Why do people continue with the White Wedding tradition? I find it very difficult to understand why this persists and why women want to end up looking like other brides on their wedding day, wearing a very expensive dress that only gets worn once.
From Wiki: A white wedding is a traditional formal or semi-formal wedding originating in Britain. The term originates from the white colour of the wedding dress, which first became popular with Victorian era elites, after Queen Victoria wore a white lace dress at her wedding; however, the term now also encapsulates the entire Western wedding routine, especially in the Christian religious tradition, which generally includes a marriage ceremony followed by a reception.
Here is a Mass Moonie wedding ceremony. Surely, this should put any one off from having such a ritual. MOONIE MASS WEDDINGS IS THE FIRST REASON AS TO WHY WHITE WEDDINGS HAVE HAD THEIR DAY.
The tradition of a white wedding is commonly credited to Queen Victoria’s choice to wear a white wedding dress at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. THIS IS THE SECOND REASON TO ESCHEW THE WHITE WEDDING DRESS TRADITION.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Royal brides before Victoria did not typically wear white, instead choosing “heavy brocaded gowns embroidered with white and silver thread,” with red being a particularly popular colour in Western Europe more generally. European and American brides had been wearing a plethora of colours, including blue, yellow, and practical colours like black, brown, or grey. As accounts of Victoria’s wedding spread across the Atlantic and throughout Europe elites followed her lead. Because of the limitations of laundering techniques, white dresses provided an opportunity for conspicuous consumption. They were favoured primarily as a way to show the world that the bride’s family was so wealthy and so firmly part of the leisure class that the bride would choose an elaborate dress that could be ruined by any sort of work or spill. The colour white was also the colour girls were required to wear at the time when they were presented to the court.
By the end of the 19th century the white dress was the garment of choice for elite brides on both sides of the Atlantic. However, middle-class British and American brides did not adopt the trend fully until after World War 11. With increased prosperity in the 20th century, the tradition also grew to include the practice of wearing the dress only once. As historian Vicky Howard writes, “[i]f a bride wore white in the nineteenth century, it was acceptable and likely that she wore her gown again …” Even Queen Victoria had her famous lace wedding dress re-styled for later use.
The portrayal of weddings in Hollywood movies, particularly immediately after World War II, helped crystallize and homogenize the white wedding into a normative form.
Here are a few more weddings of British royals. First up is LIZ AND PHIL
CHAS AND DI
The white wedding style was given another significant boost in 1981, when three-quarter billion people—one out of six people around the globe—watched Prince Charles marry Diana Spencer in her elaborate with a 25-foot-long train. This wedding is generally considered the most influential white wedding of the 20th century. THEY DIVORCED.
SARAH and ANDY now DIVORCED but apparently good friends
ANNE and MARK DIVORCED
EDWARD AND SOPHIE ARE STILL MARRIED.
After the ROYALS , THE TRAVELLERS are the next most extravagant in the WHITE WEDDING stakes.
Unfortunately, the WHITE WEDDNG has become a fairly universal and been replacing other cultural and ethnic traditions.
I too had a white wedding dress when we got married in 1967 in Ireland. I went along with the tradition in my pre-feminist days. I paid £11 for my dress and my friend Joan, who got married that same year 1967 hired her dress and ALSO paid the same. I later used the material from my dress to make a lampshade!! My headdress was referred to by my mother-in-law as a Dutch cap when she told her friends about it!!
Although women were required to wear veils in many churches through at least the 19th century, the resurgence of the wedding veil as a symbol of the bride, and its use even when not required by the bride’s religion, coincided with societal emphasis on women being modest and well-behaved. MODEST AND WELL-BEHAVED!!!
It is time that this outmoded fashion for expensive virginal white wedding dresses which are only worn once was dropped as the significance of it is so anti-feminist and so Stepford wives and Barbie.
