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Older grans! Can you tell me something about 1940s weddings?

(64 Posts)
Illte Wed 08-Jul-20 09:42:55

After my father died over 20 years ago my sister took all the photos and papers to keep at her house.
Now she has died I have and having time over lockdown have been going through them.

A couple of things about the wedding photos have puzzled me. Not important but I just wondered if anyone could tell me more about the conventions of the time.

I have the formal group photos of my mother and father's wedding, her brother's wedding and two of my father's sisters wedding. In none of them is the bride's mother present. There is the brides father, the best man, the bridesmaids, page boy, even on one the grooms mothet. Was that the convention at the time? Would there have been a seperate photo of the bride with her mother?

Also, the snapshots are taken in the village church where I grew up 15 miles from the nearest town but the formal photos are clearly taken on a studio by a photographer in that town. The reception of all of these weddings was at home and nobody had a car to get to the town on the same day. Would they have all got dressed up again and gone in the next day. The bouquets are still fresh. Or would the photographer have brought out all his equipment and a quite elaborate backdrop to the village?

I can't make out how they would have done it.

Like I say it's not important but I'm finding it interesting. The weddings were all 1945 to 1946.

My thanks to anyone that can help🙂

MawB Wed 08-Jul-20 09:50:23

They might have to be a lot older unless little bridesmaids in the mid-40’s - that was 70+ years ago! I suppose reference to our parents’ wedding pics might be helpful.
There is no sign of my paternal grandparents in my parents’ wedding photograph, and my mothers parents would have still been in Germany and unable to travel. But looking at Paws* parents wedding photograph, my MIL’s parents are in that but his are not. Perhaps that was because theirs was a wartime wedding and in Scotland when my FIL was on a short leave and his parents were living in Hampshire at the time.

trisher Wed 08-Jul-20 09:51:33

I can't give you personal experiences -I'm not old enough, but from family stories I would say.
Usually photos only included family groups and an all guests photo. There might be one of bride and her father arriving. I've never seen a photo of a bride and her mother. Why they aren't on the group ones I don't know, unless like my grandfather they had boycotted the wedding. He isn't on the phtos of my aunt's wedding because he disapproved.
I think the studio photos would have been taken after the wedding day

Illte Wed 08-Jul-20 10:01:04

Yes, a lot older I know but I was hopeful 😁 Somebody might remember their bridesmaid experiences!

They wouldn't have boycotted the wedding Trisha. All the people in the photos stayed in the village and all the offspring grew up together and went from house to house without even thinking about it.

I'm fact all but one of the brides and grooms were related anyway. Normal for Norfolk! 😬

Thanks for replying.

Illte Wed 08-Jul-20 10:01:38

Trisher. Sorry.

Illte Wed 08-Jul-20 10:06:07

Someone might still have a relative they could ask. My last aunt died last year. Sharp as a tack to the end. Wish I'd had the photographs then.

DeeKee Wed 08-Jul-20 10:06:27

My Mum and Dad had no photos of their wedding day. Those that the photographer took did not come out and apparently no-one else took any. Mum and Dad went back to the Church the next day, stood outside a back door and someone took a photo. She did have her small bunch of flowers. This was 1946. Mum was sooo disappointed she would never talk about the wedding so I don’t even know who was there!

trisher Wed 08-Jul-20 10:08:51

I think there was probably a huge difference between town and village weddings as well. My family are all townies.
In 1945-46 it would have been very difficult to find outfits for a wedding maybe the bride's mother didn't feel she was well dressed enough. Have you noticed if the same outfits are in some of the photos? Even wedding dresses were shared. Everything including material was rationed.

Illte Wed 08-Jul-20 10:11:43

Oh. I'll get out the magnifying glass. Good point.

trisher Wed 08-Jul-20 10:14:50

I remember my mum telling me about making a funeral outfit from blackout curtains!

Illte Wed 08-Jul-20 10:16:24

Oh my fathers sisters certainly had the same dress and headdress. The neckline is the same and the its a bit short on the taller aunt.

That is interesting.

Or am I just lockdown crazy😬

Calendargirl Wed 08-Jul-20 10:18:39

I don’t think any photos were taken of my parents wedding in 1949. It was at the register office, hardly anyone present, only the witnesses I think.
Mum was about four months pregnant, so it was a hasty wedding.
She never talked about her wedding day, or if they went anywhere afterwards, or who was there.
Should say they had a happy marriage, they were not teenagers, she was in her 30’s, Dad over 40, so sad really.
When my sister’s daughter was pregnant with her long time boyfriend, Mum didn’t seem very thrilled, which surprised my sister.
I think Mum just contrasted it to how different the times were
55 years or so earlier.

Nannarose Wed 08-Jul-20 10:21:13

I know that it was common to have a 'studio'portrait done separately, and the photographers had artificial flowers as props, so some were not done on the same day.
I know that my grandparents had a studio portrait to commemorate their wedding, but that was when many 'ordinary folk' didn't have elaborate wedding dresses - just a new outfit (I'm not sure when the idea of the groom not seeing the dress before the wedding came in). Small copies of the photos were sent to relatives.

