Two weddings in Marple - 9 Details to be decided
What weather we have been having. I can't remember such severe storms, but thank goodness, it seems to be abating now.
There was serious flooding in Marple Bridge and a large tree fell down blocking access to the wash house on Town Street. Luckily we live at the top of a hill. Apparently things were even worse in Strines, where the river overflowed its banks and all the low lying houses were swamped.
I heard that the clothing party went well, and hope that our dresses went to people who will appreciate them and look after them properly. Nothing is worse than seeing one of your old favourite dresses dirty and in rags on someone's back.
In church on Sunday we had Rev. JE Legg for the first time as our pastor. He seems a nice enough man, and preaches well. When I spoke to him after the service, I reminded him again about Mary and Frank's wedding. He said that it was in the book. Then he added that he would be busy that afternoon, as he had a second wedding following it. I was surprised as weddings are supposed to be in the morning, but he said there was a feeling that the ruling was going to be changed, so he would anticipate the change. The other bride apparently wants to take advantage of the fact that we will have heated the church and decorated it. I felt a bit annoyed to start with, but then decided that I must be magnanimous about it. After all, we wouldn't have removed the flowers after the service anyway, and why shouldn't someone else have the benefit of them.
This week I had my Mother's Gathering at the Coffee Tavern on Saturday afternoon. We had the usual fare, tea, sandwiches and cake. Mrs. Cheetham, who was helping at it and I recognised slightly, came up to me, and said that it was her daughter, Martha, and her young man, Joe, who both work at the Mill, who are having their wedding after ours on the 9th. I reassured her that it was fine with us, and that they were very welcome to also come along to our reception at the Union Rooms, although I suspect they will have their own arrangements. But it seemed polite under the circumstances to invite them. By the time their wedding is over, our reception will have finished the formal aspects, and they can just mingle in with the crowd. We don't need to make anything special of it - just assume that they are among the normal guests. After all, another 20 or so people on top of 200 can hardly matter.
William is very full of the East Cheshire Liberals annual meeting which was held last night in the Albert Rooms. 140 people attended. It is wonderful how the party has grown in this area from when we arrived here, and my husband and son Oswald and brother-in-law, John and our business partners, the Hodgkinsons, started it up a few years ago. The first year we made no impact at all on the local politics, but now there are likely to be two candidates in the next election.
All Saints church had a missionary for China appealing again. The Chinese seem to do very well out of the people of Marple - as we seem to have them as our charity cause over and over.
The wedding is only two weeks away now. We have our list of expected guests and the number has risen to 145, with apologies from most of the rest. There are only five or six who have not replied, but I will assume they are not coming. So having the extra people from the Lund and Cheetham families at the reception will not overwhelm us after all, as we are catering for 200.
I reminded Mary about how she should be planning for her something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue in her wedding outfit. She thought it was all poppycock, but I reminded her of the origin of the saying.
Something Old is meant to represent the link with the bride's own family as it is symbolic of continuity. Jewellery is suggested, or other things that may be chosen include a handkerchief, a scarf or a piece of lace. I have told her she can wear my pearls.
Something New represents good luck and success and the bride hopes for a bright future in her new married life. Her wedding gown is new so that will suffice for that category. Wearing a new item on your wedding day conveys the message that you and your husband are creating a new union that will endure forever.
Something Borrowed is to represent to the bride that friends and family will be there for her on the special day and in the future when help is needed. "Borrowing" is especially important, since it has to come from a happily married woman, thereby lending the bride some of her own marital happiness to carry into the new marriage. Anything can be borrowed but it must be returned afterwards. I suppose my pearls could be considered both old and borrowed, but have suggested she borrow a handkerchief from her sister.
Something Blue in ancient times is the symbol of faithfulness, purity and loyalty. Often the blue item is a garter and in olden times the couple wore blue bands on the border of their wedding attire. This is a bit more of a problem to incorporate, but Mary has a pair of knickers with blue lace on the legs, which should suffice.
The weather is becoming warmer, so I am hopeful about the blossom for decorating the church. Even if it is not fully out on the trees, bringing it into the warmth will force it sufficiently, I am sure.
There is also the matter of favours for those who are special to the wedding party. Mary has fashioned a corsage of white ribbon, lace and silver leaves for the groomsmen and the ushers and the fathers and brothers of the bride and groom. She has done similar ones for the women, but hopes that there will be early daffodils to put into them at the last minute. They will be pinned on the shoulders or sleeves of the women as they leave the service. If she has time, Mary hopes to fashion something for the servants and those serving at the reception.
Sherratt, the coachman, says he has borrowed two grey horses from Marple Hall for pulling the wedding carriage taking us to church the service. This is supposed to be a sign of good luck.
I hope the new vicar remembers about the Church bells pealing forth as the couple enters the church, not only to make the populace aware of the ceremony taking place, but also to scare away any evil forces lurking nearby.
Mary assures me that the wedding ring with the initials engraved inside has been purchased by Frank. And his brother apparently knows that he must visibly drop it during the ceremony, so all evil spirits will be shaken out.
I've reminded Mary and she has told Frank that after the ceremony, the bride and groom must walk out without looking left or right. It is considered bad taste to acknowledge friends and acquaintances. We, her parents will be the first to leave the church, and the best man the last after he has paid the clergyman for his services. I expect rice will be thrown as a symbol of fertility. The wedding carriage awaiting the bride and groom afterward will be drawnthis time by four white horses, again borrowed from Marple Hall.
I have a team of women from my Mothers Group who will decorate the Union Rooms. A profusion of white and pink, according to Mary's theme, will adorn doorways, balustrades, windows and fireplaces.
Thirty minutes later at the Union Rooms, the couple will received the guests and accepted congratulations. We, the parents congratulate the couple first, then stand nearby. Jessie, as her bridesmaid will stand to the left of the couple, while the ushers guide the guests. Etiquette dictates that guests address the bride first, unless they were only acquainted with the groom, in which case they congratulated the groom and were then introduced to the bride. The bride is never congratulated, as it would imply that the honour was conferred upon her in marrying the groom.
Guests will be served standing, although the bridal party will be served seated. After everyone has finished eating, the band will play a few selections.
There will be three wedding cakes - one elaborate cake, and two smaller ones for the bride and groom. The cake will be cut and boxed and given to guests as they leave. It is a dark, rich fruitcake with ornate white frosting of scrolls, orange blossoms, etc.
The bride and groom's cakes are not as elaborate. Hers will be white cake, his dark. It will be cut into as many pieces as there are attendants and favours will be baked inside for luck. Each charm has its own meaning.
The ring for marriage within a year;
The penny for wealth, my dear;
The thimble for an old maid or bachelor born;
The button for sweethearts all forlorn.
I am feeling quite satisfied that we have everything in hand.