Sunday, June 17, 2012

Recollections – A San Francisco wedding in 1967

When we were in New York a month or so ago, we had dinner with my friend Christina, who writes the blog called “Bowsprite.” When I told her that in June my husband and I would be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary, Christina urged me to write a post about our wedding. I had meant to write about it in the order of my recollections – but my recollections posts are still no farther than a post written in June 2010 ending with my mother meeting my father. So this is a post, (not in proper sequence of my recollections,) but about our wedding on 17 June 1967 in San Francisco. I did not take many pictures then, so below are vintage postcards of San Francisco.

In 1966 my fiancé and I traveled to Paris so he could meet my family. We had decided to get married in June of 1967. At the time people did not travel as much by aircraft as we do now. Neither my parents nor fiancé’s parents came to our wedding because of the distance. My fiancé’s brother, who was his best man, flew into San Francisco a couple of days before the wedding. Other than him, we had no family present. Most of our guests came from the companies where we worked. We decided to get married in the Swedenborgian Church on Washington Street in San Francisco. I had been told that it was a small, but lovely romantic church. It looked stern from the exterior as you can see below but it had a very pretty garden in the back for photographs. In addition you did not have to be a member of the church.

The church was completed in 1895 and is regarded as a pure California Arts and Crafts building. There is a beautiful stained-glass window over the altar of a dove by a fountain. The frame of the church consists of long lengths of unpeeled Madrone trunks (also called Arbutus tree) cut from the Santa Cruz Mountains and there is Douglas Fir wood on the sanctuary walls. The flooring is Oregon pine. Pastoral paintings on the walls, the maple chair (made by hand without the use of nails,) a great fireplace and all this antique wood gave a warm and intimate atmosphere. Details in the walled garden were selected for universal significance. Later, in 2004, the church was declared a National Historic Landmark. (Click on collage to enlarge then on each photo - photos courtesy Fiammata Glass.)

Earlier in that spring of 1967 I saw a beautiful wedding dress on the cover of Bride Magazine. I checked with several stores and found out that the Emporium, a large department store in San Francisco, could order this dress for $150. At the time it was an enormous amount for me to pay. But the following week I received my income tax refund check, and it was for $175 – so I went back to the Emporium and ordered the dress. It was a formal shantung silk dress with a lace coat, empire style. I looked up the inflation calendar - $150 in 1967 would be approximately $1,030.00 in 2012. I read that the Emporium founded in 1896 lasted until 1995. Below is a picture of the store from the mid 1960s (courtesy SF Images.)

My maid of honor, Virginia, was my best friend from work. I had two other bridesmaids from my office. My fiancé had two ushers – George a good friend I had met while attending the San Francisco Art Institute and Leslie who later joined a commune. We met Leslie at The Farm in Tennessee two years ago (see post here.) We had not seen him since we left San Francisco in 1970. My bridesmaids wore lavender dresses and had lavender orchids as bouquets. Below are pictures of them at the reception.

Since my father could not be at the wedding I asked my best friend, Vince, to give me away. I had met Vince when I started working in San Francisco in 1962. His family was from Sicily, Italy and he was a great gourmet cook. Vince and his partner, Garth, lived a block up from me and I spent many hours in their kitchen learning Vince’s Italian cooking. Sadly Vince passed away many years ago. In the picture below, I am standing outside the church with one of my bridesmaids and my friend Vince.

The picture above is dark and most of my wedding pictures are not very good. A friend from the Philippines, who was an artist but also an amateur photographer, took our wedding pictures, but the cameras then were not the best. Several guests gave us pictures, too, but the colors are fading. In addition when we moved to Decatur, Georgia, several years later, our house was burglarized and a couple of large boxes containing our color slides were taken. I have scanned some of the pictures I have left. Below I am entering the Swedenborgian Church.

The interior of the church was dark but lovely. The flowers decorating the chapel had been left from the previous wedding (we had arranged for this and paid half of the cost.) Below Vince and I are going up the aisle.

