June is the traditional month for weddings. In an
agrarian society, a June wedding meant a winter
pregnancy, leaving the wife/mother free and able to
help with spring planting and fall harvesting. Do
any of our readers know of this reason for June
The traditional white wedding gown began with
Queen Victoria of England. She refused to wear the
usual somber black, blue, or brown colors others
chose. The fabrics were fine silk, satins, or
taffetas but, always dark.
A wedding tradition of the 19th century involved
quilts. Before a girl could be married she had to
make 13 quilts—12 for everyday use and one bride’s
quilt which would be displayed on very special
occasions. It would be either a very intricately
stitched top, an appliquéd quilt, or a whole cloth
white spread. Sometimes, rarely, the bride’s quilt
was designed by her fiancé. After her quilt was
finished the pattern was destroyed because it
belonged only to "them."
When the thirteen quilt tops were finished the
soon-to-be bride would hold a Quilting Bee and
friends would come for all-day quilting to finish
her quilts. This would be the official engagement
announcement. However, since fabric was very costly,
the backing and interlining were not purchased until
there was no doubt a wedding would occur.
Other accounts of this quilt tradition inform us
that friends could help quilt the everyday covers,
but the bride’s quilt must be done by the girl
getting married. Another rule was that she must
quilt it in a specified time, finishing the night
before her wedding day. One historian states that
all quilts must be finished by the bride-to-be. She
would start making her "trousseau" quilts
as soon as her beau proposed. It was considered bad
luck to start her quilts before a marriage proposal.
The engagement would last until all of her quilts
were finished. This historian did not say a specific
number of quilts had to be made.
Some bride’s quilts have survived until the
21st century and are now museum pieces. Most are
very elaborate with flowers, birds, vines, and
cottages. Some include figures of a man and a woman
in typical wedding attire. One, maybe more, have
included only the figure of a woman and a black
square where the man would be. One can only
speculate on the reason. A few bride’s quilts have
been found with a wide black border, making it a
mourning quilt. No one knows who added the border,
when it was added, or who was deceased.
If quilts could only talk.