Imagine if you will that it's not 2005, but 1860 or there about. Two small children sing church hymns to a congregation of God-fearing adults. A bridesmaid in a simple flannel dress leads the way for the bride-to-be, who is dressed in a cream colored floral pattern dress, complete with her hair pulled back by pink ribbons. Such is the setting for a Kansas City marriage.
The marriage itself may have been an arranged affair. Kansas City was one thing, but most people lived out on the rolling countryside. Meeting a woman and getting her promise for marriage could be a meandering affair that depended on square dances or chance meetings while doing chores. At any rate, that aspect of Kansas City socializing has changed. For the better one would hope!
Typical of the time, friends and family in attendance of the Kansas City marriage would wear the fashions of the times: the women wearing hoop skirts with tight thin waists, as well as gloves and bonnets. The men would have just-above-the-knee dress coats that they would often have to "flip back" before sitting down, as to not sit on their pockets (which typically were sewed onto the back of the jacket).
A typical Kansas City marriage reception had ham as its main course, but other popular meat dishes of 19th century Kansas city weddings were oysters, rabbit, fish, veal and lamb. Fresh vegetables were usually part of the feast to include spiced beets and other greens. Available vegetables depended on the time of year and what greenery was in season.
The Kansas City marriage reception on the other hand did not include reception lines, because typically the wedding was a closed event. Intended only for immediate family and close friends. As is the tradition even today, wedding gifts were given two or three days in advance and displayed in the bride-to-be's home. Gifts were usually items that had a use - for the home or farm.
Wedding dresses used in a Kansas City marriage were commonly red, white or flannel. Usually every woman in the Midwest had at least one nice dress to wear during a wedding, funeral or church service. During the Victorian age - which lasted from the early 1840s through the late 1890s, Kansas City women may have owned anywhere from 12-15 petticoats. Quite an extravagance and a big difference from women living in the far West.
Floral arrangements were used to dress up Church alters and reception areas in a person's home. The groom usually wore a red carnation at his Kansas City marriage, but the bride-to-be typically carried a bouquet of lilies in a small, silver vase. The same for the bridesmaid. And it was normal for women to make their own bouquets, as well as have the "passed-on" knowledge from their mothers regarding arranging flowers in their homes.
Other than that, Kansas City weddings were very much like those of today. The couple traditionally said "I will" instead of "I do". Honey moons consisted of a trip to the bedroom and a "do not disturb' sign on the door as opposed to a trip to St Martin s or the Bahamas.