The wedding of Martha Custis to George Washington took place on either January 6, or 17, 1759. The ceremony was conducted at Saint Peter’s Church in New Kent County with an English clergyman, the Reverend Mossum, officiating. It was a formal affair, an elegant, historic wedding for the Colony of Virginia.
The Colonel wore a suit of royal blue, trimmed in silver and lined in red silk with a contrasting white silk vest, embroidered with gold; his breeches (called smallclothes) were velvet, and there were gold buckles on his shoes and on his knees. His sword was encased in white leather and his hair was powdered, in the tradition of the finest London fashion.
His petite bride wore an elegant white, silk-satin gown that cascaded openly over a silver and white petticoat. The dress was adorned by yards of elegant, point-lace ruffles and featured a long train. On her small feet were high-heeled white, silk-satin shoes, studded with flaming diamond buckles. Her hair was powdered and intertwined with ropes of pearls while delicate pearl earrings graced her ears. A matching pearl necklace encircled her throat and pearl bracelets adorned her wrists. She wore an inexpensive engagement ring, as gem-studded rings were not in vogue, that cost her future husband a mere “…two pounds sixteen shillings.”, as he noted in his diary dated, May, 1759.
The bride arrived in a huge, white coach, drawn by six, majestic white horses, surrounded by her brilliantly liveried servants, who clung to its rails. The bridegroom arrived on a spirited stallion that was left to him by General Braddock as he lay on his deathbed after the Battle of Monongahela.
The ceremony was Anglican and was therefore derived from the Book of Common Prayer. Afterward, it was on to the reception, a gala event attended by Virginia’s elite, where there was feasting, joy and merriment. The reception was one “…long remembered for its gaiety and lavish hospitality.”
Wow! What a Wedding!