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Friday, 12 August 2016

Wedding Fashions - Part One: Sepia Saturday Week 3

Wedding Fashions (1865-1938) is the theme of my latest post in  Sepia Saturday's August theme of Love and Marriage,  with photographs from England, Scotland, New Zealand and the United States, including grateful contributions from my two (third) cousins who first made contact through my blog. 


My cousin Stuart's great grandmother was Isabel Edward of Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  Her sister Jessie married William Dower and they are pictured here with their respective parents.  William   was appointed by the London Missionary Society as a Wesleyan Missionary in South Africa and he and his new wife Jesse sailed  there  shortly after their wedding.   In March 1870, William and Jesse set out on an ox wagon journey to East Griqualand and the town of  Kokstad, where he was asked to take on the role of pastor.  The original of this photograph is in the Kokstad Museum. 

Unless the bride came from a wealthy family, it was generally not the custom to  have a special dress for the wedding, but to wear  the finest the bride owned.  For her wedding to Price Albert in 1840, Queen Victoria wore a white dress and the early photographs taken of the occasion helped to popularize the custom of a white bridal gown.   

An elegant portrait of Sarah Alice Oldham on her wedding to George Butler in Blackpool, Lancashire  and what a magnificent hat!    Sarah came from a family of carters and coalmen down three generations and George also worked in the business. 

Another Oldham wedding, but this time in New Zealand as James William Oldham married Edith Keymer.  I do like the simple classic lines of Edith's dress, but here is the style for magnificent bouquets. 

James'  parents Alfred and Sarah Oldham emigrated to  New Zealand in 1906, where they ran a wholesale tobacconists and stationery business on Karangahape Road,  Auckland Following James death the family moved to Sydney Australia where his descendants still live today. 

A simpler style for the wartime wedding for my husband's great aunt Violet Hibbert, daughter of a miner. She  married Frank King in South Shields, County Durham.


The wedding of Florence Adelaide Mason to Charles Urstadt in New Jersey, USA.  
She is wearing  such a distinctive  headdress that I wondered if it had any links to Charles' German background. And again what huge bouquets! 

 Florence (1898-1963)  was the eleventh  child of James Mason and Alice Rawcliffe - my great grandmother's sister.  They emigrated, with six children  from Fleetwood,   Lancashire to New York City  in 1888, where they had a further five children, before settling in Jamesburg, Middlesex, New Jersey.  


Beatrice Oldham (sister of Sarah in the second photograph)  married Jack Clarke in 1919 in Blackpool, Lancashire.   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.


A local  newspaper report gave an  over-the-top account of the dress at my great aunt Jennie Danson's wedding to Beadnell (Bi) 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."

The wedding of my uncle Fred to Fanmces Green in Leicester in ghe English Midlands.  My father is the rather stern looking man on the far left, carrying the trilby (or panama?) hat, with,  I think,  his brother Charles behind him.  My grandmother is in the cloche hat next to the bridegroom and unfortunately I have been unable  to identify my grandfather - he could be the man hidden at the back. Fred's sister could well be one of the bridesmaids and I have no idea who the young boy is.  I presume the older couple on the right of the photograph are the bride's parents.   This is one of very few  photographs  I have of  the Weston family, prior to my parent's own marriage. 

The wedding of Albert Leslie Williams and Hilda Florence Coombs in London, the parents ff my cousin's Stuart's wife.  It is two year's after my great aunt's wedding above and in another part of the country, but Dutch style hats for the little bridesmaids are still in fashion. 
The wedding of Henry Robinson and Florence Riddell in Blackpool Lancashir,  with Elsie Oldham (niece of Sarah and Beatrice above)  the second figure on the left - I presume as chief bridesmaid.   I feel rather sorrow for the girl on the right on  her own, looking rather spare.  
 A low key April wedding for my parents John Weston and Kathleen Danson  at St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. My grandmother Weston  is weeing her fox fur a popular accessory in the 1920's-1950's

 A telegram sent to my parents on their wedding day.  

Part Two of the Love and Marriage series will look at Wedding Fashions 1941-1971 

In Case You Missed


  1. In the first picture I'm not sure which woman Jessie is, but the gal standing on the left has one tiny waist! Sarah Oldham's hat is magnificent as you say, but her hairdo beneath it is also quite magnificent on its own! Edith Oldham's bouquet is one of the largest I've ever seen. It obviously weighed several pounds. Whew! Actually, large bouquets seemed to be quite the thing in most of the photos you've shared. And what a wonderful collection of them you've chosen to share. I'm waiting, now, for the '41-'71 batch! Your Mum and Dad's wedding photo, by the way, is very much like my Mom and Dad's in 1941 in that Mom wore a light blue suit with silver fox fur trim (actually a knit dress with a suit jacket) and Dad wore a dark suit jacket over white slacks.

  2. A marvelous collection full of fashion history!

  3. The fox was almost the trade mark of Dutch Queen Wilhelmina. She abdicated in 1948.

  4. Most interesting history of weddings you have here. The little Dutch hats are adorable and the 1929 newspaper description of that dress is delightfully antique. Lovely how the little girls dresses echoed that of the bride with the ruffles.

  5. What a great selection of wedding photos over the years. Very interesting to see the change in hat styles over the years. The 1931 hats on the little girls are unique.

  6. A great medley of wedding fashions. I noticed the rise of the bride's hemline. The 1865 dresses used yards of fabric suspended from a hoop engineered from whalebone. Quite a change over 70 years.

  7. Amazing that you have been able to gather together all these lovely old wedding family photographs, especially the one from 1865.

  8. Great family photos and I love the flowers - just stunning.

  9. Wonderful photos and descriptions and that telegram is quite a treasure. I have one sent to my parents for their wedding too.

  10. I think I like the dress in 1910 best. The little Dutch inspired hats are adorable on both sets of little girls. My grandmother had one of those fox furs too. Before my time, I think I would have been leary of those little eyes.

  11. Sue, what a stunning family history via wedding photos. Great commentary too --- made it so interesting.


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