Although there are a few prints of women attending weddings in Welsh costume with the implications that the bride was thus dressed, there are no known photographs of brides and families wearing Welsh costume. It is likely that at this time, a bride wore her best dress, and occasionally this would have been a Welsh costume.
Three surviving Welsh costumes are said to have been used as wedding dresses. The information about them is based on stories passed down in the donors’ families and might not be entirely correct: it is not unusual for families to think that costumes from ancestors are much older than they actually are. All three costumes are in excellent condition.
(1) Gown and accessories said to have been worn by the donor’s great grandmother Mary Davies (1821-1904) at her wedding to Thomas Thomas (1819-1893) of Penrywgaled [Penrhiwgaled?], Llandyssiliogogo (New Quay), 24th August 1847
National Museum of Wales, DF2004.27.1-6 (On display at the National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre).
(2) Gown and accessories (on the right) said to have been worn by Elizabeth Evans for her wedding at Sychpant, Llanwenog, Cardiganshire, during the 1860s.
National Museum of Wales 61.462
(3) Gown and skirt made for donor’s grandmother, Mary Lloyd (nee Griffiths), of Glynhynod, Llangynllo, Llandyssul, (wedding, about 1865). Ceredigion Museum 1922.214.171.124
In Ann Beale’s fictional account of life in the Towel Valley, published in 1849, she describes the dress of her heroin on her wedding day:
‘That Broad-brimmed, high crowned, shining hat conceals none of her beauty … whilst the full border of her lace cap, with its broad white satin strings, displays to advantage her delicate face. A white shawl, pinned over a new Welsh flannel skirt and petticoat, white gloves and a white satin bridal favour complete her … costume’. (Anne Beale, The Vale of the Towey; or Sketches in South Wales (1844), republished as Traits and Stories of the Welsh Peasantry (1849) p. 301)
Wedding of Daughter of Lady Llanover to J Arthur Jones, on the 12 inst. 1846
‘The path through the churchyard was lined with young females in the Welsh costume.’
The Bristol Mercury, November 21, 1846
Captain Allen Gough and Miss Mary (May) Georgina Lloyd Edwards of Nanboron near Llangain. The bridesmaids were dressed in Welsh costume.
North Wales Chronicle, August 24, 1895