WW1 romances and the 'hasty weddings' scare - Telegraph
Apr 27, Before dating came into the picture, "courtship" and "calling" were conducted with the express goal of marriage. It was a family affair, as callers. Oct 28, A happy couple pass under an arch of Lewis guns as they leave a church following their wedding in April Photo: GETTY IMAGES. Jun 30, Introduction and disclaimer: In today's society (speaking from a The next two entries will talk about love, courtship, marriage, sex and . Then there was the having to be back by ten o'clock which made every date like Cinderella's ball, .. British History · Uncategorized · Updates and others · World War 1.
However, courtship also depended on the type of work; while those who worked in factories and shops had more time to meet other people, those who were in service did not have the same advantage. Long hours and less time off meant that those who worked as maids, footmen, and kitchen staff did not have the same opportunities as a ship builder or shop assistant to pursue relationships that could blossom into love and eventually marriage. It was even harder for those who were at the top rung of the service hierarchy.
Marriage was the goal of nearly every woman servant. There was no status in being in service, you were a nobody; marriage was the way out of it.
Parents were consulted on the choice of spouse and fathers were asked and either gave permission or refuse a man to marry their daughter. Even those who for reasons of work lived away from home, informed their parents of a suitor through letter and if there was a proposal, the young woman would take her suitor home where permission would be sought and when consent was given resulted in an engagement and the reading of the banns in the run up to the wedding.
The main criteria for selecting a spouse were more or less uniform across all the classes. Apart from the usual requisites such as health and religion, the most important were family, respectability and the ability to provide. Family and respectability went hand in hand, for the upper and middle classes, where marriage was a matter of consolidating and furthering status and wealth.
One of the factors taken into account when agreeing to an intended marriage was the conduct of the parents, siblings and the rest of the extended family of the intended spouse — having a black sheep who had disgraced the family one way or the other could be enough grounds for consent to be refused.
Money or at least the ability to provide was another important factor. Since women generally were not expected to work, it was important that the man had sufficient income, a good job or excellent career prospects in order to maintain a wife and family in a comfortable lifestyle. Even for the working classes where women sometimes did work even after marriage, a man who earned more than his wife and had good career and promotion prospects was seen as desirable.
In 19th century Britain, for those with land, money, titles or money to think about, marriage was almost always a business proposition between families rather than a romantic love match.
Love was seen as a bonus if the couple happened to like each other from the beginning or grow to love each other after the wedding. People had varying expectations about love and many parents and even grandparents saw it as their duty to impart advice, sometimes based on their own personal experience.
10 Fascinating Facts About the Evolution of Dating and Courtship | Mental Floss
Queen Victoria, who was grand enough to ignore the rules that governed royal marriages on the Continent wrote to her granddaughter Princess Victoria of Hesse about the importance of marrying for the right reasons: There is another most important thing wh you are quite old enough for me to speak and write to you about.
Other parents pointed out the importance of falling in love with head as well as with heart, cautioning that passion was not enough to sustain a marriage. It is not really, because the affection that is inspired by the judgement is a much higher and more lasting affection than that which merely depends on the passions.
For the working class such niceties were not observed, many simply announced that they were getting married and the ceremony followed not long after. There was the marriage settlement which could be the most contentious issuethe planning of the ceremony and reception, the obtaining of the licence, purchasing the bridal trousseau and presents for the bridal attendants — all of which could prove to be a financial burden.
The bridal trousseau itself could be a problem; this usually involved shopping trips to London and Paris for dresses, gowns, hats, accessories, gloves, shoes and underwear. Canny girls and their mothers would cut down on costs such as asking for a discount from a leading couturier usually the House of Worth or buying one or two expensive gowns with the rest bought off the peg or done by a local dress maker.
Wedding presents for the couple began arriving before the wedding and were displayed for the benefit of the family and the guests. The engagement was then announced and as it was common in those days, there was a short period between the engagement and wedding as the idea of a long engagement was frowned upon.
Another factor in the undesirability was that long engagements can sometimes end in disaster; the received wisdom was it was preferable to have a long courtship followed by a short engagement. Even so several couples had to contend with long engagements owing to several factors such as work, travel and lack of money many couples of whatever class used the long engagement to save up in order to have an acceptable nest egg necessary to set up home.
