Victorian Wedding Cockades

What's more fun than a friend's wedding? A friend's Victorian wedding!

My friend Teri Grace and her husband Andy recently celebrated their 30th anniversary with a vow renewal ceremony in the style of a Victorian wedding. Miss Teri Grace asked me to make some Victorian wedding cockades for the party. And that's where my fun began!

Queen Victoria's gift to her bridesmaids 
Are Wedding Cockades Historical?
Indeed they are! Queen Victoria gave her bridesmaids jeweled pins on cockades for a wedding gift. And when her son Edward married the Princess Alexandra in 1863, people all over the nation celebrated with wedding cockades!

One of those cockades is now in my collection and I wrote a Cockade Column about the cockade and the royal wedding.

Wedding Favor from Prince Edward
and Princess Alexandra's Wedding in 1863
But the custom of having white satin cockades at a wedding is much older than Queen Victoria's era.

A 115-year-old article in The Genealogical Magazine explains, "The Cnotadh ban, literally meaning a bouquet or plume of white ribbons, is the decoration with which the young women of Munster adorn their hair or head-dress on weddings or other festive occasions, and we have a survival of this custom in our present-day wedding favours." 

This Scottish tradition pre-dates the Jacobite Rising of 1745. An old gaelic poem refers to this tradition - I'll give you the translated version:

"O brown-haired maiden of the plume so white,
I am sick and dying for thy love; 
Come then with me, and ease my pain, 
For I dearly love you, and your White Cockade."

A late-1800s wedding cockade from
the collection of Jeannie Rucker
Charles Dickens also made a side-reference to the tradition of wedding cockades by remarking that a marriage was not traditional without "white satin favours, orange flowers, Malines lace, and bride cake."

Re-Living Tradition
Teri Grace and Andy decided to recreate these wedding cockade traditions at their vow renewal.

Guests were given cockades decorated with a fleur de lis (their family heritage symbol) as mementos. Those involved in the ceremony itself were given special cockades designating their role. And just for fun, many of the ladies in the wedding party decided to wear Victorian shoe rosettes as well.

 Miss Teri Grace's dress was inspired by Princess Alexandra's 1863 gown, and she wore a special bridal cockade at her sash. Here is a bit of "eye candy" from the wedding for you to enjoy!

The bride descends the stairs as her junior bridesmaids hold up her trailing veil

A close-up of the bride's cockade

Some of the fun shoe rosettes worn by the bridal party!

Bride and groom's grand entrance
Notice the saber-bearers' cockades

Every guest received a cockade as a memento

If you need some cockades for your Victorian wedding, just let me know! Contact me at

1 comment:

  1. Victorian vow renewal ceremony!! It’s quite unique but very interesting at the very same time. Your idea of organizing a Victorian wedding ceremony is spectacular! I haven’t heard about such wedding ceremony before this one. But really loving the idea dear!!