If we had married in France we would have had to go to the town hall first with our wedding license to be legally married. In France there is a strong separation of church and state and a church wedding only is not legal. All couples there have to get a civil wedding first then, if they so chose, go to a church or other religious institution for the religious ceremony. In the USA though one can be legally married in a religious establishment like a church, a synagogue, temple and mosque – well, unless it is a same-sex marriage, which is still not legal in many states. Below the Marriage Certificate is being signed by Reverend Othmar Tobisch, pastor of the church.

Below my new husband Jim and I are standing at the altar after the ceremony.

Below is the wedding party.

Here we are, on this 17th June 1967, for a formal wedding picture in the San Francisco Swedenborgian Church garden.

Below we are with our attendants.

Now we are leaving the church going to the reception in Marin County.

Good friends of my husband gave the reception for us as a wedding present. It took place in the outdoor garden of a lovely restaurant called “L’Europe.”

Since none of my family was present I liked it that there was still a European flavor.

It was a very pretty, sunny day, and about 35-40 people mingled, talked and laughed while eating snacks and drinking wine and other beverages. Below on the left is my maid of honor, Virginia. She had also been my roommate while I was studying at Berkeley. Her boyfriend, an Egyptian student who was finishing his PhD at University of California, Berkeley, is near her. Next to him is my hairdresser who was also my friend – she had come from Hungary a couple of years earlier. (Unfortunately all these photos are faded – Virginia’s dress was mauve but it does not show.)

I remember the wedding cake as being pretty and delicious.

After cutting the cake I threw my bouquet of roses. Virginia caught the bouquet. She did marry her Egyptian boyfriend later on. It had been a day to remember and I remember it well.

My husband had a British Racing green MG TF 1500 automobile at the time which was a two-seater. Since his brother was in town for several days we decided not to leave him alone in San Francisco and took him on our little honeymoon. We rented a cream colored Volkswagen Beetle. Below are examples of the two cars – the MG TF on the bottom and VW Beetle on top (courtesy Conceptcarz and Wikipedia.)

First, on Sunday 18 June we attended the Monterey International Pop Music Festival. This was a three-day concert from 16 through 18 June, 1967. An estimated 200,000 young people attended this concert. It was a three day celebration of Music, Peace, Flower-Power and Love. There was an enormous amount of people that Sunday. The entrance fee was one dollar. The artists performed for free (except Ravi Shankar.) I remember watching The Blues Project, Ravi Shankar, Buffalo Springfield, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Who, The Mamas and The Papas, Otis Redding. I watched as Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar and jumped on it. The day after my wedding, this was also a festival to remember – it achieved historical significance, really. It was incredible. Some have said that it was the greatest rock concert ever – it defined the ‘60s and the “Summer of Love.”

After that we drove all the way to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. The view of the coast was breathtaking. I took some pictures, in black and white, but they don’t show the grandeur of the view. I took the picture of a small restaurant with a sign above the entrance saying “No Hippies Allowed.

The painting of the Monterey Coast by Paul Moran below certainly gives a better feeling for the beauty of this unique place.

Monterey Coast, Paul Moran, American 1837-1926

So here we are 17 June 2012 – forty-five years later. Where has the time gone? It does not seem so long ago – but it was. I will always remember that week in June 1967 with much love.


Note: Blogger Break - Post pre-programmed.


Jeruen said...

Thank you for sharing this. And I am glad to see that after these years, you two are still going strong. I always love your style of blogging, very informative, and the articles are full of interesting tidbits. In this case, I couldn't help but notice how fashion and style changed over the years; thanks for preserving and sharing your pictures!

wenn said...

Thanks for sharing! very interesting!

Shammickite said...

I really enjoyed reading all about your wedding and the days that followed. You certainly had a truly international event.... guests from Hungary, Philippines, Egypt, Sicily, USA and of course.... the lovely bride was from France! And going to the concert was a very special happening.... Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Mamas and Papas.... just think how many of those performers are no longer with us!

