Friday, December 01, 2006

A DECEMBER WEDDING - 72 YEARS AGO

My mother and father on their wedding day, December 1st, 1934.

I love this picture and often wished it was in color so I could see the dark green velvet of my mother's dress! I always thought the pose was very Gatsby-esque, not your typical wedding portrait. Because my mother was Catholic and my father was Protestant theirs was considered a "mixed marriage". Pre-Vatican II, couples like them were not allowed to be married at the high altar but in a side chapel of the church and the wedding had to be small and private. The photo was taken in the parlor of my mother's family home. I've never much cared for chrysanthemums but these large, mop-headed ones seemed to be in abundance that day!

10 comments:

Annie in Austin said...

So green was always your heritage and your destiny, LostRoses!
What an exquisite photograph- with so much grace in the way pre-war velvet drapes into folds, and the placement of the flowers at lower left and behind your dad. Your parents look very elegant and at ease, and give no nouveax/Gatsby impression for me. I hope they had long, happy years together.

Did it upset you to hear the story of the side chapel? We had some similarly 'mixed marriages' in our family - between growing up during the Great Depression, World War II war and religious differences, most weddings were tiny, some not in the main church, and the brides wore Navy blue suits. That generation was generally mid-to-late twenties when they married.

The next generation, especially my cohort group of cousins, were all married in white dresses with fairly large receptions, and we were ALL still in our teens at the time we were married - quite different from those before us or those who came along later!

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful parents.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

LostRoses said...

Annie, your replies are always so well thought-out and beautifully expressed. I wish I could write like you! As for the Gatsby allusion, it's the pose more than anything else that strikes me about them, or perhaps it's just such a contrast to today's wedding portraits. Or perhaps it conveys an "in your face" attitude, because they really had a tough time getting married with opposition from both families over the religious differences which people hardly think twice about now. She was 22 at the time of the photo, and he was 23.

They did have seven children and the marriage did prosper, though unfortunately my mother died early with young children still in the home. With many years of reflection as a mother behind me, it breaks my heart to think of the agony she must have felt as she knew she was dying and leaving her children.

Oh yes, our generation were certainly teenage brides, white dresses and big receptions! Though my own was fairly small. I also married a non-Catholic and there was no fuss about using a "side altar" which I remember I was surprised over, having grown up with story of my parents' wedding!

My wedding dress, while not quite mini, was certainly above-the-knee. We were teens of the '60s after all. Cool!

Sometimes Unwilling Guru said...

The Wedding photo is gorgeous! It saddens to read that they were not together till late in life but at least there was love!
My own parents were married in a quiet wedding with my Mum in a yellow day dress and all for the fact it was a 'shot gun' weddign,I did the whole white dress thingy for her even though she couldn't attend so in a way I was able to 'correct' it for her.
Thanks for visiting!

Mary said...

LostRoses, thanks for sharing that lovely photo. I enlarged it enough to see they were a very stunning couple. I can't help but always think our parents and grandparents looked so mature in comparison to succeeding generations at the same age.

LostRoses said...

Cathy, time has certainly changed how society looks at relationships, hasn't it? Now you never hear of a "shotgun wedding", and many single women choose to have or adopt a child without a father ever in the picture, and no one blinks an eye! I bet your mother was pleased over your white wedding.

Mary, you're right. I've often marveled over how "adult" the preceding generations looked at comparatively young ages. Actually I don't think there was even the concept of "teenagers" until the 1940's. If you were out of short pants you were an adult, and it seems they dressed and acted the part. Instant maturity, at least in retrospect!

Kerri said...

What a beautiful photo and setting with the large mums. They were a handsome couple. Yes, I agree that the pose is very Gatsby-esque and I too wish I could see the color of your mom's lovely gown.
How sad that she died young....yes, she must've felt such anguish, and your poor family...such a tragedy to be left without her!
I didn't grow up Catholic but had a cousin who did. He and his first love (non-Catholic) had such opposition to their engagement that they broke up. I was a teenager at the time and remember feelings of incredulity that families would cause such heartbreak because of differences in religion.

Apple said...

A beautiful picture. I imagine that during the depression they were quite limited in their December flower selections. With black and white photography they set a beautiful scene. Her gown is stunning and his suit perfect! It's sad your mother died young but wonderful that she knew love.

LostRoses said...

Kerri, that's a sad story about your cousin, makes you wonder how his life would have been different if he had been able to marry his first love? It's good that some standards have changed. And yes, my mother's death changed the whole course of our family, as these things tend to do. It's always been a reference point in our lives. What if...

Apple, of course you're right about the limited selection of flowers and I hadn't really thought about that before! I imagine even without the depression, there certainly wasn't the selection a typical florist has today.

Thanks, both of you, for visiting!

Christine said...

How wonderful that they had the chutzpah to get married!
Your mother sure knew how to pose to suit the lines of that dress, didn't she?

LostRoses said...

Christine, you're so right about the pose! Do you think she practiced it? I think I would have!