Saturday, 15 November 2008


As the wedding date grew closer, Arthur and I went to see about the church arrangements for music etc. We were shattered when Father Kelly (who was to marry us) said that we couldn’t have an organ playing, as our wedding was on the same day as the church fete and the organist would be busy on the Tombola. I couldn’t believe it! How could I walk up and down the aisle without ‘Here comes the Bride’ or ‘The Wedding March’. I was almost in tears, but the priest was unbending.
I was relating this tale of woe to one of the buyers for C and A’s, and I was touched by his concern. He was one of Canda’s to men, and I hadn’t spoken to him before, apart from putting his calls through to him. He surprised me by saying that he regularly played the church organ at his local village church., and would be honoured to play at my wedding. I was both flattered and overjoyed, and hurried round to tell Father Kelly the good news.
Can you imagine how Arthur and I felt, when Father Bede admitted that ‘the church fete’ as just an excuse, and that the church felt that it was their duty to do all they could to dissuade me from marrying a non-Catholic. Then they pulled yet another trick from their ecclesiastical sleeve and informed me that, should I still want to marry in St. Peter’s, I would not be allowed to marry at the main altar, nor would I walk down the main aisle, either before or after our wedding ceremony.
Far from dissuading me from marrying Arthur, they succeeded in dissuading me from wanting to get married in the Catholic faith at all! Once again, we had to bite our tongues because we knew that Mummy would not allow us to marry in a Church of England church. Arthur already felt that he had been well and truly blackmailed by the Catholic Church, by making him promise to have all issue from our marriage baptised and brought up in the Catholic faith. (In fact, when we later had children, none of them was baptised into the Catholic faith!) And so the wedding took place, in St Peter in Chains church, with me walking to meet my future husband down the side aisle of the church, with all the guests from both families sitting on my left, and a blank wall on my right. There was no triumphant organ music to herald my arrival. Just silence. The wedding service started with the exchange of vows and ended just a few minues later. During the entire event, Father Kelly stood in surplice and Wellington boots, not having bothered to change when he left the church fete. He hadn’t even shaved! We signed the register and silently out of the church.

A measure of the splendour and pomp of our marriage service was although we were booked to be married at 3 o’clock, the next bride (complete with ‘Here comes the Bride’ and ‘The Wedding March’) was due to be married at 3.15pm! It was nearly eight years before I set foot in a Catholic church again.
Yesterday I came across my wedding veil. 57 years old and very yellow with age. My neice Sindie persuaded me to include it on my blog, so here it is looking very like Miss Faversham's veil!!!


Croom said...

How very ‘un Christian’ the catholic faith can be Leeta. I was almost in tears with your disappointment at the treatment and service you received. All those months hard work, worry, money spent and they spoilt it for you.

Dave and I experienced the same thing with our wedding. We were married at the side alter but at least we had music. Dave took ‘lessons’ for months in order to get married in a catholic Church at the main alter and at the last moment we were refused it because we would not say we would never use birth control. I gave up my catholic faith and for years did not go to Church at all.

You did look stunning Leeta, you remind me of a beautiful version of Julie Garland. Arthur must have been so proud of his young bride. What a glam couple you made and to this day still do. Your wedding veil looks really lovely.

Babs (Beetle) said...

That's disgusting! Why didn't you find another church, or would it have been the same story? How disrespectful to allow you only 15 minutes - AND wear wellington boots!

Your dress was beautiful, and imagine still having your veil :O)

Jim and I had no problems as, although he hadn't been brought up as a catholic, he had been Christened one ;O)

Anne said...

I have to say I felt more and more incensed and upset as I read this blog Leeta. What on earth gives someone that sort of authority to be so cruel - in fact you had better not get me started or I will put the wrong thing in print. Disgusting.

You look absolutely beautiful Leeta and what a stunning couple. And what a fabulously loving and strong marriage you are both having in spite of every effort on 'their' part.
I am so excited that you have found your wedding veil. You looked so lovely wearing it.

Sindie said...

Oh my goodness. What can I say apart that what has aready been said? I believe mum and dad have a smilar story to tell about marrying in a Catholic church.

The veil was lovely. All hand chain stitched round the edge. It's my guess that you must have hand stitched about 20'!!!

You made a very beautiful bride and the veil looked stunning, but what I loved most about your wedding outfit were the exquisite flowers, right to the floor. :0)

granny grimble said...

Don't get me started on the birth control bit. There lies another shocking story!

Yes it was disgusting and I had no-one to share it with at the time. Mum and Dad of course were out of the question and all my siblings were children!
There wasn't another Catholic church, and this was Mum's one so she wouldn't have allowed us to marry in another church. In fact I don't remember ever hearing her voice any opinion on the subject of my church wedding! Father Wells pushed me to one side while the photos were being taken to allow the next Bride access to the church. In so doing he ripped my veil and headress off! No apologies. That 15 mins included photos being taken!


Is it any wonder that Arthur refused to have the children baptised in that church! They not only lost me, but three potential Catholics too.

I look forward to hearing the story of Sandie and Len's wedding.
Thank you all for the kind things you had to say about my dress and flowers X

Sandi McBride said...

I know exactly what you're talking about...Our parish priest, when asked where all the good Catholic girls had gone, said "to bad Protestant boys everyone"...40 years later, I'm still with my bad Protestant Boy and we celebrate in the Presbyterian Church...

weechuff said...

Oooh! It makes my blood boil!! What an awful priest he must have been. To spoil the most important day of your life. Our wedding wasn't nearly as bad as yours. We were married in 'Lent' so we were not allowed any flowers in the church, and we were told that Lennie was considered an impediment in our marriage as he was not a Catholic. The priest did try and make us get married on the side altar, but we convinced him otherwise. He also tried to talk us into agreeing not to use birth control, but because we wouldn't, he said 'Well, I have told you want we want, it is up to you now'. We had both our children christened Catholics just to please mum, as we new how upset she would be if we didn't. We decided that they would make up their own minds when they got older. Which they did! I never went to a service in a Catholic Church again, other than to occasionally accompany mum and dad to midnight mass at Christmas time.

Jay said...

That was unbelievably rude and cruel! How amazingly unChristian that man was! Wellington boots? Good grief...

The interesting thing is that it made no difference and you went ahead anyway ... but it turned you against the church. I can't believe that was the intent, but how stupid not to foresee that!

You looked gorgeous!

weechuff said...

By the way, I forgot to say what a lovely photograph that is. You look just like a bride should look - beautiful!

granny grimble said...

Just goes to show, true love really does conquer all. We've been married 57 years!

I canot believe the stupidity of the priest. Did he really think that I would refuse to marry my sweetheart because I didn't have 'Here comes the Bride' played!
He really did say that was the intention.

Thank you for that lovely compliment. x

GoldAnne said...

how sad leeta , i can understand that affecting your faith !!!
you looked gorgeous in the pics wonderful.!!!
love annexxx