As previously mentioned in Part One of the Fashions of Downton Abbey two part series, the clothing worn by the characters of the television series tell the story and set the mood as much as Highcere Castle and the stage sets at Ealing Studios. In Part One, I discussed the fashions of the six seasons of Downton Abbey including day and evening dresses as well as the accessories of the aristocratic Crawley family. In Part Two, I will discuss the wedding dresses worn by the Crawley sisters at both their first and second weddings as highlighted in seasons three and six. I will also discuss the wedding outfits of several of the servants of Downtown Abbey.
As season one and two unfolds Lady Sybil, the youngest Crawley daughter, and Tom Branson share a growing attraction to one another and the couple plans to secretly run away to Gretna Green to elope but they are found by Lady Mary and Lady Edith before the marriage takes place (season two episode 7). Lord Grantham threatens to disinherit Lady Sybil, but eventually he gives his blessing and the couple is married and move to Ireland as season two comes to an end. Unfortunately for viewers, the wedding takes place off camera and denied seeing Lady Sybil in her wedding dress. (Shown below are Lady Sybil and Tom Branson)
In season two episode 5, William had returned from World War I severely injured and he is brought back to Downton. William asks Daisy to marry him before he dies, this will provide her with hid pension. Daisy is torn, because she is not truly in love with William but Mr. Mason, William’s father, and Mrs. Patmore, the cook, convince her to do this for William. The wedding takes place in one of the upstairs bedrooms by the local vicar and the bed is decorated with floral swags and Daisy is wearing her best dress for the ceremony with her hair arranged in a pretty style. Sadly, William dies a few hours later. (Shown below is a two photos of the wedding ceremony, the one on the left shows a close-up photo of Daisy’s hairstyle)
There is another wedding that involves two of the Downton servants, Mr. Bates and Anna, which takes place during season two in episode 7 Mr. Bates is the personal valet to the Earl of Grantham and Anna is Lady Mary’s maid, the couple falls in love and after several troublesome obstacles they finally get married and the viewers are allowed a quick glimpse of the wedding ceremony but there is no wedding reception. As Anna herself says, “I’d rather have the right man than the right wedding”. As was customary for her station in society, for the ceremony at the registry office Anna wears her best outfit which is a starched white blouse, blue skirt, black hat and she carries a bouquet of wildflowers. (Shown below are two photos of Mr. Bates and Anna on their wedding day)
Then, during season three of the Downton Abbey television show there was the weddings of the two remaining Crawley sisters. The first was the much anticipated wedding of Lady Mary to Matthew Crawley as shown in episode one to start the season. The wedding ceremony took place at St. Michael and All Angels Church, the local church in the Downton. Lady Mary’s wedding gown was in fitting with the time period, the third season is set between the years 1920 to 1921, and was custom made under the direction of the Downton Abbey television show’s costume designer, Caroline McCall. Lady Mary’s gown is an ivory column dress with a dropped waistline, long sheer sleeves and a chapel-length train embellished with lace details, pearl beading and Swarovski crystals. The Grantham family tiara, a beautiful 45-carat diamond tiara was used to secure a veil and, to complete her bridal ensemble, Lady Mary carried a simple bouquet of white Calla lilies. (Shown below are several photos of Lady Mary in her wedding dress and with her handsome groom, Matthew)
Below are several more photos of the wedding. The photo on the left shows Cora, the Countess of Grantham and the mother of the bride, flanked by her daughters, Lady Edith and Lady Sybil, all dressed in lovely pastel dresses with hats embellished with artificial flowers and satin ribbons. The photo on the right shows both of Lady Mary’s grandmothers, the conservative Violet the Dowager Countess and the more flamboyant American-born Martha Levinson wearing her fur and feathers.
