Instead she would wear her best gown and kirtle , or even a new gown if the money was available. The gown would cover most of the body and would be full length. A cloak was used as an outer garment. Velvet, Satins and Corduroy were costly and therefore worn by the nobility. Although the vast majority of the body was covered it was permissible for dresses to have plunging necklines. A necklace was often worn which drew even more attention to a woman's breasts. The necks and cuffs of gowns were decorated with silk or linen ruffs. The hair was often worn loose as a symbol of purity.
Elizabethan Wedding Clothes - The Wedding Dress of the Lower Class
The wedding garments belonging to the majority of brides were generally made from Flax, Cotton and wool. Colours came in a variety of different shades: red, blue, greens, white, grey, black, orange and tan. Corsets were occasionally worn but any additional undergarments were rarely heard of. A shift, or chemise, would also be worn beneath the gown. Fresh flowers were central to the clothing. The bride would wear flowers in her hair and they would also adorn her gown. Unmarried girls were allowed to wear there hair loose but once married it had to be hid beneath a bonnet. Wealthy brides had garments which were adorned with jewels and gold and silver thread. It was also traditional to carry a bouquet. A bride would have bridesmaids and these would be similarly attired.
Elizabethan Wedding Clothes - The Bridegrooms Wedding Attire
The Bridegroom wore his best clothes which consisted of a doublet, breeches, hose, box pleated neck ruff and a cod piece. A cloak might also be worn and a pair of boots. Elizabethan men usually wore a short shift as an undergarment. Velvet, Satins and Corduroy were costly and therefore worn by the nobility. The garments belonging to the common man were generally made from Flax, Cotton and wool. Colours came in a variety of different shades: red, blue, greens, yellow, white, grey, black, orange and tan . The colour of yellow would not be chosen for a wedding - it was a sign of mourning. A bridal procession would move from the family's house to the church. This was a particularly festive event and the procession would be accompanied by musicians.
Elizabethan Marriage and Wedding Customs - The Tradition of Bride lace
The tradition of wearing streamers, flowers and ribbons, called Bride lace, was followed by Elizabethans. These were described by people of the Elizabethan era as follows:
“…all the lusty lads and bold bachelors of the parish, suitably every wight with his blue buckram bridelace upon a branch of green broom (‘cause rosemary is scant there) tied on his left arm ...the bride cup…adorned with a beautiful branch of broom…from which two broad bridelaces of red and yellow buckram begiled…”
(Laneham’s accounts of a country wedding 1575)