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Old wedding pictures 1960s

C20th Fashion History
1960s Wedding Dress Pictures
 Vera and Peter's 1961 Wedding

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

 

1960s Photos of Real People in Wedding Fashions
1961 Wedding Dress Pictures

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Vera's Wedding Day 1 July 1961

These photos were sent to me by Vera a visitor to this fashion-era website.  They are real fashion history photos of a fashion conscious young woman.

The first wedding picture is of Vera entering the church.  You can see the bridal party waiting for the wedding music signal to start so that they can walk down the church aisle.  As was once the tradition for every bride, Vera wore her veil over her face.  However, the tradition is slowly dying out, probably due to many weddings being held, not in a church, but in a registry office or country house hotel.

Back View of 1960s Wedding Dress 1961

1960s Wedding Dress Photo

Notice the lovely pointed lace sleeves and the small waist on Vera.Late 1950s wedding dress pattern

Royal Influences on Early 1960s Wedding Gowns

Vera's gown is a wonderful example of the bridal fashion for 1961.

The skirt silhouette has still has similar look to the style set by the wedding of Princess Grace of Monaco in 1956.  The close fitting bodice and the full skirted gown are also in line with a fashion set by H.R.H. Princess Margaret at her 1960 wedding to photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones.

This 1957 pattern Vogue 9084 right is also similar in line to Vera's dress.

  1961 wedding - in the picture above Vera and her husband Peter leave the church.

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The newly weds Peter with Vera 1961The wedding picture above shows Vera and her husband Peter leave the church, followed by the bridal party.

The bridesmaids wear ultra bright white ankle socks.  It would take a miracle to get girls of that age to wear socks with a formal dress today.  However in 1961, brilliant white nylon socks from America were all the rage.  The brighter white the better. Vera told me that the bridesmaids, her nieces, wore lemon dresses and this seems to have been a popular colour choice from 1955 to the early 1960s.

About the dress and the wedding morning she wrote, 'I was awake very early of course ... my nieces, the bridesmaids arrived quite early too because the wedding was at 10am.

The dress I chose was from a current book showing many styles. My sister-in-law's mother made it free of charge, which must have saved a fortune because she was a professional dress maker. I went through her books and chose bits of different dresses which she put together ... you can see the result in the photographs.'

Vera also wrote to tell me, 'The day before my wedding saw me sitting in the hairdresser's chair having my hair seriously back-combed, then the whole of that night I laid on my stomach, head on hands in order to stop my hair becoming squashed. Even so in the morning it was considerably flatter than the previous evening.'

The Wedding Reception Bill

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The Wedding Reception BillAfter the wedding service Vera and her new husband Peter, held a wedding reception and Vera sent me a copy of the bill from 1961. It details the cost of the wedding breakfast, reception including wines and drinks at the Stork Club, London. The 1961 wedding reception in total cost £76.16.6d., as you can see from this itemised bill when you enlarge it.

She also wrote 'The final item here is the bill for our wedding breakfast. It wasn't anything special really ... cold meat and salad for the main course, but I can't remember the rest. I think we had to keep the costs down a bit. Overall the whole wedding cost around £300.'

As the sixties saw the rise of the Affluent Society, so formal wedding attire was back on the agenda.  The wedding was once again developing event status after the austerity of hastily arranged war weddings.List of wedding items 1961

The men in the main bridal party all hired their formal morning dress suits from Moss Bros which would have been part of the £300 Vera mentions.

Vera also sent me an exercise book list with just a few of the rough costs of the wedding as they occurred. The list, see right, is full of deposits made and sundries for the gowns.  It also details where items were purchased, such as the shoes from Manfields, a shoe company that has stood the test of time.

These wedding photos must not be published/used elsewhere - 
©
Copyright www.fashion-era.com  2006

The Going Away Outfit 1961

Vera in her going away suit 1961.Vera looks perfection in this 'off on honeymoon' photo.  She is so beautifully groomed in her lemon yellow dress and jacket suit. 

