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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A Century of Wedding Belles - Sepia Saturday & Wedding Wednesday

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history through photographs. This week's theme is WEDDINGS

Where do I start on this topic? 
Postings relating to weddings have always come high on my page views, 
 so I decided here to "Focus on the Fashions,  1879-1971."   


From "The Illustrated London News", issue no. 2074 , March 15th 1879. which I purchased many years aglo in London.  This the wedding dresss of Louise Margaret Alexandra Victoria, third daughter of Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia who married Queen Victoria's third son Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught.

The princess's dress was described as "made of thick white satin, the waist trimmed with lace 4" wide, the skirt also trimmed with lace 12" deep with bunches of myrtle. The train was 13 feet long, with a rich lace flounce 3 feet wide, upon which was laid a branch of myrtle......The bridal veil was richly decorated with real point-de-gaze lace, ornamented with flowers, crown and the royal coat of arms of Prussia, in relief, all worked with real white lace. The order was given at the beginning of July last and the work has been done by the hands of 300 peasant girls in the mountains of Silesia".


What a magnificent hat!   Worn by Sarah Alice Oldham  who married George Butler in Blackpool, Lancashire in 1910. From the collection of my third cousin, Stuart.


Sarah's sister Beatrice  married Jack Clarke in 1919.  I feel the significance of the date after the First World War is not lost in this photograph where there is a air of informality (shorter skirt, trilby hat etc.), compared with the opulence of Sarah's dress above. Another  photograph from my cousin Stuart.  

"Gowned in delphinium blue" was the description of this dress worn by my  mother's cousin Annie Danson who married Harry Ditchfield in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire with the local newspaper giving a fulsome account of the dress. "The sleeveless bodice being plain, while the circular skirt was side slashed and bordered all round with deep silver lace. Her hat was ruched georgette to tone and she wore silver shoes and hose to tone. Her bouquet was of pale pink chrysanthemums." 


Another newspaper report gave the over-the-top account of the dress at my great aunt Jennie Danon's wedding to Bill Stemp at Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  Jennie was " stylishly gowned in French grey georgette, veiling silk to tone. The bodice which was shaped to the figure was quite plain, with a spray of orange blossoms at the shoulder, while the skirt, which was ankle length, was composed entirely of five picot edged scalloped circular frills, and the long tight sleeves had circular picot edged frilled cuffs in harmony. Her hat was of georgette to tone with uneven pointed dropping brim, having an eye veil of silver lace and floral mount. She carried a bouquet of pink carnations with silver ribbon and horseshoe attached."


A  rather low key wedding for my parents John Weston and Kathleen Danson 
 at Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire


A magnificent array of dresses for the wedding in New Jersey of Ruth A. Urtstadt  and Edward J. LInke -  the parents of my American third cousin Bonnie - descendants from my Rawcliffe family.


A wintry austerity Britain in December 1946 when my uncle Charles Weston married his bride Vera.  I am the tiny shivering bridesmaid, dressed in dusky pink, and holding a big posy, with my elegant mother standing  behind.   


The omens were not good on my wedding day on 24th July 1971. It poured down and we have no photographs taken outside; my husband Neil looks a bit shell shocked in this informal picture; and with the Tudor monarchs all the rage on film and TV at the time, I chose to wear an Ann Boleyn style headdress - she suffered the fate of being beheaded by Henry VIII.   Still we survived - and celebrated our Ruby (40th) wedding annviversary last year.  
Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

For other contributions on this week's s theme look at


  1. I love looking at how the wedding dresses changed over time.

    By the way, I see according to Geneabloggers today is the 2nd anniversary since you've been blogging. Happy Blogiversary.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  2. Loved the wedding fashions over the years, but you and your husbands picture is my favorite of all.

    Congrats on the 40 years!

    Kathy M.

  3. It is interesting to see the styles over the years. You look very happy in your picture, but your husband sure doesn't.

  4. Yes congrats on yr years of marriage :)

    So interesting to the different styles of dress,
    all to do the time fashion, time period and would think the
    Depress and WW2 perhaps.
    And difference in UK than USA during the times.

  5. What a fun trip thru wedding land. I liked the pictures and your comments put the icing on the cake --- so to speak.

  6. Lovely wedding photos! And congratulations on 40 years of wedded bliss!

  7. A fine collection of wedding portraits, most fitting for Sepia Saturday. I might take issue, if I may, with the 1929 descritpion - aren't there six frills? ;-)

  8. Enjoyed your post - it's fun to see how wedding fashions have changed through the years. Find the 1942 pic interesting - I've never seen a wedding photo where the bridemaids wear veils as long as the one the bride is wearing.

    Congrats on your 40+ anniversary. I really like your wedding dress!

  9. Magnificent pictures! I can almost see the brides from the twenties dancing the charleston. And as other people also said, it is a valuable overview of marriage fashion.

  10. Fascinating to see the difference over the years. I've ever been to a winter wedding, quite a contrast between your bridesmaid dress and the woman in furs.

  11. This was so much fun. I love the descriptions of the gowns and the colors. Silver lace -- how elegant!

  12. Such a fun post. I love reading the descriptions of the dresses. For some reason our local newspaper stopped writing about the wedding dress which makes the wedding announcements really dull.
    Congrats on your 40 years.

  13. What a lovely post indeed! Congrats on your 40 last year as well! If I had to pick which era I like best, I'd have to say 1928, such stunning grace, (love that style hat today even). You did an excellent recall of that lovely day!

  14. Congratulations, Susan - I loved your post as I'm a real sucker for wedding dresses :-) Jo

  15. I've tried to cover a time period too, but can't match the family connections that you have achieved. It's interesting to see how styles have changed over the years.

  16. A great collection of wedding photos! I, too, was surprised by all the bridesmaids wearing veils in the one picture. Glad you included your smiling face with the others.

  17. I see from other comment that the photo of 5 couples is not a mass wedding as I supposed!

  18. An interesting mix of fashions thru the decades. Weddings have their own vocabulary, and especially the nomenclature of bridal gowns. I need a dictionary.

  19. The fasion of dresses is changing over the years. But all people are happily laughing with stars in their eyes. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Love the little winged hats on the little girls in 1929.

  21. A hugely enjoyable post, with the ones of your family being the highlights, especially your own! Many congratulations on your Ruby Wedding. We have three years to go!

  22. Thank you to everyone for such lovely comments on a post I very much enjoyed compiling. I am amazed at the number of comments I have received - the most on any posting so far.

    To Kathy, Queen Bee and Kristin - you are right it was not a mass wedding in 1942, but the parents of my third cousin, Bonnie in New Jersey who supplied the photo with the names of the attendants. I did wonder if the bridesmaids wearing short veils was an American custom.

    To Wendy, Barbara & Nancy - I agree the fulsome dress descriptions add so much colour. My summary was taken from press cuttings still in the hands of my mother's cousins and I felt there was wasn't space to include the descriptions of the bridesmaids dresses and the going away dress which make equally fascinating reading.

  23. A wonderful collection of photographs and fashions. I had to do a double take on the 1929 one as it is almost identical to one I have for my Auntie Amy and Uncle Wilf.

  24. Lovely photos illustrating changes over time - thanks!

  25. Hi from a fellow family history nut. Love your latest post, so many great wedding related pics.
    Look forward to getting to know everyone involved in this great blog challenge



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