I attended our annual Humanist Celebrants conference at Warwick University. It is good to catch up and get a feel of where we are at. We had a jolly powerpoint presentation by Isabel which she had actually given at her interview when she was appointed our Head of Ceremonies. Isabel is the first HOC who was/is a celebrant which I think is the ideal. Isabel comes from a theatre background and is a member of our little SE London celebrants group. The keynote speaker was the ever entertaining Charles Cowling of the Good Funeral Guide empire. He threw down the gauntlet and challenged us to think about what we are doing when we conduct funerals. It reminded me of my assertion that the BHA, members and celebrants, reflects the CofE culture that the majority were raised in. They are mainly C of E atheists which is a British/Monarchial/Empire/Establishment/Christian Protestant culture.
One workshop that I attended was led by Poppy Mardall. www.poppysfunerals.co.uk/
Poppy is based in Fulham, London and originally set up to provide a simple, inexpensive memorial type funeral whereby she would provide the family with the cremated ashes so that they could then conduct their own ceremony however, wherever they wanted it. This now constitutes about a third of her funerals and the rest are bespoke funerals. She does not believe in embalming nor the black garb entourage. Her pallbearers wear green fleeces.
We are a small independent company, passionate about helping you get what you want and need from a funeral. We take pride in providing the down-to-earth, practical, emotional and highly professional service you need when faced with the death of someone you love. Above all, we care hugely about getting it right for you.
We stayed in a nice B&B called Jersey Villa run by Polly. It was halfway between Warwick and Leamington Spa and we were able to walk to both. We went to Warwick on the Saturday evening for a meal and drink and to Leamington Spa on the Friday and again on the way home on Sunday to visit the Pump Rooms Museum and Gallery and a walk in Jephson Park in the rain.
The function of the Royal Pump Rooms changed several times over the following years. While retaining its assembly rooms and medical facilities, around 1863 it was extended to include a Turkish bath and swimming pool, in 1875 the Royal Pump Room Gardens were opened to the public, and in 1890 a further swimming pool was added. The economy of Leamington decreased towards the end of the 19th century following the decline in popularity of spa towns, and it became a popular place of residence for retired people and for members of the middle-class who relocated from Coventry and Birmingham, and wealthy residents led to the development of Leamington as a popular place for shopping. In 1997, the owners of the building, the district council, closed the facility for redevelopment, reopening it in 1999 as a culture centre. It now contains Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, a library, a tourist information centre, refurbished assembly rooms and a cafe. Spa water can still be sampled outside the building.
Leamington is closely associated with the founding of lawn tennis. The first tennis club in the world was formed in 1872 by Major Henry Gem and Augurio Pereira who had started playing tennis in the garden of Pereira. It was located just behind the former Manor House Hotel and the modern rules of lawn tennis were drawn up in 1874 in Leamington Tennis Club.
During the Second World War, Leamington was home to the Free Czechoslovak Army a memorial in the Jephson Gardens commemorates the bravery of Czechoslovak parachutists from Warwickshire. Also the Ford Motor Company relocated here from Cork during the war bringing many Irish people over to follow the work. Of course, John Ford was of Irish extraction and had an affinity to the homeland.
I visited the family of Phoebe who was 97 in St Mary Cray on a wet Friday in November. On my way back I dropped into The Lanesborough Hotel which was formerly St. George’s Hospital at Hyde Park Corner and now a 5* hotel and I had a pot of tea in the Library bar which was served with hot milk which I reckon is a good idea. The chunky biscuits were delicious.
St George’s Hospital opened in the original Lanesborough House in 1733. By the 1800s the hospital was falling into disrepair. Lanesborough House was demolished to make way for a new 350-bed facility. Building began in 1827 under architect William Wilkins. The new hospital was operational by 1844, serving continuously as a hospital until transferred to Tooting, south London in the 1970s, leaving the Hyde Park Corner premises vacant in 1980. Rosewood Hotels and Resorts refurbished and re-opened the building as a hotel in 1991. Ten years later the management contract passed to Starwood’s St Regis operation as its first and only hotel in England. It is one of the most expensive hotels in London.
