Priscilla & Stanford: 1937

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.”

Pictures: Bride, New York Times. Accouterments: St. Bernard’s, Orchid Talk, Flickr, Project Wedding

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  • Practical and timeless! I actually love that all the sisters got to wear the dress. I wanted to create the same feel with my dress or veil so I can pass it to someone too.

  • Meg

    I know I loved that too…. And why not? A wedding dress sitting in a closet is no good to anyone.

  • She wore her sisters’ dress! I love it!! (I’m biased, though, b/c I wore my sister’s dress too)

  • I love heirloom clothing for special occasions! My family has a christening gown that every single child has worn. The same with a simple white gown that was worn by all the women in our family for First Communion (although, as a chubby little girl, they had to do some altering to fit me in the dress). I feel like wedding dresses are another prime opportunity to start a similar tradition, which is not done very often.

  • I like this feature, it’s like story time :)

  • Love, love, love this. More please.

    When I see my grandfather at my wedding next week, I’ll try to ask if he gives me permission to send you his wedding to my grandmother (while doing it discreetly so I don’t make his (second) wife uncomfortable…)

  • Very cool!

  • It is all about the times/generations/social class!

    When I was growing up every wedding we attended was held in the town fire hall and served family style food on every table. Decorations consisted of accordion bells and a “Tim and Tina” banner hung behind the head table. Nothing was extravagant or ritzy.

    Either weddings got really crazy in the late 90s/2000s or else I just came from a really poor area,lol!

  • LPC

    Thank you Meg. My great-aunt and uncle were very kind to me. It’s moving to see that their wedding has meaning to others even now.

  • Simply fantastic! This is so grounding to read about – this is what weddings are about! The start of a story together. I can’t wait to read more like it.

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    Very touching. I agree with Cate, it’s just like story time. I like story time.

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