When I put out a call for weddings from years gone by last week, LPC over at Privilege sent me the story of her Great Aunt’s wedding. It’s not just this wedding that tugs at my heart strings, but the life the couple had. It reminds me that weddings are not about the flowers we hold, or the ribbons we tie, they are about the lives we will lead. LPC noted that weddings reflect the eras in which they take place, and that practical weddings have a lot to do with the times that we live in. In the very same way, Priscilla and Stanford’s wedding reflected their era:
My great-aunt Priscilla and her husband Stanford were married in 1937. How different from the Age of Innocence wedding of a different generation.The turn-of-the-century was a time of exuberance not unlike our own recent millennial hoopla. Weddings reflected the era, cups running over, gala celebrations, excess. Again, not unlike our recent doings.
By 1937, the country had experienced a World War and a Great Depression. The proverbial and terrifying drums of World War II could be heard from Europe. Although my family kept their resources through the Crash, Priscilla’s wedding was a sober affair. And Stanford, known as Bill, went to fight not too long thereafter.
Although they had planned to live in New York, the couple settled in New Jersey when Bill returned, living on part of Priscilla’s family property. The part with cows. Bill ran the dairy farm, not out of necessity but because he liked the work. They never had children. I never asked them why, and only remember that in an unasked way I gathered that Bill’s war experience had left him unable. Emotionally or physically I could not say. Bill and Priscilla died within months of each other, 40 years after they married.
But in 1937 they knew none of what was to come. Priscilla carried a lovely bouquet. The reception was given at the family home. And, adds the Times, the bridesmaids “wore blue velvet frocks and carried white gladioluses.”