However, if the bouquets are still fresh, they may have got a taxi.
We still have the receipt for the taxi that ferried my parents about on their wedding day, although it didn't include a photographer's trip. By then (1940s) the local newspaper sent a photographer to cover all the weddings, and you could order a copy from them - much cheaper than using studio! That was we did in the early 70s as well.

ayse Wed 08-Jul-20 10:23:31

My Mum and Dad were married in Southwark, London in 1948. I have one photo of all the guests, mostly family members with one of my mother’s friends. The other is one of my mother and father. My mother did not wear a wedding dress (white) but made her own dress. Her earrings were also homemade with a trim of narrow lace and tiny beads and she carried a small posy. The men all wore suits and the females either suits or smart coats. Women also wore hats except Mum.

Afterwards I think the had a small cake and later went on a cycling holiday to Brittany. Rationing was still in force as others have already said. For those in London it was still a time of austerity.

trisher Wed 08-Jul-20 10:24:07

You know that cakes sometimes weren't cakes either? They might pool rations to make a smallish cake then use cardboard ones to make it look bigger or make the tiers.

polyester57 Wed 08-Jul-20 10:24:49

I think, OP, that the answer to your question is answered in your original post. "The reception was held at home", the mother of the bride would have to be there to organize things. I know this was the case at my parents´wedding in 1953, my mother´s mother did not go, she stayed at home and cooked lunch for the wedding party. She is not in the wedding photos and no photo, as far as I know, of her together with her daughter was taken on the day.

loopyloo Wed 08-Jul-20 10:26:38

My mother cut the lining from her wedding dress to make blackout curtains. The mother of the bride may have been ill or busy on a war effort somewhere. Have you checked that she was still alive?

annodomini Wed 08-Jul-20 10:28:22

In early 1940, my mum wore her Sunday best suit and my dad wore his kilt. No idea what transport was involved but I know they went off on their honeymoon in the Galloway hills in my dad's little BSA sports car.

Illte Wed 08-Jul-20 10:47:28

I hadn't thought about staying at home to do the catering but that could have been possible especially since you know that happened in your family.

They were still alive loopyloo. And revelled in all the grandchildren for many years after!

J52 Wed 08-Jul-20 10:59:05

My parents were married in the early 1940s in the Parish Church, but wearing their military uniforms. In the only photo, it would seem to have been a small family wedding.
As it was wartime I expect they took advantage of some leave, not a hasty wedding as children didn’t come along till 1950 grin
Annodomini They also honeymooned in the Galloway Hills.

Callistemon Wed 08-Jul-20 11:44:43

I can't give you personal experiences - I'm not old enough
I was just wondering if anyone is!

My parents got married in the 1930s and I only have one photo which is of my parents and the bridesmaids, which is a pity. That looks like a studio portrait, I never thought of that before.

My MIL remarried in the 1950s and we only have a group shot and her mother is included (her father was deceased by then).

I have a photo of a family wedding from 1899 which I found on the internet, I was thrilled that someone had done that. It's of the bridal party plus bride's parents and brothers and also the bride's grandmother (my great-grandmother). She's dressed in formidable black as she was a widow.

I don't know why the mothers weren't included, Illte, I dont think it was the norm.

paddyanne Wed 08-Jul-20 11:46:06

My parents were married 76 years ago yesterday ,my Dad was on 48 hours leave from the navy.They were married in the Manse ,no guests just witnesses.Mum wore a blue suit and a corsage of flowers on her lapel ,Dad in uniform .Apparently they had tried to get a studio shot taken but the photographers were booked for the whole day with similar weddings so no evidence that it actually happened.My Aunt let them stay in her flat on their wedding night and kindly moved in with my Granny for the night and the next day until Dad rejoined his ship .
They got remarried in a Catholic Church 8 years later when my sister was due to start school and the catholic schools wouldn't accept her until they had remarried and she was baptised in teh RC Church .My Uncle and Aunt were the same married in the same way and remarried a few years later

Fennel Wed 08-Jul-20 11:52:22

I have photos of myself and a cousin as child bridesmaids to aunts from that time, but no others. There was very little money around in those days and they probably cut down on the cost of photographs.
One of my outfits was borrowed from the younger sister of my cousin so that we would both be dressed the same. There was also a shortage of dress fabrics due to no imports from other countries.
I can't remember any more about those weddings.
I also have a photo of Mum and Dad's prewar wedding and the adult bridesmaids were dressed in beautiful turquoise velvet gowns what a difference!

Bellanonna Wed 08-Jul-20 12:15:16

I was a bridesmaid to my uncle and his new wife when I was 4, (nearly 5) in 1945.

I only have one photo. His parents were not there (lived in Ireland) but both her parents are in the picture. I am in it too, wearing a pretty dress and what I’ve been told was a “poke bonnet”. The bride’s two sisters were also bridesmaids.

The dresses were all hired and I think they went back after the reception, which was in a hall somewhere,

The wedding was in a village in Essex. We would have got there by train(s).

All the flowers, bridal and bridesmaids, were made of paper. Given it was wartime I think they managed really well.

ginny Wed 08-Jul-20 12:40:19

My parents married on 1946. Black and white photos show both lots of parents and all family.