1924 Vintage Wedding: Emily & Richard

Way back when I started APW (it’s funny that 2008 seems so long ago now), one of my goals was to prove, once and for all, that simple weddings were traditional. Or, in other words, to prove that all this nonsense about but-you-have-to-have-it-it’s-tradition, was just that: nonsense. And then I wrote a whole book about that very same subject, which you all will get to read come January.

So I’m beside myself with glee to share Emily’s, of Emily Takes Photos, Great-Grandmother Emily’s wedding from 1924. First, let’s all swoon over her grey wedding dress and her adorable hat and flowers. And then, let’s chortle with delight over how simple their invitations were:

Indeed. Simple and traditional and proper. And yes, you caught that. At the bottom of the invitation it indicates that the reception will be, “At Home.” Traditional indeed.

But the best part of all of this? The newspaper announcement, that starts with, “Simplicity will characterize the wedding this morning of Miss Emily Mon…” it continues, “A luncheon at the Mon home will follow the service at the church. This will be simple in keeping with the charming dignity of the wedding…”

And don’t even get me started on, “The two young matrons of honor at today’s ceremony were also recent brides. In their early girlhood, Miss Mon, Mrs. Dietze and Mrs. Nicolaides agreed to serve as bridesmaids or matrons of honor for each other and this morning the romantic contract is fulfilled in its entirety.” I know. Anne of Green Gables and I will be over here with the smelling salts, trying to pull ourselves together.

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  • Awwwww. So very lovely. The newspaper cutout is the best. No seriously, I love the way it is written, the description, everything :)
    Want to jump or something, this makes me happy.

  • I love this so much. There are no words. That newspaper clipping!! I wish they still did those.

    • Newspaper announcements today are so dry compared to older ones like this.

    • In some places, you can still write your own. My guy’s mom has requested an engagement pic so that she can put an announcement in the hometown paper where he grew up.

  • This made me all choked up! Anne of Green Gables indeed.

  • Oh my goodness, I adore this.

    (Although, of course, lavish receptions in castles, which are extrememly popular in Scotland thanks to us having an abundance of castles, are also traditional. As long as you’re an ACTUAL PRINCESS. Which is the part that most people seem to have overlooked.)

    • meg

      Ohhh, did you see that note from the wealthy british Mother-In-Law to her future Daughter-In-Law where she said, “You don’t get married in a castle if it’s not *your* castle. It’s brash, tasteless, celebrity like behavior.”

      I know, I know, not true exactly but still hilarious.

      • Oh, I saw it alright! A lot of what the mother said I agreed with (it was mostly just good manners) but the tone of it was mind-boggling – can you imagine how tense their mother-daughter-in-law relationship must be?? Awkwaaard.

      • bec

        What letter? This I must read, it sounds awesome!

  • Jennifer

    Love this! The newspaper clipping is brilliant.

    I think there might be a slight misinterpretation on the invitation though – I believe that’s actually an announcement. The “at home” designation in the corner would not refer to the location of the reception, but to where the couple would be residing after the wedding. I can’t quite make it out, but the middle line appears to be “after June first” or similar, i.e. after this date, the new couple will be at home and able to receive callers and letters of congratulation at this address.

    I point this out not to be persnickety, but because I think this nearly-lost practice is awfully charming. ( Though not quite as charming as noting that a “romantic contract has been fulfilled” by childhood friends serving as each others’ bridal attendants as they vowed long ago.)

    • I agree. The “At Home” section in the bottom left is almost certainly where the couple will be living (and hence where to send cards or gifts) after the wedding.

    • Another Thea

      Yup. Announcement for sure. But still wonderfully charming, and the invitation wouldn’t have been much more complicated.

    • meg

      Oh, yes, that’s a version of the “At Home” card, as they were called. (We almost included them in our invitations.) Though the wedding reception did take place at home as well.

      • Kayakgirl73

        Yep, that exactly. An announcement and at home information letting callers know where and when to call. I used to love to read old etiquette books from like the 50’s or before. The library in my former small town only seemed to have old ones. Fascinating. I think I still have an old Amy Vanderbilt one that I bought used at a book sale. I think it’s from the 50’s.

      • Another Thea

        Yay! At home wedding receptions–my favorite!

        P.S. Any more wise and wonderful wedding graduates who had church/ fellowship hall receptions? I can only remember one or two, and I’m dying for more inspiration!

        • meg

          Here is the section on the site, though clearly I need to add more posts to it… we’ve got more of them for sure!

        • Ang

          I had one, (church basement reception) but alas I’m not an APW Graduate. Meg is it OK if I post?

          • meg

            Link away!

        • liz

          we did!

  • Jamie

    I love reading old newspaper announcements! My maternal grandparents wedding announcement was great, and totally debunks the myth of the matching bridesmaids (my grandma’s friends basically wore their best dresses, in a wide variety of colors and lengths. Lots of dress details back then). They also had a cake and punch reception, which is now deemed “cheap and tacky” (whatever, have you seen punch bowls from back then? Cut glass, and beautiful. I’m sure it was lovely).

  • What a delightful wedding, how lovely to have those kinds of records for your family. I absolutely love this line “this will be simple in keeping with the charming dignity of the wedding”

  • Dang.

    Change up the font and basically everything it says, and those should have been my wedding invitations right. there.

    Also, more of today’s newpaper clippings should include the words “lace frock.” The world would seem a happier place…

  • Liz Lemonade

    My paternal grandparents got married by a one-armed judge shortly after meeting. My maternal grandmother wore a suit to her wedding. They had only $100 between the two of them– no house, no car, so they spent a week in a hotel, and then moved in with his parents to work on their dairy farm. My grandparents’ stories remind me that no matter what other people say, simplicity and “charming dignity” are laudable goals for a wedding, and being broke is nothing to be ashamed of.