Lonicera said...

Lovely - and I thought your dress was soooo pretty and chic. I think those pictures could be restored very well with Photoshop - it could well be worth paying someone to do them for you. You looked simply beautiful.

Diane said...

Happy 45th Anniversary, did you get your Sapphire? Many congratulations.

This is a great post with some fantastic photos. Lovely to read all about your wedding. Recollections are not easy as you will see from my new blog it is going slowly!! Diane

Diane said...

I forgot to add, I wish that I had that TF now. I would really enjoy it :) Diane

DJan said...

Happy anniversary! What a wonderful post, with pictures of the event that tell the tale very well. But of course your detailed writing about it is what makes it so special today. Imagine being right in the middle of San Francisco during the Summer of Love! And being newly married, too. I am impressed. I have no pictures of my own wedding, which was a hurried affair because I was pregnant. Thank you for sharing this with me. :-)

Gail Dixon said...

Happy Anniversary!! I so enjoyed these vintage photos. You made a beautiful bride. I'm kinda envious that you got to go to the Monterey Music Festival. How awesome to see Jimi live!! Wow. Color me impressed.

Frances said...

Vagabonde, I wish you and Jim a very, very Happy Anniversary!

Thank you so very much for this beautiful post. You were and are a lovely bride, and Jim a very handsome groom.

That was the same summer that I first arrived in New York, and your post really took me back to a very special time.


Jojo said...

Such a wonderful post. I loved your wedding story and the honeymoon trip too. What a beautiful and memorable trip it was too. I love the sign, no hippies allowed. Isn't that a memory from the times.. A few years after the pop festival you attended I was lucky enough to attend the Byron Pop Festival which featured Jimi and I was only 14. I'm still amazed my mom let me go with my brother to camp out for the event but I'm glad to have the memory. I love your wedding photos.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

What a wonderful Post...You said you didn't habe many pictures of your Wedding...But, in fact, you did!! GREAT Pictures, my dear....
I LOVE old photo's and these are so very touching, in every way....


Pondside said...

What a sweet post - full of memory of happy day. How generous of you to share it with us. The church is beautiful and I enjoyed a little 'tour' of the inside. If it is framed with Arbutus it will stand for centuries, as that wood is like iron when it ages.
You were a lovely bride! Your dress was beautiful, and your groom was handsome and the vows you said have lasted 45 years. It just doesn't get any better than that.
PS I was a bridesmaid in '67 and wore the same shoes and the same headpiece - so very stylish!

Pat said...

Many congratulations! I did want to make the day and kept being pushed off line.
The 17th - today - just, was my mother's birthday and I forgot having been thinking of my father all day.
It was a most beautiful wedding and you a lovely bride. It must have been sad missing your family but the joy of the day would see you through.
I m green with envy at the fantastic rock concert. My younger son thinks Jimi was the most fantastic musician.
Thank you for an inspiring post.

chlost said...

Your post is a wonderful tribute to your anniversary! Thank you for sharing your photos and memories of that looks like it was a lot of fun. It is so interesting to compare how we handle weddings today (such extravagance) and how they were in years past. I often wonder if those marrying today with all of the expensive and fancy weddings will be likely to make it 45 years. Sometimes they are more into the wedding than the marriage. Congratulations to the two of you!

Sally Wessely said...

I had so much fun reading this post and studying the photos. You certainly took me back to 1967 with these photos. Your dress was just perfect. It truly was a quintessential dress for that time. I think every bride in 1967 would have loved to have worn that dress or one very similar to it.

I was in Monterey just nine months before you with my first husband. We had been married in August of 1966. We also went to San Simeon. My husband was stationed at Ft. Ord right outside of Monterey.

Congratulations to you both. June 1967, the Summer of Love, must truly bring back some wonderful memories to you both. You are right. Where has the time gone?

Ginnie said...

