Karen Seymour recently emailed me copies of several early 1920s
wedding dress and group photos
in her possession, they were taken
in Melbourne, Australia. Some of these old wedding photos belonged to her Great Aunt
Esther Prosser who was also a bridesmaid at two weddings. However, this page shows
an earlier wedding
photo of 1920 that also belonged to Esther although she is not in the image.
Esther who lived to be 91 will be shown in other old photos on the 1924 wedding
This wedding took place 2
years after the 1914-18 First World War and has a known date of July 1920.
The wedding took place in Melbourne Australia and is of Clarence Dundas Seymour and Letitia
Gertrude Henderson Clayton Marr.
The wedding party comprises the
bride Letitia's 3 sisters, Jean, Ida and Adelaide, her brother Leslie
(standing at right) and her friend Grace Perry (seated on right). The
groomsman behind the bridegroom is Clarence's brother Brian.
Note the bridal bouquet -
The bouquet is interesting in that the flower styling is quite
naturalistic for the era. I know little of Australian flowers, but
suspect the main delicate bloom is a fragile flower. It has the appearance
of a cross between a lisianthus and a pastel poppy.
Somewhat unfortunately, the horseshoe carried by the bride is
hanging upside down. To keep the luck forever the silver wedding horseshoe
should always be carried by ribbons hung from the horseshoe shoulders.
Superstition says that if hung the wrong way the marriage good luck will
fall out of the wedding horseshoe.
The bridal headdress
Letitia wears is in keeping with styles of the late
teens and 1920s.
One other factor in dating old photos of this era is to look closely at
In this case the bridesmaids wear two distinctive
styles of 1920s headband.
Of course the one photo most people find in old shoeboxes of photos is
the wedding photo, so being able to date the bridal dress adds to you
armoury of dating the image.
These 1920's wedding dress styles below date from
1920 to 1923 and may also help you date an image. Note all the headdresses which
all have the similar mobcap features.
Note that the dresses are actually quite long for 1920s dresses, but
that is because even day-dresses were long in the early 1920s.
several style and silhouette similarities between the shorter dresses of the
bride and the Maid of Honour. The necklines and loose sleeve cut give a synergy to the
bridal group. The clear visibility of the ankle on both adult women is
also in keeping with silhouettes of the 1920's wedding fashion of the era.
These 1920 wedding dress silhouettes also comply well with other bridal fashion history images shown also on the
1922 wedding pages.
Note carefully the above ankle length of the dresses, the deep hem of
the bride's wedding dress, and the deep
wide tucks creating a texturally interesting border on the dress worn by
the Maid of Honour.
Tucks and deep hems
were sometimes joined with hemstitching, lace inserts, withdrawn threads, or
picot stitches. The deep hems, contrast fabric hems and tucks are a feature of early 1920s dresses.
ways were devised to piece extra lengths of contrast fabric or lace to a
lower skirt. Faggotting (shown right) between two pieces of fabric
would have been a great way to introduce extra fabric length in a
The hemline styling is also
another way of expressing mistrust of the latest fashion length. The
hesitant fashionista of any era often adopts in-between safer looks,
which then finds its way into mainstream fashion, such as the
handkerchief hemline of the mid
The depth of the 1920's wedding dress hem in the photograph left is such that one wonders if the
wedding gown was shortened at the last minute to give it the latest
stylish edge. However, one suspects that a prudent seamstresses declined to
cut the vast hem away in case the dress would be used by another bride
at a later date, when dresses were again floor length.
is fair to say that after the teens the hemlines on dresses did rise and
fall with regularity. The 1920 wedding dress sketches above right show
how calf length gentle puffball and tiered styles were also the mode.
Everywoman's Magazine, a periodical of the fashion history era,
featured a bridal article in the December 1920 edition. Two of the images
below left and centre are taken from it. The bridal sketch far right below
is also from a Good Housekeeping October 1920 magazine. These dress styles are clearly
the latest fashion looks and show a narrowing and leanness to the skirt
Everywoman's also commented on the wearing of 'Bridal White'
compared to choosing a light bright colour and stated :-
"A white dress for the bride is more or less
traditional, and it is very infrequent that one has the courage to break
away from the custom.
However a Society bride of a few weeks back was
venturesome enough to go to the alter in peacock blue. The dress was
designed on the usual stately lines that wedding gowns follow, and had a
magnificent train of cloth of silver lined with blue ninon. Silver leaves
held the bridal veil of blue tulle.
It was a startling innovation and I must confess that
the result was extraordinarily effective."
Women were also given advice on the Trousseau and especially on the
correct suits, collared coats and dresses for every possible occasion.
This suit, coat and three dresses below were typical of trousseau wear,
and were taken from December 1920 Everywoman's magazine.
Elements found within everyday dress styles can be an important
indicator of the date of an image. Using female dress as the guide is
often the fastest way to date an image since male dress often seems to
move more slowly especially a hundred years ago.
Old family photos are often a total mystery to those who end up owning them.
So it is well worth making records of identification of people in images
before all relatives pass away. Older siblings may be more
knowledgeable than younger siblings, so when you
have opportunity to see relatives, ask about old pictures, and make notes of names and dates on the back of those old photos.
Consider making a CD of all your family photos and enclosing them with
birthday or Christmas cards.
In an era when many of us live in affluent countries, such a thoughtful
item can bring enormous pleasure in a way that expensive gifts cannot.
We all need to know our roots and genealogy can be a fascinating hobby.
1920 Facts and Events
On April 3, 1920 F. Scott Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre.
Clara Bow the 20s film
star and Gilbert Roland were romantically linked, but their
relationship did not blossom into marriage.
One novel wedding invitations idea, was to print the cards in the
shape of a 33 gramophone record; the phonograph having just become the
Large wedding bouquets were in fashion, with orchids, gardenias,
lilies and maybe even ostrich feathers being popular.
Life expectancy was only 55 back then in the 1920s.
For more information about Wedding Photos click below:-
Old photos can be useful when tracing family members and narrowing down
search dates. These photo pages may help you put an era to your
If you have old wedding photos please send them to me and if suitable I will
add them to this pictorial section of social history.
OLD WEDDING PHOTOS
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