Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Here Comes the Bride!

The day after my anniversary celebration I spoke at the monthly tea at Shore Pointe Village Assisted Living.  Since it was June, traditionally the most popular month for weddings, the theme was "Here Comes the Bride."

The popularity of June weddings goes back to the Middle Ages when couples were still somewhat clean from their annual spring bath, and flowers were in full bloom to mask any lurking odors. Yikes! ;-)  A tour guide in England shared that theory back in 2001, and some things you just never forget!  It resurfaced in my research, along with other explanations.

I took my mother's white slipper satin wedding gown to display.  She was married in October 1939, and her gown kept better than mine.  My veil and detachable train are still in very good condition, but I stored my gown in a plastic cleaner's bag which caused it to yellow.  I only displayed a photo of my wedding gown at the program.

~ My Mother and Father ~

~ My Father-in-law and Mother-in-law, March 1944 ~

Although Anne of Brittany wore a white wedding dress for her marriage to Louis XII of France in 1499, Queen Victoria is credited with making the white wedding dress popular when she married Prince Albert in 1840.  

Before that time brides hardly ever bought a special wedding dress, opting to wear their best dress, as long as it wasn't green, which was thought to be unlucky.  And many brides after 1840 continued to wear their best dress as evidenced in the 1923 wedding photo below.

~ My hubby's maternal grandparent's ~

I discussed the saying, "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Sixpence in Your Shoe," and I took the 1943 sixpence that I wore in my shoe on my wedding day.  It was given to me by my aunt.

I shared many wedding traditions [an hour's worth, since that's how long the program lasts], and I found the tradition of wedding cakes to be very interesting.  A wedding cake was originally a luxury item and sign of social status - the bigger the cake, the higher the social status. Queen Victoria's wedding cake weighed a whopping 300 pounds.  In the early 19th century refined and white sugar was still very expensive.  Only wealthy families could afford pure white frosting. Queen Victoria's white icing on her wedding cake was given a new name that still exists today - 'royal icing.'

The most traditional cake flavor in the U.S. is classic white cake with buttercream frosting. My wedding cake had white buttercream frosting but the cake was cherry nut, and in keeping with tradition we froze the top layer to eat on our first wedding anniversary.

When I was a teenager, I'd take a piece of wedding cake home from the reception to put under my pillow to sleep on so I could dream about my future husband.  It never happened, and was a messy tradition!  ;-)

~ My Wedding Cake ~

~ My parent's ceramic wedding cake figurines ~

I shared highlights about three famous Michigan brides from times gone by - Clara Ford, April 1888, Eleanor Ford, 1916, and Frances Dodge 1938.  Interestingly, all three brides were married in a home - albeit very elegant homes.  

Before the program concluded I gave the ladies an opportunity to talk about their weddings. Most had church weddings, and one lady shared that after the church ceremony they all went back to her parent's house for the reception, where all the furniture had been removed from the living room, parlor and dining room.   It reminded me of the 1991 movie, Father of the Bride.

It was a fun program and one the ladies really seemed to enjoy.   Now I'm preparing for my next program on July 24th which will be about prominent ladies on the Titanic.


  1. These are great monthly teas, and what fun they would be to do! I'm going to have to think about this for my area here in PA!

  2. Your mother's dress is beautiful, and I'm sure the ladies enjoyed seeing it and your photos and memorabilia, as well as talking about their own weddings.

  3. What a fun event. I had the bright idea one year (the first year our church hosted a mother-daughter tea party for mother's day) and asked the parish if they would bring their wedding dresses for a fashion show. I began by recruiting teen girls and when I saw the size of the dresses, I had to go with skinny 10-12 year olds! I was unprepared for the quantity of the dresses, too. Many girls had to model 1, 2, 3 or even 4 dresses. You could certainly tell the decade of the wedding just from looking at the dresses! My two favorites were suits, worn at the courthouse or the minister's parlor for wartime weddings. They were so elegant and both had yellowed to a wonderful light, creamy color. I had a 14 year old who was 5'6" and weighed about 90 pounds (and she had rushed in from a track meet). When we opened the door and presented her in the simple creamy yellow suit with a small hat and face veil, the room hushed. So simple and so beautiful. The event created new memories for so many of the participants!

    I bet your tea left the ladies talking for days and days.


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