Dorothy and Dave, April 1949

My Grandma’s real vintage wedding day

Having written about my parents’ vintage wedding recently, I wanted to tell you about my Grandma’s wedding day too. My Grandma is an amazing lady, in her late eighties and as witty and forward-thinking as anyone I know.

Dorothy and Dave, April 1949

Dorothy and Dave, April 1949

Grandma was married in 1949, only a few years after the end of the second world war. She was 26 and Grandad was 27. They were together for 37 years and I have the loveliest memories of playing in the garden and feeding the ducks as a little girl in Buxton where they lived. My grandparents’ wedding was all about the marriage itself: no fuss, just a very personal celebration with family and friends. Rationing was still in effect in the UK at that time so budgets were pretty tight, but my grandma still has fond memories of her wedding day to share…

Grandma’s wedding was an intimate affair, with about ten people at the church service and then a reception at my Grandad Dave’s parents’ home. They invited closest family and friends: there was no need for distant relatives to travel; it was a simple, intimate and personal celebration.

Grandma wore a navy blue dress suit she’d borrowed from a friend (something borrowed, something blue!) as clothes were rationed in 1949. She had a hat, her hair was perfectly done and she wore a buttonhole. I think she looks fabulous – the photograph shows the strong, and proud lady I’ve always known: wonderfully independent and never one to follow the crowd if there was a better way of doing things! My Grandad wore a suit and a huge smile. They had buttonholes – Grandad’s was a single rose; Grandma’s more of a corsage with a few roses. Grandma didn’t remember carrying a bouquet: “the wedding was in April so there wouldn’t have been many flowers out yet”.

How times change – these days even for a December wedding we expect to have a huge variety of flowers available: roses, lilies, you name it: we import it from Africa or wherever we can, just so our weddings look just right! I think if they’d been around in 1949 my Grandma would have loved a sparkly and alternative buttonhole bouquet!

Grandma told me a little more about her wedding day: she remembers the wedding breakfast was a lovely roast joint of beef, and they had a wedding cake to cut afterwards. My Grandad’s nephew, who was six years old, handed Grandma a silver paper horseshoe to carry instead of flowers.

This is something that both my Mum and my Grandma had at their weddings: a silver horseshoe to carry with or instead of the bouquet seems like a lovely touch to incorporate in a modern vintage-inspired wedding – and must be easy enough to craft with card and silver spray or glitter!

There was no official photographer at my Grandma and Grandad’s wedding, although a family friend took some photos for keepsakes. We’re very lucky to have found these pictures  – Grandma wasn’t one for sentimentality or for hoarding old memories: but she has kept the most precious of all: some photographs of family and the beautiful wedding photograph above, as well as this portrait.

Grandma in 1944

I’m sharing this today because my Grandma died on Saturday. I will miss her so much.

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



  • Julie boyd
    9 years ago

    What a beautiful photograph. They both look radiant.
    Thanks for sharing Claire. It must have been so hard to write at such a sad time. I know you will miss her dreadfully. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Ah to simpler times, there is something special about black and white photographs and I love the ones you shared. Sorry to hear about the loss of someone you held dear.

  • Tanya
    9 years ago

    What lovely photos, thankyou for sharing your Grandma’s wedding day memories with us. I’m so, so sorry to hear about your loss.

  • Shella
    9 years ago

    What a lovely read. Really enjoyed the whole post and sad to hear at the end of the post that your grandma is no longer with you. I’m sure the wonderful memories you have of her will live with you forever. Thinking of you and your family. x

  • Laura C
    9 years ago

    What a beautiful story, she looks and sounds like an amazing woman. My grandparents celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary last week and I had the joy of looking through the few photos they have of their day. I hope with all of my heart that they will be with us for my wedding day, and ultimately to have as long and happy marriage as they have.
    My condolences to you and your family x

  • Ktp
    9 years ago

    What a lovely post to share at a time like this. Your grandparents’ wedding sounded lovely & it focused on all the things that are important. It’s far too easy to get carried away & the real reason gets lost a bit. Thanks for sharing & thinking of you & your family x

  • jenny mcavoy
    9 years ago

    Claire she looks gorgeous and a proper tribute to her by you as well as a reminder that weddings are all about the marriage not always the fancy bits that go with it-thinking of you x

  • Kat
    9 years ago

    Oh, Claire! I’m so sorry to hear your news and my thoughts are with you and your family. This post is such a lovely, wonderful tribute to your Grandma and I really appreciate you sharing it with us. She looks so lovely in that portrait!! I lost my grandad a couple of months ago and the first thing I did was to get out my photo album, he lived halfway across the world and it was a way of being closer. xxxxxxxx

  • Belinda McCarthy
    9 years ago

    So sorry to hear about your grandmother, but thankyou for sharing these lovely images at such a difficult time for you and your family. I’m sure she would have loved to know that a whole new generation of people are enjoying her story.

    • Claire
      9 years ago

      Hi Belinda,
      Your comment made me smile. I think Grandma would have been bemused by it all – the idea that her little wedding could interest modern brides! Bless her, she was a whizz on the internet, did all her shopping and banking online… but knowing she was on a Blog would have tickled her I think.

      You’re all so kind – thank you for your thoughts on here.

      Claire xx

  • Hannah Webster
    9 years ago

    Oh Claire, so sorry to hear of her passing. This post made for a wonderful read and it brings such a lump to my throat reading about her, reading about your feelings for her. A fabulous tribute and a reminder that love and happiness are what make a wonderful wedding. x

  • Sarah
    9 years ago

    So sorry for your loss, but what a wonderful tribute to an obviously amazing and beautiful woman.

  • Anne
    9 years ago

    I’m so sorry for your loss. This was a lovely way to honour your grandmother – thank you for sharing. xxxx

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