Black and White Manhattan

Wooing and Wedding,
page 11 of 12

“A Receipt for all young Ladies that are going to be Married. To Make a


                From famed Barbadoes on the Western Main
                Fetch sugar half a pound; fetch sack from Spain
                A pint; and from the Eastern Indian Coast
                Nutmeg, the glory of our Northern toast.
                o’er flaming coals together let them heat
                Till the all-conquering sack dissolves the sweet.
                o’er such another fire set eggs, twice ten,
                New born from crowing cock and speckled hen;
                Stir them with steady hand, and conscience pricking
                To see the untimely fate of twenty chicken.
                From shining shelf take down your brazen skillet,
                A quart of milk from gentle cow will fill it.
                When boiled and cooked, put milk and sack to egg,
                Unite them firmly like the triple League.
                Then covered close, together let them dwell
                Till Miss twice sings: You must not kiss and tell.
                Each lad and lass snatch up their murdering spoon,
                And fall on fiercely like a starved dragoon.”

Many frankly simple customs prevailed. I do not know at how early a date the fashion obtained of “coming out bride” on Sunday; that is, the public appearance of bride and groom, and sometimes entire bridal party in wedding-array, at church the Sunday after the marriage. It certainly was a common custom long before Revolutionary times, in New England as well as New York; but it always seems to me more an English than a Dutch fashion. Mr. Gabriel Furman, in his manuscript Commonplace Book, dated 1810, now owned by the Long Island Historical Society, tells of one groom whom he remembered who appeared on the first Sunday after his marriage attired in white broadcloth; on the second, in brilliant blue and gold; on the third, in peach-bloom with pearl buttons. The bride’s dress, wholly shadowed by all this magnificence, is not even named. Mrs. Vanderbilt tells of a Flatbush bride of the last century, who was married in a fawn-colored silk over a light-blue damask petticoat. The wedding-waistcoat of the groom was made of the same light-blue damask, — a delicate and deferential compliment. Often it was the custom for the bridal pair to enter the church after the service began, thus giving an opportunity for the congregation to enjoy thoroughly the wedding-finery. Whether bride and groom were permitted to sit together within the church, I do not know. Of course ordinarily the seats of husband and wife were separate. It would seem but a poor show, with the bride in a corner with a lot of old ladies, and the groom up in the gallery.


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