Thursday, 13 November 2008


There were more notebooks to fill and more lists to be made out. Since Mum and Dad couldn’t afford a wedding, Arthur and I had to save and pay for most of it ourselves. We worked out how many guests we could fit into Mum and Dad’s front room at Oakfield Road, and how much beer the men would drink; what sort of food we would need, and how much of it we could afford.
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 I

Auntie 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.


Babs (Beetle) said...

I don't think we were having moods, just that we were too young to know we were supposed to smile for the camera :O) I think also the sun may have been shining in our eyes (by the look of the larger photo I have)

I saved my crying until you were leaving with Arthur!

Croom said...

Leeta what a wonderful day you must have had, what a shame it only lasts for the matter of hours :O( Did you change out of your wedding dress or make the most off it after all that hard work and keep it on for the party?

Like Babs, I didn’t quite get to grips that this wonderful day meant you would be leaving home forever. I also cried and cried and cri…….

Lynne Chapman said...

I can't believe that you designed and made all the outfits, on top of all the usually wedding organisation! More than 'game' - superwoman!! And they all look so professional too.

Daddy only looks about 12!

granny grimble said...

I never knew you cried too! I bet Mum had a great time with you and Tina both Doo-Hooing all over the place! It's lovely to know that I was so loved though X

Do you know I must have changed because I lost my long underslip (I never saw it again) somewhere in the house. I didn't wear my going away dress till I wentr away though!


I might stil have the veil in my treasure box. Last time I saw it, it was yellow with age. I made all my own clothes after I got married and all yours till you went to Junior school. Never with a pattern though. I designed, sketched and then cut into the material. Never had a failure!

weechuff said...

This wedding is just somewhere on the edge of my memory I think:0) Each time I see this photo it makes me smile. Tina and I have each others dresses on! Just goes to show you the panic poor mum must have been in trying to get all us girls ready as well as herself and the boys:0)A lovely blog Leeta, and I hope it will continue with the honeymoon, (censored of course!!)

Swubird said...


Since one of our daughters was married just three short years ago, I can really relate to this post.

Like you, her and her husband-to-be paid for everything. Her dress, the photographer, the location, the band, the whole shootin' match was all taken care of. I think it came to about $35,000. In fact, it wasn't supposed to cost me a dime, but before it was over, I ended up paying about $2,000 for our room and a few extras. But it was worth it.

Since her husband is a Jew, they had similar religious problems as you, only she was the one who needed a little tutoring. A progressive rabbi delivered the wedding vows. They were married on a beautiful beach in southern, California. The weather was clear, and it was a magnificent day.

Nice post.

happy trails.

granny grimble said...

Yes it had to be you, the tallest of them all that got the wrong dress! But I agree it must have been panic stations with everyone getting ready at once in that small flat. For once I was out of it!

Welcome back! How lovely and peaceful your daughter's wedding sounds. Getting married on a beach is so romantic! Are you a granddad yet?

Jeanette Spain said...

You all looked beautiful in your dresses, you did a wonderful job of the dresses Leeta. and what a nice day you had.
Hope this blog is going to go on for the reat of your story. Love reading it.
Jeanette Spain

Anne said...

Coming from behind as usual - how great to receive such a prestigeous award - richly deserved.
I love this blog Leeta and keep looking at the photos. You look so beautiful and I can't believe all the things you had to do to make it such a perfect day. I do hope you do still have the veil. It just wouldn't happen in this day and age - and even if it was like climbing a mountain at the time - just look at the outcome - a perfect day (even if the little sisters had their moments of crying, and who can blame them!) Magical memories and the photographs to prove it - going to have another look now! xx

GoldAnne said...

how lovely , and super pics so sweet the lil ones,
you were really talented Leeta,
thankyou xxx

i need to read them all again when not so dizzy love anne xxxx