Vintage Wedding: Linda & Bill, 1979

Today’s vintage wedding comes courtesy of Kristy of Moodeous Photography‘s parents. I don’t know what it is about these decades old weddings that makes me cry like a baby, but they do. And this one did particularly. So if you’re in your cubicle, be wary of the tears. And without further ado, Kristy’s lovely parents, on their wedding day 32 years ago:

Linda had chosen Bill long before they even spoke. She was a member of the EMT squad in her hometown and he was a firefighter. She had spotted him on the job out on calls  and noticed that he was a pretty handsome specimen. So she set out to meet this fella with the help of her friends. Assisted by a boyfriend (ex? the details are murky) who recruited my father onto the EMT squad and then by another friend who fixed the schedule so their duties would overlap, my mom laid the ground work for their marriage. But as my Dad describes it, he wasn’t an unsuspecting victim. While a fireman, he recalls, “There was this one call on 232 with an overturned truck and gray matter all over the road where I saw this beautiful blond…” He became an EMT shortly thereafter.

They won’t elaborate much on the proposal (and probably with good reason), but I do know three things: 1) My father did not ask his father in law for my mother’s hand, 2) There was no ring accompanying the proposal, because my father *ahem* had no pockets at the time, and 3) My mother said yes.

My parents were married on Friday March 23, 1979 at 5pm in my mother’s parent’s home. 75 people were in attendance and I’m told it’s a wonder the old farm house floors didn’t fall through the way they creaked and groaned. My mother told my Grandfather she’d only invited 60 guests so he wouldn’t get upset and refuse to hold the wedding at his aging home.

My mother had been married once before in a much more elaborate affair involving a church, a much fancier dress, a sit down dinner and closer to 100 people. From her previous marriage, she also had a 9 year old son, my brother Dan, who was adopted by my father and incorporated into the wedding day. Dan walked my mom down the aisle and gave her away. It’s one of my favorite photos from their wedding day.

In total the wedding cost about $1,000. My mom’s dress cost $100, which adjusting for inflation (according to some wonky calculator on the interwebs) would be roughly $296 now. She walked down the family stairs and through a makeshift aisle of wall to wall people to Peter Paul and Mary’s “The Wedding Song.” A friend played guitar and sang while another friend provided organ accompaniment. They wrote their own vows and had a very simple ceremony. My Dad traded photography skills with a friend, shooting their wedding in exchange for shooting my parents. A friend catered, serving simple appetizers and snacks. Guests came expecting dinner and the food ran out quickly. There was no dancing, but a few traditional wedding conventions such as garter and bouquet toss. My mother chose the cake from a local bakery and my father secretly placed two tiny matchbox cars on it when my grandmother (who objected to something so silly) wasn’t looking. (Edit by Bill: The matchbox cars were a firetruck and an ambulance! Kristy duplicated them when she surprised us with a 25th anniversary party.) When it came to the cake cutting, my Dad remarked “She succumbed to the pressure, I didn’t shove” and my mother retorts “He’ll never let me forget that”. Turns out neither does this photo of my father gently feeding my mother while she smashes cake into his enormous Grizzly Adams beard.

Their wedding album also includes photos from the bachelor and bachelorette parties as well as their honeymoon in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. On their honeymoon they had a heart shaped bathtub and bed! My Dad remembers they slept on the floor because the bed was so horrifically uncomfortable. I love these photos too and had to share.

When I asked what was the most important part of planning the wedding my mother responded confidently, “To get him hook line and sinker.”

Well done mom.

Here they are 29 years later at my brother’s wedding in 2008.

Vintage Photos By: Ivans L. Smith, III
Present Day Photo By: Kristy

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