Local Wedding Custom

Age of Emotion: Local Wedding Custom, 1804 : Wedding photographs

Read about the celebrations planned to mark the nuptials of James and Elizabeth Baxter of Lorton

These newspaper advertisements were commonly placed in West Cumberland to announce the wedding celebrations of local newlyweds in the early 1800s. They knew how to party!

These traditional gatherings were 'bidden weddings' or 'bridewains', which saw invitations being extended to the whole community. Custom had it that the church ceremony was followed by a foot or horse race back to the bridal house, where all manner of events, such as wrestling and leaping contests, would then take place.

Wedding photographs

These photographs capture 2 very different West Cumbrian weddings.

Earlier, in the middle of the nineteenth century, a West Cumbrian sailor (left) took a young bride. Although the staged portrait does not capture the joy of a marriage, you may note the newlyweds are holding hands.

A family is gathered at Haverigg Hall for the photograph (below) to record the wedding of a young couple about 1905. All are in their best attire, and wearing flowers for the occasion. The ladies sport some fine hats!