This week is my Nanna’s 94th Birthday. On the 3rd of July it would have been my grandparents 69th wedding anniversary too. So in honour of them I wanted to share this blog post with you.
So let me introduce Joy Wight, who is the only Nanna I know who is an active user of Facebook, thanks to her iPad, and who emailed me this extract from her memoir about her wedding day and honeymoon. She is offically a techno-Nan!
July 3rd. 1948 – The Wedding at Last.
“My parents had been disappointed when we said that we wanted the wedding to be held in Birmingham. It was not the custom to wed away from your home town, and I know Mother would have liked her Church friends to have been at the celebrations. We wanted my University friends to be present before they all dispersed to jobs, and John wanted his Youth Association and Moseley Church friends to be present, and of course it was halfway between Edinburgh and Reading.
I bought some white satin-backed material for my wedding dress and some material for the bridesmaids dresses. Because I was not near home and the bridesmaids were in Birmingham, it seemed only sensible to get a local dressmaker to make the gowns. In retrospect this must have been terribly hurtful to my Mother, after all the wonderful clothes she had made for me in the past. How thoughtless one is when young and fancy free!
We booked rooms at a Moseley hotel for the two sets of parents, the Osbornes (friends of Mum and Dad) and myself for the evening before the wedding, and some theatre tickets for them after we had gone away. This was another faux pas. I booked for a very modern play – next to no scenery and a psychological plot – which upset the mentally frail Harold Osborne! I did not learn about that until much later.
Jim, who was to be best man, cycled down to Birmingham from Edinburgh and stayed at the caravan for the night. John had borrowed a jacket to wear with his scout kilt, as clothes were still on coupons and when a man was demobbed from the services he could have either a suit or a casual jacket and grey trousers. John wore his Harris Tweed jacket and flannels for years.
So the great day arrived, and all went according to plan, a lovely service conducted by our friend Rev. Mulholland and reception afterwards in the church hall for about 60 people and with outside caterers. The wine was provided by Grandpa Hall who had been laying it up for years for such an occasion. (As I was 25 when I married he must have begun to give up hope.) He heard the caterers say what excellent port it was and was highly annoyed when they took all the remaining bottles away after the wedding.
Compared with modern weddings the whole affair was over quite early. There was no evening entertainment. Many guests had to make long journeys home and we were due to get to the Grand Hotel in York for our first stop on the way to Scotland. When we arrived it was a large almost empty hotel and they had finished serving meals and could only provide a few sandwiches . By this time we were very hungry- one rarely eats much at ones own reception! Our only recourse was to go out into the empty litter ridden town and get fish and chips.-Never mind the room was good and the bed big and comfy! -£1-12s-0d B&B for two.
Next day we left early, using some of our petrol coupons to go up to North Berwick where we were booked in for a week at a little boarding house run by a couple known to Mum and Dad Scotland. lt cost us £9-19s.0d for the week full-board -iron bedstead and capock mattress! We toured around and visited some distant relatives of Johns one day for ‘high tea’. Another day we dropped in on an N.A.B.C. youth conference in Edinburgh . We were really obliged to do this as we had obtained the petrol coupons on the grounds of attending the conference. As you can imagine we were not in there long!”
I love this insight into my grandparents wedding and honeymoon. So very different from what we are used to today. 25 was considered an old bride, no evening reception and their honeymoon was not on somewhere exotic.
Thank you Nanna for writing this piece and letting me share it with everyone. x