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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Wedding Bells: Sharing Memories

Pauleen at Family Across the Seas recently wrote about her wedding day and her various snapshot memories.   Her post struck a chord with me and prompted me to think back to my own wedding day to record in my Personal Memories series.  It too had its eventful moments!

The omens were not good   on 24th July 1971. It poured down and we have no photographs taken outside the church; my husband Neil looks a bit shell shocked in this 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 executed by Henry VIII.

To give the background, I lived and worked in Edinburgh, but my parents had moved south some 18 months previously.  There was no question that Ihe wedding would be anywhere but Edinburgh, but arrangements did not go smoothly.

  • A month before the big day, our landlord gave us notice to quit the flat I shared with three friends.  Panic stations!  A friend kindly offered me a bed for the few weeks but I was moving 50 miles south to Hawick in the Scottish Borders  where Neil worked, so I had to plan  what stuff I needed in Edinburgh  and then for the wedding and honeymoon, and  what could be taken to Hawick.  Plus I was now going to be leaving for the wedding from the reception hotel.   I seemed to be dividing  my time between three places.   Talk about a stress full time!

  • Then I had this awful dream where I turned up at the church in all my finery to discover it all shut up  and there had been some mix up over the date.  Was this an awful  portent? 
  • The evening  before we had a wedding rehearsal at the church - St. Peter's Episcopal.  On the way, with my mother and aunt in Neil's car, we had a blow out on the main A1 into Edinburgh.  We managed to get a taxi and left Neil to change the wheel.  He arrived late at the church with oil over his cream Arran sweater.  Was this a further portent?  He had to spend the morning of his wedding getting the tyre repaired ahead of us driving  north to the Highlands.
  • Wedding day dawned and I was with my mother and bridesmaid fitting my headdress on when the phone rang in my hotel bedroom.  It was the car hire firm to say in the heavy rain one of their cars had broken down on its way.   It seemed to be left to me to suggest that the one car would have to do a double journey for the wedding party and of course I was late at the church.  We never did get any money back on that missing car.
  • As for photographs, all taken at the reception - do you notice somebody's trouser legs above our heads - it was a portrait of Edinburgh writer Robert Louis Stevenson.   Not quite the composition you expect from a professional photographer who had been recommended to us. 

 My aunt, Neil's parents, the happy couple (at last!), my parents and my uncle.
On a more lighthearted note, I have a memory of the policeman on traffic duty on Princes Street saluting me in the wedding car  as we waited to turn.  I felt like the Queen. 

As for the wedding itself, I got what I wanted - a musical service, performede by a minister whom my family had known for many years. Just for the record -  Mozart's Trumpet Tune and Air, Praise my Soul the King of Heaven with choir descant, Love Divine all Love Excelling to the arrangement by Charles Stanford,  choir anthem 23rd Psalm sung to Brother James' Air, and a triumphant exit  to Vidor's Toccata.   I was very happy!. 

Incidents did not end there.  From the reception we took a taxi back to Neil's parent's house to collect the car safely locked in the garage  (away  from any idea his brother may have  of decorating it).  We drove to our honeymoon hotel in a rainstorm and then Neil discovered he had come away with the garage key - so we had to drive back to Edinburgh the next morning to return it. 
Still we can look back now and laugh,  We  proved love  conquered all, as we  celebrated our Ruby (40th wedding anniversary), in 2011 with a holiday in Austria, looking older and greyer, but on a much sunnier day.




  1. I need to follow your lead Sue and record my wedding memories. Loved your post. The fashions in your family group photos are very similar to ours from 1970.

    1. Many thanks, Jill, for your comment. I would recommend recording your memories as it was a post that was great fun to write. I look forward to reading your account.

  2. What wonderful memories Sue, and i wouldn't worry too much about that leg, at least it was a famous one!

    1. Thank you, Nell, for taking the time to comment. I had a laugh at your reference to "that leg"!

  3. Such a lovely story Sue. I enjoyed every moment of it and, like Jill, it has prompted me to start thinking it's time for me to write about my own...
    Love your satin shoes :-) ... and you dress is beautiful. It looks very much like the one I designed (except mine had scalloped hem, neck line and short scalloped sleeves) but same slim style... and same long veil :-) It only got half made and never worn but that's another story for another day.
    Your Wedding Day sure was a day to remember re: all the drama but what a delightful and happy ending. Congratulations to you both on such a long and happy marriage.

    1. Thank you, Catherine, for your lovely comment. I am pleased you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing the post.

  4. People pray for sun on a wedding day, hanging rosaries on the clothesline outside; but I also heard rain is a good omen.
    Go figure!!
    Turned out alright for you though.


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