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Stories of Cloth


Mildred: An English wedding


An English wedding

I remember the excitement I felt when I was preparing for my wedding day in the spring of 1961. I was just nineteen, and I found my dream dress while out shopping with my mother in Oldham Street, Manchester. It cost fifteen guineas and it was made of silk brocade. It had a slash neckline, was fitted tightly to the waist and had a full, gathered, knee-length skirt and underskirt – the height of fashion in the early sixties! At my wedding I also wore long satin gloves and oyster-coloured shoes with pointed toes. I carried an enormous bouquet of roses.

My cousin and younger sister Bernice were bridesmaids and they wore deep blue knee-length dresses. Bernice and I have stayed close friends and live just a few miles from one another. We shared the same veil and head-dress for our weddings and I was a bridesmaid to Bernice too when it came to her big day.

In a traditional Christian wedding the bride wears a long white dress with a netted veil to cover her face as she enters the church. The bride enters the church with her father, who gives her away to her future husband. During the ceremony the bride and groom make vows before God and exchange rings. The veil is then lifted and the groom kisses the bride. Then the happy couple celebrates their union with family and friends at a reception, traditionally hosted by the bride’s parents. During the celebration food and champagne is served and speeches are made telling stories about the groom and his new bride.

After the party the bride changes into her ‘going away outfit’ and the couple leave for their honeymoon – a holiday for two.

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