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Monday, 22 August 2016

Wedding Fashions - Part Two : Sepia Saturday 4

Wedding Fashions (1941-1971) 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.

Dorothy Lilla Oldham (1915-1989) married  Desmond Stacey in New Zealand in 1941. A branch of the Oldham family had emigrated to the country in 1906.   Look at the fancy flounces, ribbons and rosettes on the bridesmaids' skirts, echoed in the frilled puff sleeves.   Dorothy and Desmond had seven children, the eldest son, Peter, born in Fiji.


A magnificent array of dresses for the  wartime  wedding in New Jersey of Ruth A. Urtstadt  and Edward J. LInke -  the parents of my American third cousin Bonny - descendants from my Lancashire Rawcliffe family.  I doubt if you would see anything like this in Britain then,  when clothing was rationed.

A wintry austerity Britain in December 1946 when my uncle Charles Weston married his bride Vera.  I am the tiny shivering bridesmaid, dressed, so I was told,  in dusky pink, and holding a big posy, with my elegant mother standing  behind.   My mother often used to relate how difficult it was to get shoes to match and she ended up dyeing them - clothes rationing continued in Britain until 1949.  This was a happy day for the family as Charles had suffered harsh experiences as  a prisoner of war in the Far East. 

 A beautiful portrait of the happy couple  - my third cousin Stuart Smith  and his wife Jennifer Williams  who married in formal style May 1963


The wedding of my mother's cousin Irene Danson  to  Raymond Pickup in Blackpool. A typical 60's look for the bridesmaids with princess-line dresses, short  skirts, and bouffant hair styles.  

Neil and I married in Edinburgh at St. Peter's Episcopal Church.   Here is the family group with my parents on the  right, Neil's parents  on the left and my aunt and uncle (my mother's sister and brother) at each end.  My dressmaker mother made my dress and her own outfit.   

The omens were not good on our 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.   

A few nights before,  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? 

Then the evening  before,  we had a wedding rehearsal at the churchOn the way, with my mother and aunt in Neil's car, we had a blow out on the main A1 road 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.  He had to spend the morning of his wedding getting the tyre repaired ahead of us driving  north to the Highlands for our honeymoon.

Wedding day dawned and I was with my mother and bridesmaid fitting my headdress on,  when the phone rang  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 in the group picture?  The legs came from   a portrait of Edinburgh writer Robert Louis Stevenson.   Not quite the composition you expect from a professional photographer who had been recommended to us.  

Still we survived - and have just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary - and it rained again! 

 In Case You Missed in this August series


  1. What a wonderful collection of wedding photos! I am hoping to find wedding photos in Sarah Howe's scrapbooks, but none have surfaced so far. I'll just have to enjoy yours!

  2. You looked beautiful. I didn't notice the legs until you mentioned it...then it became obvious. Now, you can wipe those legs out with a photo editing program, but I think the photo would lose some of it's charm.

  3. I didn't notice the legs either! Sounds like lots of portents against your marriage. I'm glad you soldiered through and it turned out for the good.

  4. A great fun post! I'd say you got all the bad stuff out of the way BEFORE your wedding which would, of course, be the way to do it. Because Kit and I lived so far apart, I planned our wedding in two and a half weeks and somehow - amazingly - absolutely everything fell into place and the wedding and reception went off without a hitch. I don't believe that's exactly why we're still together and doing well 48 years later, but it was an advantageous beginning - and it was a sunny day, too - though the wedding took place at 7:00 in the evening. :) By the way, I'm a little confused about that second photo? Was Bonnie one of those brides, or was that an advertisement?

  5. With apologies, Gail, for any confusion. The wedding was of Bonny's parents. I know all the girls are dressed rather alike as if brides, but it is no advertisement. I was very lucky to receive a collection of family photographs from Bonny (my third cousin).

  6. Yes, an unusual photo that one and worth clicking to enlarge. I expect the bridesmaids were all in a pretty colour so as to be different to the bride, but the veil as a bridesmaid’s headdress is somewhat unusual I’d say. I enjoyed all the photos, and your description of your own wedding omens - which came to nought. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary; we’re four years behinfd you.

  7. That American wedding looks over the top, or OTT,as they say in current jargon! My own wedding photos were a disappointment and a lot have since turned orange. I prefer some snaps that were taken by friends and relatives, and the colours there are fine.

  8. Thank you to you all for taking time to comment. This was a very enjoyable series to take part in and I am pleased you enjoyed my contributions.


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