Sunday, February 18, 2007

An aunt's-eye view of my wedding

My mother Barbara had a sister Fay who kept a journal for many years, and when she died I inherited 66 exercise books full! Her observation was acute, and her take on events and people was often entertaining. This is her account of my wedding in 1956, with a few comments by me.

Judith is married. It seemed a completely successful wedding - Barbara’s skill at giving parties never lets her down, she is a true Bragge.

I didn’t really like Judith’s dress; it seems such a pity not to have been a real bride when she had the chance. The material was so thin that I felt the frock was not decent enough to wear to church for a solemn ceremony. [But it was lined, except over the shoulders.] The hat, all white wide-brimmed and dipping to the left shoulder at the back was enchanting front view but nothing special seen from the back. Judith herself looked quite lovely; serene and self-possessed. She is actually shorter than Michael.

Mrs Burke had done the flowers in the church beautifully and Ruby Hutchison the ones in the hall even better - she had apparently gone round Alfrick demanding whatever flowers she wanted and simply taking them if the owner was out! John and Theo played organ and viola during the signing of the register. ‘Sheep will safely graze’ played so, in a small, old, country church, sounded inevitable.

Peter Moore took the service better than I have ever heard it taken and one knew already that he could not be less than someone. [He later became Dean of St Albans Cathedral.]

The highlight I thought was the man who announced the guests, highly efficient, he looked superb in a scarlet jacket. If I heard Barbara aright he is the toast-master for Worcester. Barrow’s had made the cake and it was exquisite; a pity they did not use the little one on top of the big one. It was so beautifully decorated that it seemed like something permanent. The flowers had been tinted to match the delicate cream-colour of the icing and the little leaves were pale gold.

There was sherry to begin with and soft drinks and afterwards champagne and then tea and coffee which seemed a little odd but catered for all tastes. The ten-seater bus which collected guests who came by train had a huge cardboard notice in the window saying
‘Alfrick Wedding Party’. When J and M drove away there was a dustbin lid and other ironmongery tied to the back of the car. Pink paper rose-petals were showered over them.
[Also chopped chaff from a local farm, which itched like crazy!]

Ursula invented a new ‘Old Saying’. If a cock is heard to crow during the wedding celebrations, as many times as it is heard to crow so many children will the couple have. Urs and I heard the cock crow 5 times! [And I did in fact have five pregnancies, though I lost one of them in a miscarriage.]

A general atmosphere of success and competence pervaded the wedding. It seems to me a very good thing to have a church service before all the gaiety. How solemn a thing a marriage is, how quickly made as far as the law is concerned.

Barbara should be very proud of a successfully organized event and we hope that the marriage it has launched will be as successful and happy. It is such a relief that Judith is married at last. [I was only 28!]

[Photographs by Harriet Crowder]

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Avus said...

Great to have such a commentary, Judith (even the "cattiness" is funny in retrospect!)
You made a lovely bride.

herhimnbryn said...

How wonderful to have these diarys J. I think you looked lovely and your dress was lovley too.

Helen said...

I love it, Judith! Love it! How honest and observant she was. My son got married last September. I drooled over the photos for far too long. I thought about writing an account. Now I definitely will.