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With Vintage Weddings still popular, we look back at some beautiful weddings from yesteryear.
Jill & Paul West
Jill and Paul were married in 1978 at Northallerton Registry Office. Jill was 21 and Paul was 26. They have two grown up children.
We lived together in a rented house in Great Ayton. I lived there originally, but Paul moved in before we were married. We got engaged while we were on holiday in Jersey!
Were Registry Office Weddings commonplace n the late 1970’s?
They were certainly around then, yes. I had been married for a short time previously, which prevented me from marrying in Church again. Most people that I knew were married in Church. Paul and I travelled together in an old maroon and cream Rolls Royce with my dad, Bob, driving, and my step mum Audrey in the passenger seat. It started to rain on the way there, and then the windscreen wipers broke, so Dad had to get out and fix them! The ribbons later blew off the car, so we then had to stop to fix those back on! It was certainly an eventful journey! Unfortunately the Registry Office itself was closed for refurbishment, so we had to marry in a Portacabin! It was nicely done out with flowers however, so it didn’t matter.
How much planning and preparation was put in for the Wedding?
I planned most of the wedding myself, which I did with a little help from Paul’s Mum, Peggy. It took me about four months in total. We sent out invitations which we bought locally, as at the time, properly printed invites were quite expensive, and we didn’t have the spare money!
How many people attended your wedding, and did you have a reception?
We had about 25 people at our wedding and reception; quite small by todays standards. Plus we were married on a Wednesday due to the West family business (Hoggarth and West Chemist as was, Stokesley) which had half day on a Wednesday. This meant Paul’s Uncles and their wives could attend. My half cousin Irene was my Maid of Honour and witness. We had a small reception at the Golden Lion, which is now Chapters restaurant in Stokesley. We had a buffet, but there was no dancing or music, unlike modern weddings.
And what about a wedding cake?
We had a single tier cake, made and decorated by a very good friend of mine. It wasn’t anything too fancy, just featuring a small silver vase of yellow flowers on top, which matched those of my prayer book, in my hair and Paul’s buttonhole. After that, Paul’s mum had arranged a buffet and drinks at her house for neighbours and friends who didn’t attend the wedding.
Tell me about your Wedding Dresses?
My dress was made by Paul’s mum, Peggy. Its was below the knee and quite delicate. I didn’t want to wear a full wedding dress again after my first marriage. I spent the weeks leading up to the wedding sunbathing and looking after my nails, so they were nice and long! Sadly I don’t have my dress anymore. I’m sure my daughter would love it now!
And what did the Grooms and Groomsmen wear?
Paul wore a charcoal grey pinstripe suit, and his best man Peter wore a brown suit.
Did you have Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue?
I did, I carried my mums prayer book, which was my something old and I guess borrowed, although I had lost my mum, Elspeth Dawson, by this point. My dress was new, and I wore a blue garter.
Did you go on Honeymoon?
We did, we went to London for a week on the train. We stayed at the Norfolk Palace Hotel Inn at Paddington. We arrived in the station, jumped in a taxi and asked the driver to take us directly to the hotel; he just laughed…the hotel was only down the road! We spent our week sightseeing, walking for miles and miles!
What is your strongest memory of the day?
My favourite memory, was due to not marrying at the actual Registry Office as planned, we didn’t have anywhere particular for photographs to be taken. We were about to have our photographs taken by the river in Stokesley, when a very kind gentleman offered us use of his beautiful flowered garden, full of rose trees in bloom. It made our photographs extra special.
Do you have mementoes from the day?
I kept all of the little flowers such as from my hair, and Paul’s buttonhole, which I dried and still have in a scrapbook, along with an invitation and cards from our friends and family. I also have the silver corners from my cake which held a small orange blossom, and lots of souvenirs from our honeymoon.
Finally, what is the secret to a happy marriage?
I don’t think there is one particular secret I can share – you just both need to work at it every day!
Jill West talked to Kim (he daughter!) from Kiss the Bride magazine.