    • k

      I love that story. I have been contemplating this recently — as in, what the heck did people do when it was nonstandard to live together first, even for a day? Did everyone just move the *day* of their wedding? I can’t believe that. Nor can I believe that half of every couple would have had a place big enough for a second to just move right in, either. Or that they could afford to pay double rent for a place big enough for two AND a place for one up until the wedding. Sure, more people married younger and lived at home until they did so, but I’m sure there are lots of interesting stories to be told.

      • Another Thea

        I’m sure the interesting story bit is true!

        As for the mechanics of the house/moving, it seems to depend. If I remember my history correctly, most girls/ women lived at home until they married, and particularly if they were less than wealthy, accumulated some possessions (like linens and whatnot) to stock their future home. (My mom says back in the say, Scandinavian girls spent a significant amount of time knitting SOCKS for their future family, which I think is hilarious.) I think if you were wealthy, the marriage settlement/ dowry/ whatever was made over to your future husband in part for your maintenance after the marriage and in part to help furnish the home that you would be moving into. In general, it was the husband’s responsibility to buy or build a new home (hut, castle) and make it ready for you.

        Especially if she were not well off, the bride’s possessions wouldn’t actually be all that much, and so it wasn’t uncommon for, say, a cart to follow the couple to their new home with stuff. Or it was donated (and moved in) by well-wishers beforehand. Or moved in mostly beforehand, with the last few bits coming with the bride (remember the Little House on the Prairie books?)

        • My Grandparents got married at the court house. A friend drove them to the court house but then had to go to work so they walked home. On the way home they stopped by a hardware store where my Grandpa’s friend worked and the friend gave them a frying pan as a wedding gift. So they walked home with their frying pan and were married 43+ years.

          • FawMo

            This is the best thing I’ve heard in a while! Thanks for sharing.

  • Yes! The at home wedding and/or reception is incredibly traditional. A couple of years ago when I was doing research for an exhibition on wedding dresses, I was involved in researching the women that wore them and whatever I could find out about their weddings. Again and again, it turned out both rich and poor women in Chicago were having home weddings and they were small and simple.

  • I thought I was being subversive by getting married at my parents’ home, but apparently I am being very traditional! Thanks for sharing Emily!

    • meg

      As my book will tell you ;)

      • I’m going to buy a copy for every friend that might potentially get married in the entire future!

        • Absolutely brilliant and ovinmocerg many of the young stars of the overnight Succ. Sir McCartney is alive and kicking. Nice versions of Beatles and Wings songs old and well presented. I have always been reluctant when it comes to making new old material, but this is nothing, but much to the band and its entrance. This live DVD turns off the light of Scorsesee and Stones.

  • How absolutely charming – all of it! I wish I could go back in time because I love all of the details of the announcments and the clipping. I’m definitely an old-fashioned girl at heart and have always thought that Anne and I would have been bosom friends. ;)

  • liz


    best vintage wedding EVER.

    • meg

      I know. (Except my parents, obviously ;)

  • I adore it! And your Anne of Green Gables comment cracked me. Hilarious. I need to go watch the movie now.

  • My two favorite words from the announcement: “charming dignity.” What more could you ask for in a wedding?

  • Andrea

    After my cousin’s elaborate, wonderful-yet-overwhelming wedding, my grandma and I had a long talk about weddings—how in her day receptions were cake and punch at the parents’ house. She didn’t understand why there were so many events for my cousin’s wedding; politely declining to attend the large rehearsal dinner. She was so supportive in hearing about our plans for a “different” kind of wedding. I think she was the first person I really told! Simple weddings ARE traditional; grandparents completely understand, while friends/family my age are confused by it!

    My grandmother and this post are so encouraging—“Simplicity will characterize the wedding.” Wedding planning mantra.

  • melissa

    Love the Anne of Green Gables reference! Actually, I think I’ll see if I can get the first few books on kindle to re-read on my upcoming vacation to Greece. That would be heaven!

  • I loved this so much, thanks Emily for sharing. It made me all weepy eyed and sentimental…that news clipping! Love these vintage weddings.

  • Meg

    This is wonderful! Though an avid reader, I don’t comment too often on APW, but I loved this post (especially the part about the matrons of honor) too much not to today. Thank you so much for sharing your great-grandparents’ “simple and dignified” wedding with us, Emily.

  • This vintage wedding is exactly the sort of thing that the phrase “warms the cockles of your heart” was invented for!

  • Love love love this wedding and everything about it! Is it bad that the first thing I thought of when I read the title of the post was: “Richard and Emily!! That’s the grandparents in The Gilmore Girls!”?? Anyway, great wedding!

  • “Charming Dignity” <— this is my wedding concept as of today. And that invitation might be the best one I've ever seen.

  • Ashley

    As I am currently reading the Anne of Green Gables series, this couldn’t have come at a better moment! So absolutely charming!

  • 1. Props, Meg, for the Anne reference. My great-grandparents were from Prince Edward Island and I have spent summer vacations there since I was born, so you can imagine what impact Anne Blythe neé Shirley has had on my life! When people asked how my husband and I got engaged after 3 months and knew it was right, I just said “He’s my Gilbert.”

    2. Love this wedding to bits! Now you’ve got me pondering a vintage wedding submission for one or both sets of grandparents, circa 1950. :)

    • “He’s my Gilbert” – I love it. When I was dating guys before I met my husband, my mother would use Gilbert as a measuring stick (as in, he’s great, but is he your Gilbert?).