Not many couples are left who will celebrate a 45-year milestone like this, Vagabonde, so CONGRATULATIONS. I sure hope you'll be posting about your 50th, before we know it!

You looked so happy...and beautiful! And you still remember the details. Amazing!

Jeanie said...

What a gorgeous bride you were! And what a lovely and special day. Loved the photos you shared, your beautiful dress and lovely church and so many smiles!

I can tell you were very happy! And what a treat -- San Simeon and Monterrey Pop for a wedding! Love it to the max!

Happy Anniversary, my friend.

Al said...

Congratulations. 45 years! And those are some great old photos.

Anonymous said...

J'aime beaucoup ces vieilles cartes et photos anciennes. Elles font rêver!

joared said...

Your photos were state of the art at the time they were taken. Glad you have them. Enjoyed your account of those wedding preparations, days and events.

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, your dress was so lovely and I your husband's car reminded me of cars I've seen in English films and Masterpiece Theater. What an international scene at your wedding!

In June 1967, I'd been out of the convent for six months and was working in Dayton, Ohio, and knew next to nothing about anything going on in the world. I was still in a bemused state. Only later did I appreciate the Mamas and the Papas and Janis and Jim and all those wonderful brilliant lights that were so passionate about life that they flamed out quickly.

Thank you for taking us back so vividly to those days.


Vicki Lane said...

What a wonderful post! Beautiful bride, quaint church -- but oh!that British Racing Green MG-TD -- that's the car I always wanted.

Barb said...

I enjoyed reading of your 1967 wedding since ours was in Aug, 1966! My gown, which was sewn by a dressmaker, cost $75 - a small fortune for my mother and I! I do love San Fran and the Monterey coastline. Thank you for the memories - I agree, how cold 45-46 years pass so quickly? You were a lovely bride. Happy Anniversary!

Fennie said...

Hi Vagabonde and sorry to be so slow at catching up. This is a lovely post because those years are very close to me - San Francisco and the whole pop scene - plus those west coast universities that were at the cutting edge of all the psychological research which I was studying at that time. We felt we ruled the world didn't we? so long as we had flowers in our hair. Bullitt, the Graduate et tout ca. But a shame you had so few of your family there. I hope you came back and had a ceremony (shame not to use the dress a second time) in some church or Cathedral in France in the sunshine. You may know my idea for travelling weddings, created for just this sort of scenario when you travel from one place to another to meet relatives and in each place or country you have a new party or ceremony so you are married then in many countries and by many people. Now if I had occasion to see that restaurant that didn't allow hippies I should write underneath 'what even old and respectable ones?' Or maybe hippies are never respectable. So you were at Monterrey! Wow!

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Friko said...

Many happy returns of the day!

Although you had a festive wedding it wasn't as horribly marshmallow-y as so many weddings are nowadays. A lovely international line-up of friends and a pleasant occasion.

Going to the pop-festival was a great honeymoon occasion, I bet you remember the day in all its detail still.

Sheila said...

Congratulations on 45 years, we will celebrate the same next March. You made a beautiful bride♥
Your attendants wore the identical dresses and veils in the same colour as I wore, when I was matron of honour at my sister's wedding in '68. We have few good photos of our wedding too, but many happy memories.

Olga said...

I experienced a lot of enjoyment. I think that everyone looked very elegant and original :)

Ruth said...

I relished every description and every photo. I like the black and white photos so much, especially how they show your dress, which I adore. I think my favorite is your entrance to the church. It shows the lace layer of your dress, and I love how one bridesmaid is looking back just tucked inside. Getting a feel for SF at the time is just wonderful. I've always been romanticized by the fact that you lived there in the hippie era. No hippies allowed! Wow. Was that you taking a photo in the photo? I am also impressed that you were at the Monterey Pop Festival. I used to listen to an album from that event that my brother had; I especially recall Ravi Shankar.

Happy Anniversary. 45 years is a tremendous accomplishment!

This is Belgium said...

