Top Hats and Goodnight Kisses

“Every night in your married life should end with a kiss goodnight.”- Grandma Gladys

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On June 7, 1953 my grandmother Gladys married her love Selwyn at the sweet age of twenty. Last week my grandmother visited my new home in Savannah for the first time. My only request was that she carry her oversized wedding album so that I could share in one of her happiest memories. She unpacked a love story that I had never known, and explained certain charms from her wedding day that will now be part of mine.

My grandparents married at the Hotel Essex House, a structure in New Jersey, which no longer stands. The ceremony took place on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by about one hundred friends and family. The first picture that caught my eye was taken of my grandmother posing with her blue garter. In the process of planning my wedding I have disregarded the tradition of wearing a garter. Since I blush at the thought of showing some leg in front of wedding guests, I can only imagine how brides felt in the 50’s! The real treasure was learning that my grandmother still owns her delicate garter and would be honored to pass it down as my “something blue.”

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My beautiful grandmother with her blue garter.

My grandmother’s dress was made of white tulle with iridescent pearl flowers, a sweetheart neck and a crinoline slip. The intricate details of her dress have certainly inspired my own wedding gown.

After looking through the entire album I was most surprised by my grandfather’s choice of attire. Standing over six feet four inches tall, he chose to wear a top hat in combination with striped pants and a rather elegant tailcoat. The top hat is my favorite aesthetic detail from their wedding. It evokes memories of my grandfather’s effortless sophistication.

Although I am not carrying on the tradition of wearing my grandmother’s dress like my own mother did, I am honored to adorn my leg with “something blue” from one of the most special women in my life. As I have taken the time to learn about both of my grandparents’ very different weddings, I have decided to frame one picture from each of their special days at our venue. I feel very lucky that wedding planning has provided the opportunity to learn and appreciate the love stories of those in my family. I only hope my ceremony, like my grandmother’s, will officiate fifty-plus years of romance and memories with my groom.

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At the end of the wedding album my grandmother told me that although every wedding has its own bells and whistles, the real treat is kissing your groom goodnight.

~Written with a newfound appreciation for top hats and goodnight kisses~

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