In 2009, The Lanesborough announced the launch of ‘Apsleys – a Heinz Beck Restaurant’. This is Chef Heinz Beck’s first restaurant outside Italy. Beck has been the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding achievement throughout a long and prestigious career. He was awarded three-Michelin stars for his cuisine at La Pergola in Rome, Italy. ‘Apsleys – a Heinz Beck Restaurant’ began service on September 7, 2009, and was awarded its first Michelin star on 20 January 2010. This is the current fastest time for a new London restaurant to get one, in fewer than 5 months. Aspley House opposite the Lanesborough was the home
I do enjoy popping into these luxury hotels especially after work be it a family visit, a funeral or a meeting.
I attended our annual SACRE ( Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education) representatives meeting at Conway Hall recently and afterwards dropped in to the bar at the newly refurbished Rosewood Hotel formerly the Pearl Assurance Company.
As the district grew in importance, so too did its residents. Former Holborn occupants include Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Thomas More, John Milton, Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens. Dickens wrote Pickwick Papers while living here, and set scenes from many novels in the area, including Pip and Herbert Pocket’s home in Great Expectations. As the 20th century approached, the area was home to William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as the Holborn Restaurant, an expansive eatery (it was formerly a casino) that the 1890 Baedeker’s guide to London called one of the best-known restaurants in the city.
History of No. 252 Designed by H. Percy Monckton in a flamboyant Edwardian style, the extraordinary building at 252 High Holborn began construction in 1912. The first part was completed in 1914, and it was expanded upon in four stages over nearly 50 years, during which time it was the headquarters for the Pearl Assurance Company.
The subsequent transformation of this historic building from Imperial-era offices into a London luxury hotel was carried out under the guidance of English Heritage, which lists the principal facades, as well as the interiors of the former East and West Banking Halls (now Holborn Dining Room and the Bar, respectively) and the Grand Staircase as the hotel’s significant heritage features.
The magnificent street frontage, which today is the entrance to Rosewood London, features a central carriageway entrance and dome leading into a grand courtyard, which provides a calm sanctuary away from the bustle of the city.
Inside, the lavish interiors are fitted out with Cuban mahogany and seven types of marble, including extremely rare types such as Swedish Green and Statuary. One of the most dramatic features of this five-star heritage hotel is the Renaissance-style seven-storey grand staircase, an architectural tour de force in marble. It ascends from either side of the entrance on High Holborn, forming a bridge on the first floor and rising through all the floors under an elliptical dome. Looking upwards, the arcades of Pavonazzo marble frame a view of the cupola that rises to 50.6 meters (166 feet), the maximum permitted height at the time of construction. Three individual heritage boardrooms are named in honour of Chairmen of Pearl Assurance Company. The Grade II-listed building is now sensitively renovated throughout to provide accommodation with the feel of a stylish London residence.
Sir John Betjeman was instrumental in the campaign to save St Pancras station from demolition. He was founding member of the Victorian Society and a dedicated campaigner and was commemorated when it became an international terminus for Eurostar in November 2007. He called the plan to demolish St Pancras a “criminal folly”.
About it he wrote, “What [the Londoner] sees in his mind’s eye is that cluster of towers and pinnacles seen from Pentonville Hill and outlined against a foggy sunset, and the great arc of Barlow’s train shed gaping to devour incoming engines, and the sudden burst of exuberant Gothic of the hotel seen from gloomy Judd Street.”
Do treat yourself to a visit.
Here is a photo of Edith’s Naming Ceremony which was held in front of Henry Moore’s THREE STANDING FIGURES which is on a mound facing the lake in Battersea Park in the tropical garden.
Here we are Edith, Rachael, Kieran,her Mum and Dad, with me in front of the figures where we held her lovely Naming Ceremony
Here are the three of them with the view from the standing figures.