Vera told me that in 1961 she found that £3 bought a good pair of winkle picker shoes with nice high heels and the going-away suit she wore cost £3 too.

Her new husband Peter looks delighted with his choice of bride and he carries her little vanity case full of personal beauty items to keep a wife looking well groomed.

The Vanity Case

Vanity cases such as this one, were a must-have of the 1960s.  Inside they were often lined with moiré fabric and had little elasticated pockets so that women could store containers and jars safely.

Women used them for an overnight occasion, going dancing or, if they went on to night classes straight from work.  In the 1960s in particular you would see girls entering Mecca and Top Rank ballrooms with their little vanity cases ready to help prepare the their hair of that of their friends.  In a way vanity cases of the 1960s era acted in much the same way as a consumer uses an oversized 'it' bag today. The likely contents were different, yet had similar functions.

Although many women regularly had a weekly shampoo and set at the hairdressers, the vanity case probably contained all the requirements for a do it yourself hairdo.   Contents such as hairbrush, mirror, a make up bag and hairspray by a brand like Supersoft, would have been essential for touch-ups.  It may have contained a liquid hair lacquer bought in a pump action spray from a local hairdresser.  It was common practice in the 1950s and 1960s to purchase a bottle of hair lacquer after a hair-set appointment so that a woman could brush up her hair herself.

To this list add rollers, hair grips, spare stockings and perhaps spare gloves in case they became soiled and the case was probably full. 

June 1961 Party

Anna, Vera's best friend in June 1961 and on her 21st birthday.The last photos here are of Vera with Peter at a 14 June 1961 party to celebrate their friend Anna's 21st coming of age birthday party.Vera and Peter 1961 two weeks before their wedding.

Both Vera and Anna's dresses are so typical of full skirted dresses of c1960.  The mod look and Mary Quant was still to arrive.

Vera wrote that her fiend Anna had naturally thick wavy hair. When you see that bouffant hairstyle you know why Vera and other young women like Anna also needed that vanity case.

Look more closely at the enlarged picture and you'll notice the 60s finger buffet party food.

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1961 Key Events Facts

If 1961 was a year of memorable history for Vera, then for the rest of the world it was one of notable history with both optimistic and pessimistic happenings.

  • John F Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the USA.
  • On 12 April 1961 Yuri Gagarin (Russian) became the first person to circle the globe in one single orbit in 108 minutes.  Only years later did the Soviets admit he almost never arrived back safely.
  • The Cuba/Bay of Pigs invasion happened on 17 April 1961.  It proved to be a pivotal event in C20th history leading to the missile crises of 1962.
  • 5 May 1961 Alan Shephard became first American in manned space flight.
  • On July 1 1961,  Lady Diana Spencer was born.  She later became a much feted Princess of Wales in 1981, on the occasion of her marriage to the heir to the British throne H.R.H. Prince Charles.
  • The Space War and the Cold war heated up.  On August 13, 1961 the Cold War stepped up and a dividing 'Wall' was erected between West and East Germany.
  • In November 1961 The Beatles first met Brian Epstein who masterminded their rise to global success.
  • In the UK the contraceptive 'Pill' was introduced and prescribed initially only to married women.
  • 1961 is the recognised start of the Vietnam War.

Old photos can be useful when tracing family members and narrowing down search dates. These photo pages may help you put an era to your undated images.  If you have dated photographs of interest that could be made into a C20th wedding page that will help others to date unknown genealogical photos I may be able to add them as a page.

My sincere thanks to Vera in Evesham for the chance to use such lovely old wedding photos.

Click thumbnails

You can read more about 1960's fashions in the 60s mini section. 
You can read how to date an old photo in this section here.

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Page added 3 October 2006

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These wedding photos must not be published or used elsewhere - © Copyright www.fashion-era.com  2000-2010.

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Old photos can be useful when tracing family members and narrowing down search dates. These photo pages may help you put an era to your undated images. If you have old wedding photos please send them to me and if suitable I will add them to this pictorial section of social history.

OLD WEDDING PHOTOS

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