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USA Insider The Courtship

'The Courtship' Is Inspired By Regency-Era Romance — What Were Weddings Back Then Like?

Nicole Rémy has made it clear on "The Courtship" she is hoping for a marriage proposal at the end of the experience. What would a real Regency-era wedding look like?

By Tara Bennett
Nicoel Remy with her parents, sister, and friends, all dressed in white standing outside of the castle

As "The Courtship" heads into the finale, Ms. Nicole Rémy has been prepping to choose from the last three suitors: Mr. Jesse Judge, Mr. Christian Cones, and Mr. Danny Bochicchio. But what happens next? If there’s a true love match, hopefully dating and then maybe marriage for the two lovebirds. But if this were actually happening during the Regency era the show is inspired by, what would a wedding for the couple look like?

How to Watch

Stream all of "The Courtship" Season 1 on Peacock.

Weddings were often dictated by where the couple resided in society. If they came from families of comfortable means, then the scale of the event would be modest. Close family and friends would be asked to attend, and it would usually take place in the home parish of the couple with their local clergyman conducting the morning ceremony. Bridals dresses were often just the nicest piece a woman already owned, or perhaps a special dress handed down to them. 

If the couple were wealthy or in the upper echelons of society, the wedding could be held at a large church in London or take place outside of a church if permission was afforded via a "special license" by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those events might have an expanded guest list, but not with the numbers typically seen in contemporary weddings. The more money the bride and her family had also meant that she was more likely to have a white or even a colored fabric dress made for the occasion. 

Regardless of the social class, the ceremony itself was usually pretty brief. After the official posting of the intended nuptials were written in the local paper, read during services, or put on the front of the local church, the couple would set a date. If there were no objections from the public or their parents, it was game on! Then, the couple would exchange vows and just the bride would be given a simple band to wear on the fourth finger of her left hand. After all that, there might be a reception where breakfast or just cake would be served. 

The (hopefully) happy couple would then retire to the groom’s home and sometime within a week or two, the couple would set off on their bridal tour, which we know today as the honeymoon. However, in the Regency-era there were no exotic locales or Caribbean all-inclusives. The couple usually took a coach to visit … family.

New episodes of "The Courtship" air Wednesdays at 11 p.m. ET on USA Network. Catch up now on USA Network or on the USA Network app. Episodes are also streaming on Peacock.