Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A somewhat self-indulgent look back at some family wedding memories

Weddings are happy family gatherings. The prompt photo above shows quite a large wedding party, gathered on the steps of some cathedral or church, or maybe a town hall somewhere. Alan hasn't identified where the photograph comes from, could it possibly be of his own wedding?  Not everyone is posing for the camera in this shot, some guests are probably more interested in catching up with friends and relatives, and the little boy on the right looks like he is biting his fingernails.

Steps make a very convenient location for group photographs if they are handy. If not, a photographer may need to improvise, like Russell Lewis did at our older daughter's English wedding, standing high on a step ladder in order to get this wide overhead shot of the entire party. He did quite well, although the chandeliers were a slight problem, obscuring a couple of guests. It was a rather damp day so posing outside in the gardens was not an option.

     Photograph by Russell Lewis Photography, Hereford

Above is the largest wedding party photograph I have discovered in my family history collection. It was taken in Bathgate in West Lothian, Scotland in 1957. Perhaps someone can identify the impressive building in the background for me. Somewhat unusually my husband's uncle Bernard and his bride Patricia are not standing directly in the centre of the group. My husband and his sister Ann are the two children in front, with my late father-in-law Bob holding his younger son in the back row, 2nd from right. I think his wife Mary, older sister of the groom, is the lady in the hat in the back row, 3rd in from the left side. Her parents. Doris and Frank, parents of the groom, are the couple standing directly behind their grandchildren. The groom's sister is one of the bridesmaids and I think her other brother is between her and their nephew. Beyond that I have not much idea who else may be in the picture, but I do know that there were no grandparents of the groom present, as they were all gone well before 1957.

The collage below is made up of some immediate family wedding shots that do include grandparents of the brides and grooms, together with some of the grandparents' own wedding photos. At our wedding in 1974 we were lucky to have three of our grandparents join us for the celebration.  My husband's grandmother Doris Olds, on her first trip from England to Australia, is standing with us  in bright orange in the top right picture, and my two grandfathers Oliver and John from New Zealand are seen with me at bottom left. My husband's Australian grandmother was sadly not well enough to join us from Geelong. Oliver Cruickshank and John Morrison's wedding day photographs dating back to 1921 and 1919 respectively with their brides Myrtle and Mona  appear above the 1974 shot of them. I'm told that there is a photograph somewhere of Doris and Frank Olds on their wedding day in 1924, but as yet I haven't managed to locate it.

In the Russell Lewis photograph at top left from 2012, our daughter Claire and her new husband Jonny are seen with his grandfather John and her grandmother Mary. I dont have a wedding photograph for John, but Mary's wedding photograph from 1947 with her late husband Bob Featherston is the one next to that 2012 shot. Mary came to Australia as a war bride, having met Bob in England after the war, and none of her family members were able to come out for the wedding, which was took place in Geelong Victoria. She was given away by one of Bob's uncles. Bottom left is our other daughter Laura in 2010 with both her grandmothers Mary and Jean. (Lisa Baker Photography). Jean is pictured above with her parents John and Mona Morrison on her wedding day in 1950 to my father Ian Cruickshank in Christchurch NZ. She wasn't able to make the journey from Australia to England for Claire's wedding, but she did get over to another granddaughter's wedding in NZ in 2013. If my new granddaughter doesn't marry much earlier than her mother did, I'll need to survive into my nineties if I'm to make it to her wedding!  A sobering thought.

Thinking of all the parents, grandparents and all other smiling people in these and other photographs who are no longer with us, I am reminded of an appropriate song written and sung by one of my favourite folkies, George Papavgeris. I don't think I can post a video clip of it, but hopefully you can click here on the title "Remember me like this" to have a listen. George is a great singer and prolific song writer, and the lyrics of his songs are all very heartfelt and thoughtful. I've included the words at the end of this blog.

Here are just a few more family group wedding photographs from 1974, 2010 and 2012 respectively. I'd better make sure they are well captioned, so that future generations will not have to wonder who everyone was.
Happy couple with their parents (top photo), and then from left to right, the bride's relatives, our attendants and the groom's relatives, Canberra 1974.

                        Daughter Laura and her husband John pictured with her relatives, Melbourne 2010. Photograpy by Lisa Baker.

Bride and groom Claire and Jonny with the bride's relations, Hereford 2012.  (Russell Lewis Photography)
Everyone here is still 'present and correct'!

For more wedding memories, you can no doubt raise a glass or two to many other happy couples captured for posterity at Sepia Saturday 233. All the very best to them all!


Remember me like this
 Copyright George Papavgeris, Dec 2004

Remember me like thi

My picture take now and put on file
Remember me like this
Remember me like this
If in the future I'm down and out
If I get angry and rant and shout
Remember me like this

I want to savour this moment
I want to lock it up tight
And if one day I am in darkness and torment
Then bring this moment out to make it all right

Remember me like this,
Don't lose this memory for anything
Who knows tomorrow what fate can bring
Remember me like this

Remember when I'm old
And when my hand's shaking in the cold
This very hand you once loved to hold
Remember me like this

Remember when I'm through
Quite unexpected, out of the blue
From photos I will look back at you
And remember you like this

We come and go in an instant
There's not a minute to waste
So if one day all this seems far too distant
From file this memory cut and paste

Remember me like this,
Don't lose this memory for anything
Who knows tomorrow what fate can bring
Remember me like this


diane b said...

A great collection of wedding photos.I must dugout some old ones of my grandparents that I like.

La Nightingail said...

Some wonderful pictures & collages, but that first one is a real doozy! That must have been some ladder!

Anonymous said...

My word you were quick off the mark. The photos are lovely, particularly the collage, which is a very interesting way to display the photos. There's a rather low ceiling in one of the shots. I love that hat with the wide brim but the brim slopes down at the side. Very attractive.

Lorraine Phelan said...

A fine collection. Weddings are such happy occasions.

Jo Featherston said...

I think what looks like a low ceiling is actually the covered walkway outside the little old church of St Ninians in Canberra.

Kristin said...

Nice wedding photos. I especially like the birds eye view from the ladder as I am partial to birds eye view photos.

Anonymous said...

I think we're all self indulgent with these posts as we dig out long forgotten snaps and enjoy our memories. You've created a wonderful account of your family weddings which will be enduring.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

What a great collection of relatives and weddings. I am glad you're talking about making sure everyone's names are also connected to them (maybe not here, but on the backs of them).

Jana Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a wonderful weekend!

North County Film Club said...

Oh. that was fun. Seeing the current wedding photos and then the older ones of the pictured relatives. Very clever. You're lucky that so many of those photos have survived.

Sharon said...

I find it interesting to look at the change of fashion over time. I also wonder what the future holds?

Karen S. said...

It's always a joy for me to view weddings, it seems for ages they have been marked by traditions and styles of the given year, but no matter the year, the people are experiencing and sharing a most important time in the lives of their loved ones and each wedding has their own special traits!

Little Nell said...

Thank you for sharing your wedding album with us; such a fine array of happy smiling faces.

Bob Scotney said...

16 wedding photos are a lot to have. The Bathgate wedding must have been quite a do.

Mike Brubaker said...

That's a lot of beautiful memories to remember. I'm sure the photos help keep the names straight.

Wendy said...

Love the mix of old and new photos -- like the circle of life.
One of my favorite photos from my daughter's wedding was of our family taken from the balcony. That way, the photographer didn't have to worry about where so-n-so was standing or if anyone was blocked.