In the final book of the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, Bella and Edward get married. Bella, whose parents are divorced, has never really seen marriage as a desirable life goal, doesn’t want people to think she’s pregnant and she worries about branding herself a desperate, vapid girl insistent on getting married right out of high school. Certainly nothing says “commitment” like forsaking humanity and spending eternity with someone, so what’s the point of a wedding? Old-fashioned Edward, however, wants to be married, and Bella comes around to his point of view, starting to consider it natural and happy for two people in love to be married, and to heck with the gossips and disapproval of society and her family. She keeps thinking of Anne of Green Gables, of the simpler time she associates with when Edward would have been young, of the high-necked blouse and long skirt she would wear.
Bella guesses that the inspiration was from 1918 when she sees her dress, Alice replies more or less and Liana tears her hair out. Here I thought we were using an Anne-centric timeline, but only in the miniseries did Anne get married during the First World War — in the books, Anne got married in 1890, according to this page, and WWI was her daughter Rilla’s turn as a heroine. So what does Bella’s dress look like? Victorian-style clothes play a large role in her fantasy of simple romance, and she says, looking at the dress, that it’s just what she imagined. Yet, a dress from 1918 probably wouldn’t have that Victorian high neck, or maybe not even the long skirt. It must also be noted that 1918 is when Edward was transformed into a vampire at the age of 17, so a dress from this age would probably appeal to him more than something his mom would have worn. 1918 would also be about right, if Bella’s mother, who thought the gown looked like something from a Jane Austen novel, was a hundred years off. Then Alice was stage-managing the whole thing, and I have a really hard time seeing her send Bella out in an unfashionable wedding dress. No one does high necks anymore, not even LDS members going for modesty, and long sleeves seem to be relegated to the Éowyn look. So what exactly do we have here? An Anne-style 1890 gown with puffed sleeves? A streamlined, more fashionable but still modest 1918 gown? A modern dress with vintage touches? I’ve been trying to decide for the last week.
So yeah, at this point I think I may have pondered the dress — possibly overthought the dress — more than the author, and it’s been maddening. Maybe it’s like the prom dress: however you see it is right. (Witness the range of Twilight wedding dresses on deviantart.) That means I’m going to stop trying to come up with something perfect and just go with a pseudo-1890s gown, taking Bella at her word that she wanted to dress like Anne and got her wish. But you could just as easily assume that Bella only saw the miniseries, so maybe I’ll draw a 1918 gown too, another day. Trying to combine the two — yeah, I got some pretty funny sketches out of the idea, but I think I’ll pass. In my sketches of this dress, she has her hair down and even though it’s old-fashioned, it’s still romantic and sweet.