Wedding nuptials of great interest to community
“The chief topic of interest in Dunedin this past week was the marriage of two very popular and widely known young people. It took place at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Metheral, on Wednesday evening, May 17th. The bride was Miss Fern Elizabeth, their oldest daughter, one of Dunedin’s most talented and attractive young ladies. The groom’s name needs only to be mentioned, for George Scriver has filled quite a large space, both in business and social life of the burg.”
The above quote comes from The Creemore Star of May 25th, 1916, and showed the pride local communities felt for their young people and the interest they took in wedding nuptials. And since this is the traditional time of year for weddings (although not during a pandemic) it seems fitting to look at weddings from the past.
Of the accounts of the twenty-three weddings I read about in the years 1900-1930 almost all were held in the homes of the bride’s parents. Only two were held in churches and two were held in the Presbyterian manse in Creemore. A couple who were married in the manse were Annie McArthur and John Blackburn. They were married one February evening in 1925, left on the morning train on their honeymoon, and had their festivities a week or so later in the bride’s home.
In most cases a great deal of care went into the decorations in the home. The marriage ceremony was often held under an arch of evergreens. In one case, the McArthur-Somerville wedding, the arch “was festooned with pink and white ribbon and adorned with lilies.”
It appears that many of the homes had a piano or pump organ. Very frequently the wedding report detailed that the wedding march was played by a relative or friend.
A point of interest was always the bride’s bouquet. For a while lilies-of-the-valley were popular to complement orchids and roses. One bride had yellow chrysanthemums to match her gown which was trimmed with yellow satin. In many cases carnations were chosen and a few times the bride’s veil was secured with orange blossoms. No information in The Creemore Star indicates there was a florist shop but perhaps the flowers were shipped here by train.
Of greatest interest was the description of the bride’s gown, all sounding very beautiful. In some cases the bride did not wear the traditional white gown but a dress that could perhaps be worn for special events in the future. One of these was a dress of Gertie Bulmur, a navy blue silk. She was the bride of Russell Metheral.
A traditional gown was the usual choice, blue being chosen as often as white. Elsie Decker, the bride of Edmund Madill “presented a charming appearance attired in satin Marquesette with a bridal veil.” Hazel Wilkinson, the bride of Clement Penelton, “wore a dress of blue silk Crepe-de-chene and Georgette, embroidered in white with pearl beads.” Pale blue silk Georgette with shadow lace and white streamers was the choice of Sarah Ellen Viola Thurston when she wed Victor Stewart Wilson in 1925.
Of importance almost as great as the bridal gown was that of the going away outfit. This outfit would be of use in the days to come as best. Ann Eugenia Boyes wore a travelling suit of bronze green with kid trimmings and a black beaver hat with yellow plumes as she departed with her new husband, Dr. George Norman Bailey. Plumes on hats were very popular but Mabel Walker chose a simpler hat to match her navy blue serge suit and furs. Her husband was Joseph Day.
The honeymooners usually left on the local train, often the 4195 which was travelling southward.
Of special interest were the couples who motored to the station in cars, which we now see as very old fashioned and over roads we now view as impassible. Ironically, now, newly married couples often choose to ride in a carriage drawn by horses.
Traditionally in the local area friends, neighbours, and relatives gathered shortly after the honeymoon to celebrate the marriage with a bounteous meal, dancing, socializing and the giving of gifts. Such was the occasion for Mr. and Mrs. Clement Penelton at Lavender. Seventy people were present in the farmhouse.
For the dancing the furniture was moved out of one of the rooms and the musicians were set up in a corner. Without modern entertainment as we know it in the twenty-first century many people spent their spare time playing a musical instrument. It wasn’t difficult to find musicians for a dance. Old and young alike joined in, the children having as much fun as their elders, and no one called it quits until very late.