By Ginny Kropf, correspondent
LYNDONVILLE – A spring luncheon event has become a tradition at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church, and this year’s drew inspiration from the past.
Organized by Ruth Hedges, the spring fling on Saturday paid tribute to the Wonderful World of Weddings, and featured a fashion show of gowns worn by brides at their weddings dating as far back as 1870.
Hedges got the idea after doing one with town of Shelby historian Alice Zacher when she attended the Millville United Methodist Church about 10 years ago.
“It was a huge success,” Hedges said.
Men of the Lyndonville church served the luncheon Saturday, which included a bridal cake shaped from cupcakes from Case-Nic Cookies.
Guest speaker was Georgia Thomas, who shared the “History of Weddings,” and how many wedding traditions originated.
Marilyn Kenyon stands next to Haley Shafer, who is modeling the wedding gown Kenyon wore at her 1951 wedding at the Lyndonville United Methodist Church.
June weddings go back in antiquity, she said.
“It was warm in June, and back then they only took a bath once a year, so people got married in June when they smelled good,” she said.
The wedding band, a circle of gold, represents never-ending love and is worn on the third finger of the left hand because it was said a vein runs up that finger to the heart.
Early bridal bouquets were made from field flowers and herbs, and every bride had rosemary and a sprig of myrtle in her bouquet. Rosemary signified remembrance, while myrtle is the flower of love and marriage, dating back to Greek mythology. All royal bouquets had a sprig of myrtle.
The “something old” each bride must carry was meant to be something from the bride’s past, while “something new” was meant to signify a happy future. “Something borrowed” had to be from a happily married couple, and “something blue” ensured fertility and love.
Through the decades, brides and grooms have tied the knot in hot air balloons and airplanes, on television and even by telegraph in a transatlantic wedding between Stockholm, Sweden and Detroit.
Special music was provided at the luncheon by Darrel Oakes of Lyndonville, who sang “I Love You Truly.” He also sang the song at Hedges first wedding to James Valentine in 1960.
It was a challenge to find models who could fit in the bridal gowns worn decades ago, and only Carla Woodworth was able to fit in the gown she wore when she married Terry Woodworth in 1975.
Hedges’ granddaughter Bridget Boland of Albany came to visit so she could model her grandmother’s gown. She had purchased it from a lady in Lockport for $25.
Haley Shafer modeled the gown worn by Marilyn Cook when she married Roger Kenyon in the Lyndonville Methodist Church in 1951.
“My sister and I took the bus to Sattlers at 998 Broadway to shop for my gown,” Marilyn Kenyon said. “They were remodeling and their bridal gowns were on sale. The clerk asked me what I was looking for and I told her I wanted a mandarin collar and pointed sleeves. It was the first and only dress I tried on. The headpiece cost more than the dress.”
Caelen Crowley was a perfect fit for her grandmother Charlotte Owen Crowley Bruning’s wedding dress.
The Rev. Beth Malone, pastor of the Lyndonville United Methodist Church, was married by her mom to Darren Malone in 1988 in Geneseo. Her gown, which she said she bought at an end-of-year sale, was modeled by Karen Brown.
Boland modeled two gowns – her grandmother’s and the gown worn by Christine Pask of Millville when she married Ed Urbanik of Lyndonville in 1985 at the Millville United Methodist Church.
Perhaps Laura Campbell had one of the most unique weddings. She and her husband were married in 2002 on 97 Rock in a promotion which included 97 couples. Rebecca Strickland modeled Campbell’s gown, which she purchased on sale at Blissett’s in Medina for $99.
Several bridal gowns and accessories were on display in the church sanctuary during the fashion show. One was Georgia Thomas’ which she wore at her December 1964 wedding to Terry Thomas of Medina. It was peau de soire with a silk organic overlay and court train.
Georgia also brought a c.1870 gray gown from the Medina Historical Society’s collection, with gloves and high button shoes.
Two other gowns on display were the one Wanda Oakes wore at her wedding to James Oakes and the one her mother-in-law Eloise Oakes’ worn at her wedding to Leonard Oakes. Wanda and James were married Dec. 22, 1950, while Eloise and Leonard were married Dec. 21, 1926. Eloise’s gown was muslin, while Wanda’s was candlelight satin.
Wanda said their colors and flowers were unusual, as they were married so close to Christmas. Her bridesmaids wore red and green velvet, and her flowers were poinsettias.
Alexis Strickland brought a beige muslin gown worn by her grandmother in 1919 and her grandfather’s wedding shirt to display.
Hedges said they are already planning on next year’s ladies’ spring luncheon. It will be a Kentucky Derby tea party, and ladies are encouraged to start thinking about the hat they will wear.
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