NGC unveils wedding traditions

Published 11:40 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver six pence in her shoe!”

Have you ever wondered where this custom started or why brides traditionally wear white? These traditions, as well as many others which brides use today were most likely taken from the Victorian era. Using this, the Natchez Garden Club has chosen as its theme for the annual flower show, “Essence of a Victorian Wedding.”

The Natchez Garden Club along with Mr. and Mrs. Paul Benoist will be hosting this event from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the “Benoist-Stier Home,” which is located at 410 S. Union St.

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Refreshments, for a donation, will be served during the flower show allowing guests to stroll throughout the home and enjoy a sip of something cool.

Using the Benoist-Stier Home as the venue of this year’s flower show adds an element of authenticity. This home, built circa 1885-1901 by L.A. Benoist and his wife Julia Stier Benoist, has been in the Benoist family for five generations. Paul and Ginny Benoist acquired the home in 2002, and they have worked tirelessly to renovate the structure to its past elegance. Keeping true to the architectural elements from the period, they have, however, incorporated many earth-friendly modern conveniences. Displaying the floral arrangements in this Victorian home will only add to the magnificence of the show.

Following the theme, each division honors the components of a Victorian Wedding. In the Tricolor Award division, the “Reception Room,” “Ceremonial Room,” and the “Wedding Dinner” will be interpreted by our designers. Continuing this theme, in the Designer’s Choice division, the classes are: “Bride’s Room,” “Groom’s Room,” and the “Honeymoon Suite.”

The educational exhibits are outstanding this year. On display will be the Benoist Family Tree and a chronological study of the renovation of the home. This exhibit features pictures of several generations of family members as well as diagrams and drawings of the renovations and additions to the home over the years.

Another exhibit will display Victorian clothing and accessories which would have been worn by the wedding party and guests during a wedding in the 1800s. Also on display will be Victorian Wedding Decorations and flowers which would have been used during this time. The Young Gardeners will present the history of the “Tussy-Mussy” and prepare arrangements which would be suitable to use. This year’s flower show will not only showcase our talented designers but will also offer a glimpse of a bride and groom on their wedding day during the Victorian Era.

If you are wondering about the “something old, something new … and a silver sixpence in her shoe,” these items in the poem represent tokens of good luck for the bride and the color of the wedding dress often reflected the bride’s view of the upcoming union.

The white dress meant the bride felt she had “chosen right.” To learn about other Victorian customs, to view the floral interpretations of our talented designers, and to see the beautifully restored Victorian home of the Benoists, please join us for this free event which is open to the public.

Penny Daggett is the publicity co-chairman for the Natchez Garden Club Flower Show.