Of course, there was also my wedding dress and going-away dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, Arthur’s suit, cars, photos, honeymoon, flowers, wedding cake. The list seemed endless and the money short, so a lot of careful planning was necessary. Food was still rationed, and clothing and material could only be bought if one had enough clothing coupon. A considerable task for a nineteen-year-old but, with Mum’s help, I coped.
I decided it would be cheaper if I made my own wedding dress and going away outfit, together with the bridesmaid’s dresses. Mummy would help me with these as there were going to be five of them, plus a chief bridesmaid and a maid of honour. All four of my sisters wanted to be a bridesmaid and Arthur’s niece, Wendy, made five. My best friend from Williams Brothers was to be my chief bridesmaid, and we thought it would be nice to ask Ruby (the one who nearly married Bab’s American Godfather) as well.
She’d never been a bridesmaid, and had been a good friend to us over the years. They both supplied their own dresses, which wouldn’t match but, because things were in such short supply in those days, it didn’t really matter.
I sketched out ideas for the bridesmaid’s dresses, and designed my dress, veil and head-dress. Armed with a large part of our savings, Mum and I went to the West End of London, shopping for material.
Front row L to R: Sandie(weechuff), Tina(Croom), baby sister Gill, Babs(beetle), neice Wendy
I think Gill and Babs must have been having a mood, they don't look very happy!
It was to be turquoise and pink for the little girls, and we purchased yards of satin and net. The next job was to choose the material for my dresses. I even decided to make my own honeymoon hat! Mum and I were very busy for weeks, cutting pinning and sewing. I made all my clothes and Mum was left to get on with making the bridesmaid’s dresses.
I’d set my heart on wearing a long veil that would sweep the floor at the back, but it took ages to scallop the edges of the veil and sew yards of mother-of-pearl sequins all around the border. Having seen the price of headdresses and tiaras, it seemed a good idea to make that as well. Looking back, I must have been a game girl!
Daddy and IAuntie and Uncle (from Blackpool) said that they would like to buy my bouquet, which was a very welcome suggestion, and Aunty Sissie and Uncle George supplied the gold flower baskets for the bridesmaids. Aunty Dumpy (my Dad’s sister) promised us a cheque for six pounds (quite a sizeable amount then) and we paid for the buttonholes, the cars, the cake, invitation cards etc.
The Catholic Church of Saint Peter in Chains was booked for July 7th 1951 at 3 o’clock. As a non-Catholic it was necessary for Arthur to visit Father Bede every week, to take instruction on how to be married to a Roman Catholic. He wasn’t very happy about this, but since I was only nineteen, under-age and needing parental permission to marry, we didn’t dare rock the boat by refusing.