For episode three of season three, Lady Edith is finally the center of attention as she prepares for her wedding to Anthony Strallan. Caroline McCall, the Downton Abbey television show’s costume designer, was inspired by a vintage silk train which was embellished with flowers and crystals which would be attached to the shoulders of the dress with embroidered flowers styled to match those on the train. Based on a similar Lanvin design, the ivory silk dress is softly gathered at the hip with more embroidered flower accents and it is both simple and elegant. Lady Edith, like her sister, also wore her veil attached with Grantham tiara which was a wonderful tradition commonly done with important pieces of jewelry by members of other aristocratic families. Sadly, as beautiful she looked on her wedding day, Lady Edith was jilted at the altar by Strallan who did not want to burden her with a life married to an older invalid. (Shown below are several photos of Lady Edith wearing her lovely wedding gown)
Below is a photo of Lady Edith with her sisters, Lady Mary and Lady Sybil, before the ill-fated wedding. Lady Mary is wearing a lovely pastel blue dress and Lady Sybil in a lavender dress, both are wearing hats.
The next Downton wedding to take place was in season five episode 8 and it was the happy occasion of Lady Rose to Atticus Aldridge. In this episode preparations are underway for the wedding and Lady Rose will be wearing two special bridal outfits, one for the registry office ceremony and another for the grand reception later that night. The dress for the wedding ceremony was a pastel blue dress with embroidered embellishments inspired by a vintage collar that Caroline McCall, the Downton Abbey costume designer, had found in Paris. The hat was decorated with preserved real roses done by the wardrobe department’s milliner. The second dress for the reception was also a vintage find at a shop in London and it was a beautiful ivory silk tulle dress with gold beading and worn with matching silk opera-length gloves. Two of the preserved roses were pinned behind Lady Rose’s ears and more of the roses were used to create a wedding bouquet with little vintage wax flowers, pearls and gilded ferns. (Shown below are several photos of Lady Rose wearing her two wedding outfits)
SPOILER ALERT: Please be aware that the following reveals season six plot details!
During season six there is a trio of special weddings during the final season of Downton Abbey. The first takes place in episode 3 and it is the wedding of Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson, he is the head butler and she is the housekeeper at Downton Abbey. While selecting her bridal outfit both Mrs. Patmore, the cook and Lady Mary are unhappy with Mrs. Hughes choice of what they think of as a drab mauve dress for the special occasion. Lady Mary suggests Lady Grantham’s velvet coat with stunning lace and beaded embellishments and while they are trying it on Lady Grantham walks in on the women and she is very upset that they are in her bedroom trying on her personal clothes but in the end she calms down and kindly gives Mrs. Hughes the beautiful coat to wear on her wedding day. (Shown below are several photos of Mrs. Hughes wearing her wedding outfit and another photo of the guests gathered for the ceremony)
Then, in episode 8 of season six, the fate of Lady Mary is quickly settled when she weds Henry Talbot. Remember Lady Mary’s first husband Matthew died in a tragic car accident shortly after the birth of their son, and her choice of a bridal dress for her second wedding was almost, dare I say it, matronly! The ivory dress features a deep V-front with embroidered detailing and long sleeves. Lady Mary wears a simple pearl necklace and for the church ceremony she wears a hat embellished with artificial flowers and netting. Instead of a bridal bouquet, Lady Mary wears a floral corsage pinned on the left side of her dress. (The photos below show Lady Mary wearing her wedding outfit and another photo shows her with her new husband, Henry)
Finally, in the series finale (the 2015 Christmas special) of Downton Abbey, Lady Edith finds the love and happiness she deserves when she weds Bertie Pelham, the new Marchioness of Hexham. Lady Edith looked absolutely beautiful in her lace short sleeved wedding dress and, since she was denied a conclusion to her first attempt at marriage, she wore a lace veil with a beaded headband instead of the Grantham tiara. (Shown below are several photos of Lady Edith in her wedding dress and with her new husband, Bertie)
(For more on the Downton Abbey television series, please click on the link. Also, to see more costumes worn by the women of Downton Abbey throughout the years, please click on the link to Downton Abbey Fashions – Part One)