1800s-themed wedding - I need help!

I’m going to a “theme wedding”. That is, not just the bride & groom will be dressed according to a theme, but they have also extended the challenge to all the invited guests. About the theme-part, the invitation reads:

“Theme: Nostalgia. Let your imagination take you back to the 1800s, or come dressed as you would in 2011.” (so yes, it is actually optional).

I have been asked to and accepted to be the toastmaster of said wedding. Obviously, this implies I have to follow the theme-idea faithfully. And I intend to! But how?

I need some help. I am hereby enlisting the knowledgeable participants of the SDMB Cafe Society (or otherwhere, threadwise, if moved), to help me out with my attire for that very special night. Here are some bullet points:


[li] What is an appropriate costume/outfit for a toastmaster, staying true to the 1800s-theme? The wedding takes place in Norway, by the way, but don’t let that bridle your imagination - I know the bride and groom very well, and their motivation for the theme is that they enjoy the Victorian era. Well, at least she does. You know…[/li]
[li] At big royal/ceremonial/whatever occasions, there’s this cliché-guy standing at the entrance with a huge cane that he bangs to the floor announcing every guest. I won’t be doing that job at the wedding (noone will, I guess), but what’s the title of that job? It is similar enough that many people will get the association if I could match the outfit. Knowing the title and job description of that dude would help my already lacking google-fu immensely…[/li]
[li] I am willing to spend quite a bit on a costume. Of course even I have my limits, but don’t let it be a hindrance to your imagination. I don’t want something that looks like a halloween-costume, I want something that has proper quality and doesn’t look too “cheap”. I expect and and suppose to have to have something custom made and delivered to me, according to my exact measurements. The wedding is at the end of May, so I still have some time.[/li][/ul]

So, in short, I need help with:
[li] Ideas for the costume?[/li][li] Links to places that make such costumes?[/li][li] Other good ideas?[/li][li] Cutting down on bullet-pointing?[/li][/ul]

You want to look up Dickensian, I reckon. Great coats and top hats. I think you’re imagining 1600s-1700s with powder wigs and lacy cuffs, but the era you want isn’t too different to today.

Start growing those mutton chops today! :smiley:

Think American Revolution/Madness of King George/Dangerous Liaisons, and then take it a notch darker and with less lace and trim. No long pants yet, still breeches for formal events (young hipsters were showing off “trousers” during the day, but a wedding wouldn’t be the place) with tights under. Long coats with lots of buttons. Stocks or cravats around the neck (you’re in luck, attached collars were the norm during this period). A vest or waistcoat which isn’t too long - the fashionable cut ended at about the navel, and goes straight across, without a curve or notch. Everything was high collared, stiff collars which framed the jawline, and most of the waistcoats and overcoats double breasted. Shirts, white, without exception.

If all that was too wordy, just look hereand here. :wink:

GuanoLad and WhyNot, thanks a lot - I will check out your leads more thoroughly tomorrow.

I also forgot to say that I of course will post photos of the result from the event if it should be of interest!

Which part of the 19th century ? 1810, 1860 and 1890 differ as much between as do their equivalent eras 100 years on.

Yes what period. A hundred years is a lot of styles. You probably are not looking for a settlers style either and more of an already developed area in the USA or are you thinking of a different country?

I’d take it by the wording of the invitation that it’s open to the entire century. It says “1800s”. Since the OP seems jazzed by the flamboyant, I suggest he stick to the earlier half. :wink:

I don’t think it really matters. Whatever looks the least like 2011 would be my best choice. And whatever makes the 100 or so guests think “wow, that guy really nailed the nostalgia thing”. Bonus points if they also think “I want to buy that guy a drink” :stuck_out_tongue:

/me points up at the 1800s date, not 18th century date. Dangerous Liasons is set in the late 1600s … and the American Revolution is in the 1700s. At least Regency [madness] is 1800s [19th century]

Right…which is why I said “And then go darker with less lace and trim”.

Men’s fashions changed their fundamental *shapes *much more slowly than women’s, and for a fancy dress party at which costumes are entirely optional, I felt it more useful to the layperson to suggest popular images he might already be familiar with than obscure but historically accurate images. I wouldn’t suggest the same for an historical reenactment done before Congress and Edith Head, but this isn’t that.

I’d suggest a hussar uniform, but glancing around Norway doesn’t seem to have had any; whilst appearing as a Dansk or Swedish Hussar would be unwise. Maybe a dragoon uniform ?
Here’s some napoleonic Danish-Norwegian uniforms that are unexciting for the period.

And wait, what ? They had ski-troops back then… ?
When Russia invaded Finland in 1808, King Gustaph Adolf IV decided to invade Norway for reasons that are still not very clear.

Alternatively for added authenticity you could appear as Peer Gynt.

Although it would add an air of authenticity, I would avoid contracting cholera, or consumption just for that occasion.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair website is a good resource for non-military costuming. The photos section has several photos of upper class and middle class costumes in action. (See photos 1, 2, 3, 10, 12, 13, 16, 19, 20, 23 on the page linked) The costume guidelines for men has some basic info and you can find more detailed info in the books suggested.

The Victorian Era is one of the easiest to reproduce (at least in the US and GB). The man’s basic look is still in style, especially with formal wear. Although the invitation reads “back to the 1800s”, I’d shot for 1850-1860 (Victorian Era). Once you know what to search for (try Victorian Era clothing or American Civil War clothing) you’ll do fine. (Ever see Gone With The Wind? Clark Gable, Leslie Howard. Black suit with brightly colored silk vest.)

Sound advice, and I would - but my SO has a rule about facial hair. If I stop removing my facial hair, she does the same with her body hair :eek:

Very useful links otherwise, thanks.

Claverhouse, I thought about getting some kind of uniform from the era, it seems much easier to acquire than civilian clothing. But some of them are so fancy-looking I’m worried I might come to steal the groom’s thunder… and going as “just” a private I might look underdressed. Seems a little hard to find the right balance with a uniform, but perhaps I just haven’t found the right one yet.

Peer Gynt is an excellent idea with lots of food for thought, I hadn’t thought about that! Perhaps I can dig up something related to his clothing - but just as importantly, it might serve as a great inspiration for my other duties as toastmaster that night, short anecdotes, introducing speakers etc.

Sandra Battye - lots of inspiration and info there, thanks!

You could dress like a cowboy!

Dress really slutty.

Sorry, misplaced the hyphen. I thought you said **1-800 themed wedding **.

Get a formal wedding suit (morning dress ) - frock coat, pinstripe trousers, cravat, top hat and nice waistcoat. Then top it off with a nice red sash.

The people-announcer would be variously the herald, the chamberlain, the major-domo or the steward, depending on where and when.

Hehe, very cute :stuck_out_tongue:

Very nice, thanks a lot!

But only if it’s a (wait for it…) a morning or at least daytime wedding. If it is at night, white tie is the appropriate dress.

If the exact era isn’t important you should just have fun with it and go Steampunk. This means women don’t have to wear corsets.