PREPARING FOR A FUNERAL
A LIFESTORY AND THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES FROM FAMILY/FRIENDS.
A Humanist funeral is a bit like the TV programme THIS IS YOUR LIFE when the biography of the person who has died would be read. I try to get the family/next of kin to write it as they know the facts and can tell it exactly as they wish to.
Start with their date of birth, name of parents/siblings, where born and brought up, what they were like as a youngster, what they were into sports etc, school/ college/ work/marriage/ partnership/ how they met/children/ grandchilddren, interests, passions/politics/ reading/newspapers/ crosswords/holidays, pets, homes./gardening etc.
The more factual details are often followed by A DESCRIPTION OF THE SORT OF PERSON THEY WERE AND THEIR INTERESTS.
Then THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES FROM FAMILY / FRIENDS when recollections of family, colleagues, neighbours and friends are included which have come from remarks/cards/letters/requested memories etc. HUMOUR is important.
Usually, the biography/lifestory comes first followed by tributes and memories. You will need to decide how long/how many pages of lifestory to do. A page of A4 font 14 takes 3 minutes to read. Typically it would be 4-6 pages
Sometimes it gets divided chronologically and contributions/tributes/memories from people who knew them at each stage would speak/have their contribution read by someone else – either because they can’t be there or would find it too difficult.
HOWEVER, I would always encourage people to speak telling them that they will not regret doing it but might regret NOT doing it. Humour/funny/honest stories/anecdotes/appraisal is important even when circumstances are very sad or tragic.
SPEAKERS and TIMINGS.
You will need to be quite aware of timings and the number of speakers/readings and music. Most crematoria state that the funeral service should last half an hour with 10 minutes to get in and out. Typically there would be about three tributes of 3 minutes each and 1-2 readings/poems. The order of speakers/contributions would tend to be work colleagues, friends, family ending with the most significant..
Usually three pieces. The music as we enter when the coffin is brought in tends to be more background and needs to be long enough for all the mourners to come in. The music as we leave tends to be lively/upbeat. The piece during the ceremony, usually after all the talking/tributes, is a reflective piece or simply a favourite of the deceased or something that the family likes/finds consoling and would last for 3 to 4 minutes.
Nowadays, with Humanist funerals there is resistance to lots of flowers with donations to charity recommended instead. However, people often decide that immediate family and friends or all the mourners bring a single flower/piece of greenery – unwrapped – no ribbons /cellophane – to place on the coffin as they say ‘Goodbye’ during the middle piece of music.
MEMORIAL BOOK. I suggest that people are invited to send their thoughts and happy memories of the person who has died before or after the funeral which can be used at the funeral or are for the family to read and look back on in time to come. This can be consoling for those bereaved but it can also be cathartic for those invited to share their memories..
We popped into the Luminarc shop which is in Arques. It is the leading manufacturer of crystal and glassware in the world. Arc International was established in 1825 in the village of Arques in northernFrance by Alexander des Lyons de Noircarm, who began production by manufacturing glass storage containers known as “dame-jeanne” (demijohns in English), which were popular at that time.
Arc International employs 15, 000 people worldwide including 9000 in France. The group, whose head office is located in Arques, in the French Pas-de-Calais region, achieved a turnover of 1.5 billion Euros in 2007. Armed with its know how in glassware, it developed globally and diversified its activities through the integration of materials other than glass. Today, it markets a full range of tableware products in more than 160 countries.
We had a short break in France using up a car ferry ticket from last year when we cancelled our holiday in St Simeon because I was unwell. Barbara organised the accomodation through Air B&B which she and Aengus use. The place was designed by the owner who is an architect and it is their second home as they reside in Paris . I was in the village of Tattinghem near St. Omer. It was delightful and very modern and bright so Fingal decided he would come along too!
Black and white with a dash of purple and lime!!
The Entrance. The key was left under the planter by their neighbour.
We went to Montreuil-Sur-Mer which is an old favourite from when we did the day trips for supermarket/drink shopping.
