I followed the prompt again! I followed the prompt again! (skipping, whistling, happy dance)
This is a page about my parents' wedding day, I emailed my mom to send me details about her wedding day (giving her prompts like: your dress, dad's tux, the minister, the church, the weather, etc.) and I pretty much copied and pasted verbatim everything she emailed back to me.
The journaling card behind the photo collage is double sided and reads:
The Couple – Bonnie June Belcher and Bennie Ray Shellnut were the bride and groom. I was 19 and a half. Bennie was 20 and would be 21 the following month.
The Date – Saturday, January 2, 1965
The Weather – Chilly and snowy
The Place - First Free Will Baptist Church of Hazel Park, Michigan where Bennie and I had attended for several years. He since birth; and I since I was 11.
The Dress and Accessories – I wore a white princess style dress with a lace, boat neck and long sleeves. (I borrowed the dress from Darlene Carpenter, a good friend who was two or three years older and had married just two years before.) I had a gold cross necklace, which I think Bennie gave to me previously, and my engagement ring. I also had a white knit shawl that I wore to and from the car. I carried a dozen red roses, which the florist advised against (he said brides should carry white flowers), in a triangle shape and tied with a white ribbon. I had faux pearl-laden tiara and a blue garter and white satin sparkly, 2-inch heels (the last time I ever wore such high heels. My bunions kept me from wearing heels.
The Tux – Bennie’s tuxedo was a white coat, white shirt, white bow tie, white cummerbund, and black pants with a red rose boutonniere. The tux rental place advised against white for a winter wedding. The groomsmen and my dad wore the same tux but had black bow ties and cummerbunds. Each wore a red boutonnière.
The Minister – We were married by our pastor William (Bill) Hill.
The Wedding Party – Dad’s best man was Jerry Barich; his other groomsman was Finis Barr, our youth pastor; and his brother Freddie, who was 13 or 14, was a junior groomsman. My maid of honor was Mary Carte; my other bride’s maid was Brenda Shellnut, Elmer’s daughter and Bennie’s niece; and my junior bride’s maid was my niece and sister Betty’s daughter, Denise Justice, who was 12 or 13. My sister Mary’s son, David Drake, about 6 or 7, was the ring bearer; and, our youth pastor’s daughter Vicki Barr, who was about 6, was the flower girl. My pastor’s wife, Julia Hill, made her dress to look like mine. The bride’s maids wore mint green sheath, short-sleeved, below-the knee dresses with a removable bell shaped skirt, which I designed and bought two patterns for Wilma Barr, our youth pastor’s wife, to make. They wore long mint green gloves and carried one red rose tied with a red ribbon. They had satin shoes like mine, but they were dyed mint green. I chose the colors for a winter-themed wedding and designed the dresses because they were modern and stylish and did not look like regular bride’s maid, evening gown dresses. Plus, I hope that they could be worn again by the bride’s maids; but, I don’t know if they were.
Did anyone give you advice? We attended pre-marriage counseling with our pastor, so he gave us advice about faith, love, sex, becoming parents, and sacrificing for one another.
What were your thoughts/feelings? I was happy to be marrying the man I loved, and who I knew loved me. And, I looked forward to our honeymoon in Niagara Falls and a life together.
What went through your mind walking down the aisle? I don’t remember exactly. But I had a special semi-circle stair case built, which was covered in white cloth, so we could walk up the stairs and stand facing each other during the ceremony. The attendants stood on each level of the steps. I had the kneeling alter covered in a white cushion. I was looking at the beauty of the altar and at Bennie waiting for me there. I was excited and happy. (I didn’t allow the photographer to take pictures of us walking toward to altar, And required him to take pictures from the balcony with a zoom lens because I did not like having photographers take pictures during wedding ceremonies.)
The Ceremony – We (probably I) revised the traditional vows and added our own verbiage, much of which we memorized. I was probably thinking about the words and hoping I wouldn’t forget any of them. As it turns out, I forgot a phrase during a long section. But, Bennie, the perfectionist, did not forget any of the vows. I still have the book with our rewritten vows in them. A good friend, Hansel MacDonald recorded the ceremony on tape (no camcorders in 1965) and gave it to us. I thought I gave it to Shawn and Scott in the early 1993, when we moved; but they don’t recall getting it.
The Transportation – The car was a brand new 1965 Maroon Impala with black interior. Bennie bought it in November or early December with his mother as cosigner. We traded it in in 68 for a new gold Oldsmobile...one of our bad moves. I really liked that car...but I always let Bennie make the decisions about cars.
The Honeymoon – We drove through Canada to Niagara Falls the next day, where it was a beautiful winter wonderland. We didn’t have boots, so our feet got wet and cold when we walked by the falls because the mist was always blowing, much like rain. We both ended up with colds. We were there three days and nights.
Some observations about the process and products:
- The flower in the upper right corner of the photo collage isn't there because of any design reasons, but rather to cover up a no parking sign in the photo that I didn't like.
- My mom scanned and emailed me these photos. I knew I wanted the one of them waving, and then she picked out and sent over the other two. Totally love.
- I'm beyond thrilled I have all of these details of my parents wedding recorded.