Wedding Decorations a Hundred Years Ago

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, June 14, 1914:  Heard the details of a rather unusual wedding, which took place this morning. Lots of people went that weren’t invited. Ruth was one.

Attended church this afternoon. A supply preacher was there for the afternoon. He could make his eyes flash.

Photo Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)
Photo Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Hmm. . . Sunday morning seems like an odd time for a wedding. Why would people crash it?. . . Were the bride and groom very popular and friends of many of the young people? . . . Was there an awesome reception? . . . What were the wedding decorations like?

I wonder if Grandma’s sister Ruth kept a diary. If would be fun to read what she wrote about this unusual wedding.

1914-10-37 c

1914-10-37 a

1914-10-37 f
Bride’s bouquet with Bible or prayer book
1914-10-37 d
Bride’s maid’s bouquet

1914-10-37 e


What did Grandma mean when she said that the substitute pastor made his eyes flash? Was he preaching about hell, fire and brimstone?

44 thoughts on “Wedding Decorations a Hundred Years Ago

    1. Thanks for looking it up. . . interesting that the eyes can be flashing in either anger or humor. I think that I’d tend to say that someone’s eyes were twinkling if they were being humorous.

  1. I wonder if the wedding was outdoors, so the uninvited could just gather around and watch? Would an outdoor wedding have been unusual in that era?

    1. Maybe. . . that could explain how someone might crash a wedding. I have no idea how common outdoor weddings were a hundred years ago–though I know that my in-laws had an outdoor wedding in the 1940s.

  2. So many questions left unanswered! Like others, it makes me wonder about the timing of the wedding and the wedding crashers. Guess that’s something we’ll never know for sure. Like your pictures of wedding ideas of the time! 🙂

    1. It crossed my mind that maybe the wedding crashers may have just gone to the reception–though that’s not what the diary entry said.

  3. It is odd that uninvited guests would show up at a wedding. Perhaps because it was Sunday morning? I can imagine people showed up early for church to congregate and socialize before services, so maybe when there was action, they just went into the building?
    Diana xo

    1. The scenario you describe makes sense to me. Since the church was “between ministers” people may have had to schedule weddings around the availability of the substitute minister.

    1. Definitely not the typical diary entry. . .It’s strange how there were recently a couple “nothing happened” days–and then several out-of-the ordinary events all got clumped together on one day. . . though I guess that’s how things often happen in my life, too. . . When it rains it pours. 🙂

  4. Jewish weddings don’t take place during Shabbat: sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, so they often will be on Sunday, especially during summer months. Was there any kind of Jewish community in the area at the time? (I know, this is probably a long shot, but I thought I’d mention it.)

    1. I don’t think that there was a Jewish community in the area. That said, there are a lot of last names in the the area that are common surnames of Jewish people (though the individuals with the names are typically Christian).

  5. This is a great post, it leaves a lot of room for our imagination to fill in the details 🙂

    1. Your description of the bridal bouquet made me laugh. When I read it, I scrolled back up and looked at the picture again–and you’re absolutely right, they look like carrots. Strange. . .

    1. I wonder if it was something like that.

      Now that you mention it, I can remember that when I was a child that the church bulletin occasionally contained an invitation to a member’s wedding. Our family would sometimes go to the wedding, but we won’t go to the reception since we didn’t have a “real invitation”.

  6. Back at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Forestville, Connecticut — the days when refreshments were served in the church basement and the expense was for the gowns ant tuxes, anyone in the church was automatically invited to attend the wedding — and did.

    1. Those were the days! I also remember when wedding receptions were held in the church basement. Typically the refreshments were cake and ice cream.

    1. I thought the same thing. I can’t figure out if they are just really poor drawings, or if they actually made bouquets that looked similar to the ones in the pictures back then.

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