It is no longer sur mer but sea or no sea, it is tres charmant. Montreuil is a “ville fleurie”, which means it does not stint on the window-boxes. Flowers cascaded over the walls lining the approach to the town. Wisteria clung to the old stone balconies. Petunias ran riot in front of the town hall. Every roundabout was a work of art.
The charming walled town of Montreuil is a perfect destination for a weekend away with its beautiful old houses and churches, its imposing ramparts and its cobbled streets – not to mention a good selection of restaurants and hotels. In fact its origins lie in Roman times when the sea ran up the estuary of the Canche as far as Montreuil. The first ramparts were built in the 9th Century by the Count of Ponthieu and in the 10th Century Montreuil rose to importance as the main sea port of the Capétiens. Like Arras, Montreuil was famous for its cloth industry from the 11th to the 13th centuries. The eight churches drew pilgrims from far and wide thanks to the relics of saints they held. The population grew to over 10,000 people and the royal castle of which only two towers remain today, was built in 1186, a charter having been granted by Philip Auguste. As the estuary silted up, the port fell silent and when finally the English took possession of the town, Montreuil emerged from the Hundred Years’ War in ruins. It was to suffer further when it was plundered by Henry XVIII of England and Charles V of Spain who laid siege but were rebuffed by the medieval walls. It fared less well in another siege in 1537 and finally succumbed to the plague in 1596.
Wild flowers on the grassy ramparts.
Pretty blue door and window shutters
The clock seemed very special in the 16th century. It was a time when Copernicus and Galileo challenged the long-held belief that the Earth was the centre of the universe, and that the sun and stars all revolved round the Earth. This idea dated back to the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. The Church denounced the scientists who questioned this notion, fearing that it cast doubt on their basic teachings about God and creation.
St Erkembode, an Irish bishops , whose shrine is visited by depressive people and the parents of crippled children. To aid the recovery of their children, parents leave tiny pairs of shoes on the saint’s tomb, which are periodically cleared away by Roman Catholic cathedral authorities. Apparently, he was a great walker!
We attended a wedding in Rushton Hall Northamptonshire in August. It was for the daughter, Natalie, of our lovely friend Thandi whom we have known since the mid-seventies when she came to lodge with us when she, too, was a student. Natalie was marrying Tendai and they had made all the wedding arrangements themselves, as so many couples do nowadays. It was a lovely wedding and the band , which they had brought over from Paris, played African dance music which ensured that most of the guests got up to dance, with a few virtuoso spots!
It was commenced by Sir John Tresham and his family around 1438 who through generations, owned the hall for nearly 200 years, and was later enlarged and embellished by the Cockayne family around 1630.
The Treshams were Catholic and his grandson Francis was implicated in the gunpowder plot and was imprisoned and died there.
William Hope from Amsterdam purchased Rushton Hall in 1828 for £140,000. He spent huge amounts of money on the hall, ‘for the purpose of fitting it up in the French fashion’ and resided at the hall in the shooting seasons only. It is said that the famous Hope diamond was stored here during his ownership. Upon his death, Miss Clara Thornhill paid £165,000. A year later she married William Capel Clarke and in 1856 both took the name Clarke-Thornhill.
Charles Dickens became a great friend of Clara Thornhill, and over the years visited Rushton many times. He conceived the idea of Haversham Hall for his novel Great Expectations whilst at Rushton.The Clarke-Thornhill family owned the hall until 1934, but after the death of William Clarke-Thornhill, the Hall was let to an array of lodgers including JJ Van Alen who loved the hall so much, he reinstated many Tudor and Jacobean architectural details at great expense.
The RNIB opened the hall as a school in 1957 and sold it in 2003 to H I Limited, a privately owned family business, committed to maintaining Rushton for future generations.
This is inside our bedroom window.
This taken from the gorounds of tour 2nd floor bedroom window.
