The groom’s mum made the bride’s dress; the bride made her niece’s dress (she wanted to look like a mermaid). The bride’s ruby slippers were bedazzled by committee; the groom wore McQueen; the grown-up bridesmaids wore ’50s party dresses. We had a karaoke party the night before the wedding and went swimming in the day after. Everyone got a tiny bottle of tequila with their name on for toasts, and Future Islands played the reception. Best wedding ever.
R went to Rock the Frock in Battlesbridge (half an hour on the train from Stratford) to shoot wedding dresses for an upcoming piece Tobi Hannah‘s writing for The Guardian, and it’s delicious. It’s in the Cromwell Antiques building, where we got our writing desk a few years ago (R’s an Essex girl with an antiques-loving mother, so she’d been there a few times before).
Rachel’s great-great aunts and uncle: Grace, Tommy, Floss and Eva; Essex, 1919.
Rachel’s grandparents — Nell (above, with her dad) got married to Stan (below) in the East End of London on Christmas Day, 1952.
The bridal headdress style is AMAZING, as are the bridesmaid’s floral crowns. The bouquets are so enormous; the groom, my granddad, looks so amused, and his suit’s several sizes too big for him. My grandmother’s high-necked dress is gorgeous (also, I don’t think she ever put on weight in her life; she’s still that slim now.
My parents got married in Essex in 1977. When I was a kid I didn’t like my mother’s wedding dress because it was too plain and my six-year-old self would’ve preferred something more Jordan-esque, but now I love it.
My dad is cupping his left hand to hide his cigarette. That suit is incredible.
[Click here to see more vintage wedding photos and pictures from our family album]
I love 1950s weddings. My grandparents, Nell and Stan, got married on Christmas day, 1952, in the East End of London. These are the only pictures I’ve ever seen of my nan’s dad; I really like the father-and-daughter shot in the cardboard frame.
The outfits were gorgeous, and everyone looks sort of cheeky. My grandad’s suit jacket looks too big for him. I love my nan’s spectacular bridal headdress.
(Sorry about the bad scans. If I find the prints, I’ll rescan them.)
This is one of the pictures that first made me want to become a wedding photographer, years and years ago. It’s my great-grandparents, Elizabeth Kate “Kit” Swan and Thomas Dixon Butterfield. Kit and Tom were married in the summer of 1919, in North Ockendon, Essex. Kit was an Essex girl like me, but Tom had moved down from up north, Levens, Westmoreland — near Kendal.
At some point, Tom had started going by his grandparents’ name, Dixon, rather than Butterfield, his surname at birth. (No one really knows why, but my nan had theorised it was something to do with joining the army underage.) Decades after this wedding photograph was taken, the bride found out that her husband’s surname was not originally Dixon at all. My mum recounted the story as she’d heard it:
“My nan was distraught when she discovered he should have been Butterfield. She thought she wasn’t married because he didn’t have the correct name on the register! She had to pay five shillings to get an amended marriage certificate and have it altered in the church records. She had been married for about 40 years at the time.”