cataglottisme wrote in little_details

Marriage in 1870 London, how long after the death of the mother? [MOURNING]

Hello peeps.

I turn toward you because I have quite a specific question about mourning rules in Victorian London, and Google hasn't been of much help (too specific of a question, I guess.)

Character A mother dies quite suddenly. "Mother" is survived by her husband and two daughters, let's call them A & B. Upper class family, not aristocratic.
How long after the death of Mother can A be expected to have to marry?

I kinda need her to be married ASAP for the story, but I don't want to encroach on the mourning period (one year for a mother). I'm pretty sure she can't marry during the deep mourning period (first 3 months) or the full mourning period (first 6 months), but could she marry after that? When she hits the half-mourning period (9 months after the death?)

Kind regards,


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When searching your request, I found an etiquette book. Since Victorian etiquette seems to be of interest lately, hopefully this will come in handy.

The article I found it in discussed mourning fashion, which may come in handy for describing clothes

This article states that family members would be out of the social swing of things for six months:

The period of mourning for immediate relatives was less severe: six months in black, the first three with crepe; and three months half-mourning. Seclusion from society ranged from two to six weeks, depending upon the degree of the relationship. For example, a child mourning a parent or a parent mourning a child withdrew for six weeks and did not attend balls and dances for six months. When mourning a sibling, a grandparent, or an aunt or uncle, the period of seclusion was 2-3 weeks. For a daughter- or son-in-law, the mourning period was six months: four in black and two in half-mourning, or evenly split between to the two forms of dress.

A wedding immediately following a family death would probably be a more subdued affair than if no death had occurred.

I am totally mindblown that there's a fabric called "Parramatta Cloth" that was considered suitable. Upon investigation, I'm amused that, long after the Women's Prison at Parramatta was closed, the cloth is still being sold.
Thank you VERY much for your kindness and your research! That's terribly interesting!
I especially love the etiquette book!

Thanks also for the edwardian/post war quote on mourning. Since this is set a little bit earlier (1870-80), I think I might stick with sliiightly longer mourning periods. But then again, 6 months suits me better than having to wait for a whole year. Maybe I'll do something halfway, like announce the engagement after 6 months and have the wedding after 9 months (when they reach the half-mourning period).
If the wedding is subdued and glum, all the better.