We went to visit this intriguing building which I recalled hearing about from the irritating Dan Cruickshank on archetectural oddities. It is visible from the grounds of Rushton.
This delightful triangular building was designed by Sir Thomas Tresham (father of one of the Gunpowder Plotters) and constructed between 1593 and 1597. It is a testament to Tresham’s Roman Catholicism: the number three, symbolising the Holy Trinity, is apparent everywhere. There are three floors, trefoil windows and three triangular gables on each side.On the entrance front is the inscription ‘Tres Testimonium Dant’ (‘there are three that give witness’), a Biblical quotation from St John’s Gospel referring to the Trinity. It is also a pun on Tresham’s name; his wife called him ‘Good Tres’ in her letters.
It has three walls 33 feet long, each with three triangular windows and surmounted by three gargoyles. The building has three floors, upon a basement, and a triangular chimney. Three latin texts, each 33 letters long, run around the building on each facade. The windows on each floor are of different designs, all equally ornate. The largest, those on the first floor, are in the form of a trefoil, which was the emblem of the Tresham family. The basement windows are small trefoils with a triangular pane at their centre. The windows on the ground floor are of a lozenge design, each having 12 small circular openings surrounding a central cruciform slit. Heraldic shields of various families surround these windows.
I think all the religious Trinity stuff is a load of bollocks but I do like the three motif and this curiosity..
I found this interesting item on changing Ireland. Godless funerals thrive in ‘post-Catholic’ Ireland
Irish funeral directors estimate that 10 percent of the nearly 30,000 funerals conducted annually are nonreligious, due in part to a decline in the number of Catholics in Ireland.
Patricia Wojnar left a 32-year career in interior design tobecome a registered civil celebrant, presiding over funerals and weddings for people who refuse to associate with Ireland’s scandal-tarred Roman Catholic Church. She’s not alone; many newly minted civil celebrants are starting their own businesses as part of Ireland’s “post-Catholic” economy.
Although many observers have noted the impact of secularization and child abuse scandals on church membership and finances, only now are the Irish seeing the cultural and socioeconomic reverberations. These include a class of people willing to observe life’s most significant milestones outside the church.
“People only get one opportunity to get a funeral right,” Wojnar said. “I help them prepare a service which honors the bereaved without being constrained by the convention of religion.”
Government data show that about 30 percent of the 21,000 weddings annually are outside any church, up from 5 percent two decades ago.
Brian Whiteside, the director of ceremonies for the Humanist Association of Ireland, led more than 100 weddings, funerals or naming ceremonies in 2012.
“We’re busier than we ever thought we would be,” Whiteside said. “I thought I would do this as a sideline, but it’s taken over my life.”
Humanists – who believe in ethical values and a sense of compassion – have been at the forefront of performing nonreligious ceremonies. Whiteside said he and his 10 fellow Humanist-sanctioned celebrants have seen consistent growth, topping off at 78 funerals and 200 weddings in 2012.
Brian Whiteside whom I met at one of our celebrants conferences is their main man in Ireland.
Massey’s, a Dublin funeral home, spent $200,000 last year to open the first venue designed specifically to host civil funerals. These entrepreneurs see themselves replacing the shrinking pool of priests. By one estimate, the number of Irish parish priests will drop from 2,000 today to a few hundred by 2042. If they want to bury a loved one without a lengthy wait for a priest, Wojnar said many families may soon have to choose a civil celebrant.
It is very interesting t note that there were 200 humanist weddings but only 78 funerals in 2012 whereas for celebrants, like myself, it very much the reversed as funerals definitely constitute the majority of ceremonies that we take. But the times they are a changing for the better in Ireland.
In the 2011 census, the total number of non-religious in Ireland increased by 45 per cent, with close to 270,000 people classifying themselves in this category.
Here is another website on non -religious funeral options in Ireland.Funerals in Ireland: What are your options? · TheJournal.ie
When I looked for images of humanist funerals Ireland I found some from this blog there!