Set the right date for the big day

Changes in the world of work led to Vic­to­ri­ans choos­ing spring or sum­mer wed­dings

BBC History Magazine - - Victorian Weddings -

Wed­ding hours were ex­tended to 3pm to re­flect the work­ing hours of the lower classes

5 In­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and the move to less sea­son­ally de­pen­dent work meant late spring and sum­mer emerged as pop­u­lar times to marry. But older pat­terns pre­vailed in ru­ral ar­eas that were still tied to the agri­cul­tural cal­en­dar. In Northamp­ton­shire, for ex­am­ple, July (an es­pe­cially busy time) was the least pop­u­lar month to marry, while Oc­to­ber was the most.

Sun­day – the one day of leisure for work­ers – was the most usual one for wed­dings, par­tic­u­larly in ur­ban ar­eas. Only in the mid­dle of the cen­tury did the prac­tice emerge of giv­ing work­ers an ex­tra half-day off each week, and Satur­day be­came the most pop­u­lar day. Un­til 1886, wed­dings had to take place be­tween 8am and noon. These hours were then ex­tended to 3pm to re­flect both the work­ing hours of the lower classes and the chang­ing so­cial habits of the up­per classes.

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