Between booking a venue, sending invitations, and saying yes to the dress, planning a wedding can seriously feel like a full time job. Take a deep breath and get back to basics – trade Pinterest for paintings and take your wedding planning cues from ceremonies in centuries past to gather inspiration for your special day.
The Wedding of Stephen Beckingham and Mary Cox, William Hogarth
To this day, St. Martin-in-the-Fields makes a gorgeous setting for a wedding, but if a London destination wedding isn’t in the cards, we’re sure you can find another beautiful, high-ceilinged church a little closer to home. Mary Cox and Stephen Beckingham make a lovely couple, but after the gorgeous location, we think it’s the ladies in the wedding party that really steal the show. Let their look inspire you by incorporating shades of peach, gold, and navy into your bridesmaids’ dresses.
Venus and Cupid, Lorenzo Lotto
Yeah, we know — at first glance, it’s not exactly obvious what this painting has to do with weddings or marriage. This painting by Lorenzo Lotto was likely done in celebration of a wedding, with Venus’ face possibly mirroring the bride’s own. Lotto was a fan of using symbolism in his works, and if you’ll look closely, you’ll see a shell and rose petals (attributes of Venus herself), ivy (a symbol of fidelity), myrtle (a symbol for marriage), and other elements with multiple possible meanings (we’re looking at you, Cupid). Basically, what we’re saying with this one is that on your wedding day, you should do you. Incorporate as much or as little tradition as you want. If it means something to you and your partner, that’s what matters most.
A Wedding in 1830, José Gutiérrez de la Vega
We’re not sure who the beautiful bride is in this painting attributed to José Gutiérrez de la Vega, but we do know that we’re smitten with the whimsical pop of color in her attire provided by the pink and red flowers in her hair–and let’s not forget about her elegant pearl drop necklace and matching brooch. We’re a fan of her braided updo, too, and the way it perfectly complements her dangling gold earrings. This bride’s accessories totally elevate the look of her classic white wedding dress.
Bride With Fan, Marc Chagall
“Something blue,” indeed. In this painting, Marc Chagall depicts his fiancée, Bella Rosenfeld, in a moment of solemnity, veil draped over her head and a fan in her hand. Who says wedding day makeup has to be “natural?” We love the sweet pink hue of Bella’s lips in contrast to her dramatic, dark eyes.
IX: Pamela Is Married, Joseph Highmore
Blushing bride Pamela is sweetly elegant in this painting by Joseph Highmore. This couple is marrying in secret with only a few guests, and whether or not that’s right for you and your partner, the sweet simplicity in this painting is a reminder that you don’t have to have an elaborate wedding for it to be the wedding of your dreams.