Marriages often took place during the end of the Season before the various families returned to their estates for the various shooting parties, with March and May being the most unpopular months for weddings owing to the Church frowning on marriage ceremonies taking place during Lent and the latter marking the beginning of the Season.
While Queen Victoria popularised the wearing of white as a bride, the custom did not take root immediately. For many families, the white gown was an extravagance they could not afford and many young women chose to get married in their Sunday best. Those who could afford to purchase a white wedding gown made sure that it was designed so it could be worn again either as a Sunday best or for formal dinners, balls and other events. Orange blossoms which symbolised chastity became popular as wedding headdresses but again owing to the expense and unavailability outside its season, artificial versions became popular and one that could be handed down from generation to generation.Courtship, Dating and Marriage
Also contrary to popular belief, majority of the weddings during the late 19th and early 20th century were not lavish affairs. Even the upper classes disdained the idea of huge and profligate weddings and as a result they tended to be simple affairs held in the village church or the house chapel with a small reception afterwards.
For landed families however, the celebrations would continue for a few days as receptions for the servants, tenants and villagers would be held and the bride and groom would be obliged to attend to receive the felicitations of the guests. Honeymoons were also not the same as they are now. For many couples, it involved a simple trip to the seaside while others did go on trips abroad or visit relatives who were unable to attend the wedding.
The latter was a common practice among the upper classes and a blessed relief especially if the marriage was an arranged one and the couple had little in common and barely knew each other; it was unsettling, but a time of great excitement. Once the honeymoon was over, it was time to begin married life and thoughts would naturally turn towards starting a family. As wives, they now faced a break with their old home and family to now being mistress and chatelaine of their own household, a daunting task especially if the new wife was young.
This responsibility was not just also confined to running a household but also to see to the wellbeing of her family as Queen Victoria advised her own daughter Princess Victoria who married the Crown Prince of Prussia in I have looked on the blessed day which united me to your beloved and perfect Papa — as the cause not only of my own happiness a happiness few if any enjoy but as the one which brought happiness and blessings on this country!
You have also the blessing of a dear, kind, excellent husband who loves you tenderly devotedly. Let it be your study and your object to make his life and his home a peaceful and happy one and to be of use to him and be a comfort to him in every possible way.
Holy and intimate is this union of man and wife as no other can be, and you can never give your parents more happiness and comfort than when they know and see that you are a truly devoted, loving and useful wife to your dear husband.
It is important to note that for young women from high to low, marriage represented the first step of freedom away from being chaperoned all the time and the lack of privacy accorded to them under the parental home.
With the dearth of any other options and the opportunities to pursue careers denied to them, in the end it was all about getting married.
Marriage was something to aspire to; it gave men and women the chance to move away from the parental home and set up their own household.
The idea of marriage as freedom for instance was one reason why Diana Mitford was engaged at the end of her first season to Bryan Guinness, the oldest son of the politician Walter Guinness. If two people were of different social classes, the person from the higher social class could choose to ignore the other. Marriage outside of social class was discouraged. The courting couple was not allowed to touch until after engagement and even then it was limited.
The couple was allowed some alone time while engaged, but only for things like going for a walk.
WW1 romances and the 'hasty weddings' scare
They were also permitted to hold hands and might even sneak a kiss from time to time. An honorable man never broke an engagement. Marriage A wartime bride and groom A typical engagement lasted anywhere from six months to two years. Many marriages were not the result of love. Instead they were a sort of business deal that protected both parties from scandal or ensured their financial futures.
World War One necessitated the speeding up of many courtships. Soldiers married their sweethearts while on leave or before departing for the front. Other soldiers met and married women from foreign countries.
At the end of the war, for example, Canada transported home approximatelysoldiers and members of the medical corps along with 54, wives and children. In Great Britain, the war left a surplus of two million more women than men. This cruel realty forced a large percentage of women to abandoned their hopes and dreams of love, marriage and children. Only one in 10 would marry. The rest lived lives of solitude and loneliness or became lesbians.