My dad recently celebrated his 71st birthday and my mum happened to mention that my dad was wearing a watch she had bought for his 21st. After the watch had been passed around for us all to have a look, my mum explained she had spent £21 on the watch which back then was equivalent to around 12 weeks wages for her. We joked it must have been love!
It made me think though how much we focus on the here and now without necessarily spending time thinking about the past. Having filmed many weddings, I was ashamed to realise I knew very little about my mum and dad’s wedding. And although I’ve looked through my parent’s wedding album over the years, I realised how very few details I actually knew about their wedding day. So with pen and paper I sat down with both my parents to ask them to remember their special day which was Saturday July 4th, 1964.
My parents got engaged in June 1963 on a day trip to Ayr. My mum said ‘Your dad didn’t ask me to marry him. He was talking and said something like ‘when we get married’ and I said ‘what do you mean?’ and he replied ‘I want to marry you’. My mum of course said yes and soon after they had chosen a ring from a jeweller at the Argyle Arcade in Glasgow which even today is still a popular place for couples to buy their rings.
In a world where technology provides information at the click of a button and we communicate freely on the move I was intrigued to know just how did you organise a wedding in the 60s. My parents didn’t have access to a house telephone so it didn’t really surprise me to hear that my mum went with local suppliers and recommendations from friends who had already tied the knot.
Preparations didn’t get underway until the January of 1964. With the church and venue booked, it was time to focus on the finer details. My mum went with her mum, my grandmother to buy her dress in Glasgow. Mum said ‘It wasn’t an expensive dress, I think it cost around £25. But my mother bought it and I wasn’t going to demand a more expensive one’. My mum’s bridesmaid was her sister who at that time lived in the US so she bought a dress there (pale blue in colour) and wore that.
Invitations, fresh flower bouquets, the three-tier wedding cake and favours were all sourced locally in the next town. Mum said ‘it was a traditional wedding cake, decorated with silver horse shoes and heather’.
The night before their wedding day, my mum had her hair done which made me smile. She was asked to wear a silk scarf to protect it when sleeping but it didn’t really work and mum ended up doing her hair again in the morning.
Luckily, Saturday July 4th 1964 was a scorcher of a day. Their wedding ceremony was at 10am which was a great surprise. Apparently there were no afternoon ceremonies then. The cars brought the bridal party to the church but the guest bus was late. Mum explained she sat around the corner for 20 minutes waiting on the guest bus arriving! They can’t remember too much about their ceremony, they were both very nervous. Following the ceremony they got some photos taken outside and then headed to their reception at the Garrion Bridge Hotel in Motherwell.
A champagne reception awaited the 80+ guests on arrival. No other guests came later. Mum said ‘ The meal was soup or melon, chicken and another choice but I’ve forgotten what that was and I can’t remember what we had for dessert. It was lovely though!’. After the meal my parents left the hotel to visit family who couldn’t make it to the wedding. This apparently was a popular thing to do in those days. When they returned, it was the Flower Girl’s duty to hand out the small favours from the cake: the silver horse shoes and heather. I know from my own wedding and from those I’ve filmed, the first dance is a special moment. I asked my parents what was your first dance? They sat in silence and my mum eventually said ‘I can’t remember!’. Nor could they remember the speeches. I couldn’t believe that.
The reception finished at 4.45pm in the afternoon! Yes 4.45pm! And the guests got on the bus and headed to my grandparents’ house to carry on the celebrations. My mum and dad spent the night at a hotel in Glasgow and flew to Dublin on the Sunday morning to start their honeymoon.
They got their photos and album around 2 weeks after their wedding. The photography services had cost around £40. I asked how often do you look at your wedding album and mum laughed and said ‘When we move house!’.
So why am I writing about my parents’ wedding? Well when the speeches are finished, the meal eaten, the cake cut and the music stopped, all we have are memories. We maybe have tangible things like our wedding rings, a saved menu, a favour and of course our photos to look back on. But what talking to my parents showed to me is that memories fade over time and the details gradually become unclear. I would have loved to have seen my parents’ wedding on film. Just being able to see, hear and witness the emotions of their day would have been a very special thing for me.
I had my wedding day filmed. We wanted an account of our day we could share with family and friends who couldn’t make it. We wanted footage of those closest to us because sadly they won’t always be here. And we wanted to film our day so hopefully one day we can enjoy watching it with our children.
If you are having a wedding videographer then you have made the right decision as video together with photos can add so much value to your day and long after your wedding is over.
If you are thinking about having a wedding videographer, please don’t just think about it, DO IT! You won’t regret it and will likely regret it more if you don’t.
And if you’ve decided that filming your wedding is not for you perhaps reconsider. Think about what’s putting you off and talk with a videographer to see how we can work with you to get around your issues. Most wedding videographers are discreet and I don’t know how many times I’ve been given feedback from couples on how they didn’t even know I was there.
I asked my parents if they were to marry now, would they get it filmed and their response was an emphatic ‘Yes of course!’
I hope this post has given you pause for thought. If you are interested in having your special day filmed, please contact me for details of my wedding videography packages.
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