🍒TALES FROM MY RESEARCH and TRAVELS WITH CERISE!
Dowries! How big could they be? How small?
As large as a father’s generosity and prosperity or as tiny, a bride’s dowry was a moveable feast. A few, such as that of the daughter of the Duke of Marlborough (c. 1719), could be as large as 6,000 pounds with a yearly jointure of 800 pounds. This plus property could signal quite an alliance that kept control of large swaths of land in the extended family.
A tiny dowry could mean the difference between life and death, providing food and clothing for an impoverished couple—and little for a daughter of that union.
Usually a father paid for the wedding, the party or breakfast if any, and the trousseau, if any. Wealthy fathers often gave their daughters ample new wardrobes and accoutrements for their new home. Less prosperous fathers gave little or nothing.
But the settlement of money and any other items such as land was negotiated by the bride’s father with the groom’s and perhaps the groom, himself.
After the wedding, the (hopefully happy) couple were to take a few days or weeks in a honeymoon. Afterward, they were to return and call upon certain others in town or in their social sphere.
So much of weddings then are so similar to ours now!
Here, the drawing of Princess Charlotte's wedding to the Prince Leopold of Belgium (1816) and her actual wedding gown!