1903 Bridal Gown

Bride with high neck white dress with bands of flat lace on the bodice, long sleeves, and full length skirt with three rows of ruffles at the bottom.
1903 Bride & Groom

This bride and groom were married in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in about 1903. Women’s fashions in the early 1900s were very formal with everything being covered up, from her high neck collar to her floor touching skirt. It wasn’t considered proper to even see a lady’s ankles.

Bridal Gown

Bridal gown top with high neck collar, vertical flat lace bands and large flat bow across bodice.
Bridal gown bodice

The bridal gown has a high neck collar. The whole bodice is made from a fabric with vertical bands of netting. The bride’s long sleeves are also made of the same fabric. Across the bodice is a wide satin ribbon gathered in the very center and again at the sleeves. The same ribbon goes over the shoulders and probably across the back in the same design as the front. Not only does this decorative ribbon go over the shoulders, it also drapes around the upper sleeve. Below this ribbon on the front of the bodice are two triangular pieces decorated with lace.

Bridal gown skirt with three rows of ruffles at the bottom
Skirt of bridal gown

The skirt of this bridal gown drapes smoothly over the hips down to the three layers of lace edged ruffles. The skirt brushes the floor. At the bride’s waist she wears a belt with a ribbon rosette at the front.

If you have read the FREE 10 Wedding Ideas from Vintage Brides ebook, you would know that this dress is a Triangular shape. You can see how this shape compares to other bridal dress shapes in the ebook.

Bridal Bouquet

Bridal bouquet of six red roses and thin greenery tied with a white satin ribbon.
Bridal bouquet of red roses

The bridal bouquet is 6 red roses and greenery tied with a white satin ribbon.

Bridal Veil

Close up of Bride with bridal veil attached at top of her up-swept hair.
1903 Bridal veil

The bride’s veil reaches all the way to the ground. She is also wearing a short “blusher” veil. A blusher veil was usually flipped over the bride’s face as she came down the aisle before the wedding ceremony. It was often not flipped back until the couple was pronounced married in the ceremony. The two layers of veil netting are gathered together at the top of her head, along with a few flowers.

If you want to see more Bridal Gowns in this style, check out this 1904 Bride.

Ready for unique Bridal ideas?

If you are planning a wedding and are looking for bridal ideas, then the FREE 10 Wedding Ideas from Vintage Brides ebook can help you:

  • Find your own Wedding Dress style
  • Find a unique Headpiece and Veil
  • Find a special Bridal Bouquet

To get your own FREE copy of 10 Wedding Ideas from Vintage Brides ebook PDF, just click the button.

Want your own historically-inspired Wedding Gown?

Want your own historical-looking bridal gown? Let’s talk. Contact me at kayork@wowway.

Want to see more Vintage Brides?

Book cover of Bridal Fashions 1900 - 1950 by Kathleen York
Bridal ideas book

If you want to find out more about American Bridal Fashions, 1900 to 1950, you can purchase the book and enjoy all the vintage bridal gowns and veils.

Like modern vintage fashion?

If you are interested in modern vintage fashions, check out The House of York on Etsy.

5 thoughts on “1903 Bridal Gown

    1. Thanks. I am totally fascinated by how these historical dresses were constructed and decorated. It’s often difficult to see in the old photos, especially on the internet, so I try to point out what I can see using a magnifying glass. Glad someone else likes it too. Hope to get back to posting more blogs and pictures soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With the old pictures I have, I scan them at 600 dpi, and then really increase the contrast in Photoshop, and a lot of the time, I still can’t make out details. I recently read that it is better to take a new photograph of an old photograph than it is to scan them, but I haven’t tried that yet.


  1. I scan my vintage bridal pictures using my Epson scanner. It has a feature that can restore a sepia colored photo into it’s original black, white and grey tones. A lot of things show up then. But I still like to go to the original photo and use my mega magnifying glass. I also have an old Opaque Projector that project the picture onto a wall very large scale.


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