Love and Courtship
In period-era dramas, courtship is romanticized; carriage rides through the country, chaperoned walks on the promenade, evenings spent in the company of others at balls and dinner parties. However, more than mere flirtations, these courtships where high-stakes opportunities on both sides of the aisle, and not something to be entered into lightly.
In most cultures up through the 19th-century, marriages were contracts typically arranged by parents as a business transaction. Often, the bride and groom did not meet until their wedding day. In Western European society, arranged marriages were the norm until the late 1700’s when “personal choice of partners had replaced arranged marriages as a social ideal, and individuals were encouraged to marry for love”, according to Stephanie Coontz author of Marriage, a History.
While the practice of courtship continues to change with the times, the intent being the practice remains unchanged, as does the hope we all share in finding love and celebrating the occasion with the wedding of our dreams.
This edition of the Journal of Antiques covers many topics related to courship including the history of the white wedding dress, cake toppers and love tokens.
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Prefer to read offline? Download the May Journal of Antiques using the link below