candles and kerosene lamps.  A small wooden stand served as the altar and it was decorated with greenery, the only other decoration was a cross made from two pieces of wood tied together with rope.  The ceremony was very short with several members of the bridal couple’s families giving scripture readings, also “Amazing Grace” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” hymns were performed by gospel singer David Davis.

The beautiful bride worked with the relatively new designer, Narcisco Rodriquez, in creating a “pearl white” silk crepe biased-cut floor-length gown which she wore with a tulle silk veil and long silk gloves, she wore beaded sating Manolo Blahnik sandals.  Carolyn wore her hair in a simple bun at the nape of her neck and attached a tulle silk veil with a “borrowed” clip that once belonged to the groom’s deceased mother, Jackie Kennedy Onassis.  Carolyn carried a lily of the valley bouquet.   

The handsome groom wore a Gordon Henderson dark blue wool single-breasted suit with a white pique vest and a pale blue tie.  Much like his sister did 10 years earlier; the groom honored his father, President John F. Kennedy, by wearing his wristwatch.  Anthony Radziwill, the groom’s cousin, was the best man and Caroline Kennedy, the groom’s sister, was the matron of honor and she wore a navy blue crepe silk gown designed by Narcisco Rodriquez.  Jack Schlossberg, the groom’s nephew, was the ring bearer and Rose and Tatiana Schlossberg, the groom’s nieces, were flower girls and they wore tea-length white linen dresses.

After the wedding ceremony, the bridal couple and their guests went to Greyfield Inn for a reception.  The dinner menu featured shrimp, artichokes and grill swordfish.  The wedding cake was a three tiered whit cake with vanilla butter cream frosting decorated with flowers.  They couple later honeymooned in Turkey and had a ten day cruise on the Aegean Sea aboard the “Althea”.

In the years following the wedding, John and Carolyn were constantly scrutinized in the press and frequently photographed as a glamourous couple attending functions in both New York City and sometimes Washington D.C.  The fashionable Carolyn has a distinct classic minimalist style and she was often compared to her mother-in-law, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who she had unfortunately never met before the former First Lady’s death in 1994.   The photo below shows the couple in May 1999.

John and Carolyn

Sadly on July 16, 1999 John, Carolyn and her sister Lauren died in a plane crash over the Atlantic Ocean while on route to Martha’s Vineyard.  John had been the pilot of the small plane and it was later determined that the probable cause of the tragic accident was “pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night most likely the result of spatial disorientation”.  The bodies were eventually recovered a few days later and on July 22 a memorial service took place aboard a Naval ship, USS Briscoe, and their ashes were scattered into the waters off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

In the end, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg is the only living member of President John Kennedy immediate family, the last link to the fabled modern day Camelot.

If you are interested in more detailed information on the Wedding of John Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier, please click on the link. For additional information of other Weddings of U.S. Presidents, pleas click on the link to Part One And Part Two.