Book weddings: Miss Cornelia

Montgomery’s older brides tend to wear navy blue, perhaps because the white wedding dress is so strongly associated by Montgomery with youthful beauty and virginity. In this excerpt we see the recurring preoccupation in her books with the appropriateness of things – Montgomery has a keen sense both of beauty and of the ridiculous, and the one must not be allowed to desecrate the other.

“In about a month’s time. My wedding dress is to be navy blue silk. And I want to ask you, Anne, dearie, if you think it would be all right to wear a veil with a navy blue dress. I’ve always thought I’d like to wear a veil if I ever got married. Marshall says to have it if I want to. Isn’t that like a man?”

“Why shouldn’t you wear it if you want to?” asked Anne.

“Well, one doesn’t want to be different from other people,” said Miss Cornelia, who was not noticeably like anyone else on the face of the earth. “As I say, I do fancy a veil. But maybe it shouldn’t be worn with any dress but a white one. Please tell me, Anne, dearie, what you really think. I’ll go by your advice.”

“I don’t think veils are usually worn with any but white dresses,” admitted Anne, “but that is merely a convention; and I am like Mr. Elliott, Miss Cornelia. I don’t see any good reason why you shouldn’t have a veil if you want one.”

But Miss Cornelia, who made her calls in calico wrappers, shook her head. “If it isn’t the proper thing I won’t wear it,” she said, with a sigh of regret for a lost dream.

Veils are practically definitive of the bridal state, but Miss Cornelia – Mrs. Marshall Elliott as will be – is no less married for the absence of a veil or a white dress. I s’pose the excerpt also points up the bride’s yearning for conventionality – people are anxious to do the correct thing when it comes to weddings, which is why Miss Manners gets so many questions about ’em.

From a purely aesthetic perspective I like a white veil with a non-white dress, though it depends on the shades, I guess. Modern Vintage Bride’s combination of white veil and grey Temperley dress was terrifically chic!


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