Enjoyed reading your entertaining recollection.. it reminds me a bit of my own story... and therefore sound like close to home
Happy anniversary !!

claude said...

Bonjour Vagabonde.
Je suis de retour.
Je prends le temps de lire tes dernières publications et reviendrai
un peu plus tard.

Unknown said...

Such a sweet post! We just celebrated 35 years so you have us beat! Looks like you had a lovely wedding!

GaynorB said...

Hi Vagabond,

Thanks very much for dropping by my blog.

I’ve just had a quick look at your blog and in the words of Arnie, “I’ll be back”!

The blog is interesting and so beautifully illustrated.This is a delightful post and must have brought back many memories for you.

Happy Anniversary!

Leon Sims said...

Since you read my blog from Diane's, I decided to pop into yours and found some mutual connections. I lived in San Francisco in 79 on a Bike (pedal type)racing summer from the Melbourne winter. We loved the area especially down the coast to Santa Cruz and of course across the bridge to the hills.
I grew up with the artists from the Monterey Pop Festival. I went to Tower Records and the Fillmore location just to imagine the concerts that were held there.
The Blues Project - Wow...
I'll pop in to read more.

Leon Sims said...

PS - I also had and have MGs over the years.
Leon again.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Hi, just popped in to visit your blog since you read our blog from Diane's.
What a great post and the church looks lovely -- glad they've listed it as an historical landmark.

I was living in LA in '67 [but sadly way too young for music festivals]. Do have memories of visiting San Simeon with my parents though.

Reader Wil said...

Merci de raconter cette belle histoire! Vous étiez une belle mariée avec une robe magnifique.Et j'aime la fenêtre dans l'église évidemment.
Mes félicitations avec votre anniversaire de votre marriage!

Kay said...

Thank you so much for sharing your happy day. I LOVE weddings! You were kind to let us be part of yours. I think your photos are still great, but you can have many of them restored. I'm working of scanning many of our photos now.

Librarian said...

This was beautiful, thank you for sharing the pictures and recollections of your wedding!
Love the dresses; the style of those days was just so... stylish :-)

claude said...

Quel beau post sur ton mariage. Tu avais une belle robe.
On a suivi le jubilee de la Reine d'Angleterre à la télé dans les différents hôtels où nous avons dormis.

Dianne said...

what a wonderful look back at the late 60s
and your big day!!

you're gorgeous
I love your dress and head piece
and big hair all around
I miss big hair, I was good at big hair :)

Paulita said...

What beautiful memories. I love the photos and the dress. I bet $150 in 1967, in wedding dress prices, would equal $5000 or so today. The picture of Vince made me laugh because my 16-year-old grew a beard and shaved off his mustache. That's how he had his passport picture taken and I told him he would regret that picture about 5 years from now.Thanks for sharing your wedding and for your great blog.

nikkipolani said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate your anniversary -- by remembering all the details of your wedding. Your photos are precious.

Thank you for your visit, by the way. I was amazed when you said you'd grown 150 roses once. I have around 80 now but this is plenty to keep me busy!

Jenny Woolf said...

What a beautiful bride you were! and I am glad that you are still going strong, that is just as wonderful as the lovely wedding!

Arti said...

Congratulations on your 45th Anniversary! I apologize I've come a few days late. But, wow, what an achievement! Your photos are precious keepsakes. I'm impressed by their quality, esp. the one at the entrance of the church. It's pure art. I love the nostalgic atmosphere too. And, what, for a dollar you could hear all these classic bands and singers? Those were the days. Thank you so much for sharing. I've thoroughly enjoyed your recollections.

Vagabonde said...

Thanks to all who came to share our wedding recollections. Welcome to new bloggy friends – I hope you will come back.
I have been visiting your blogs but am not caught up yet, but I’ll come back for sure. Thanks for your great comments, I cherish your visits.

Down by the sea said...

I missed this post as I was on holiday! Hope you had a wonderful anniversary. I loved reading about your recollections of your Wedding the photos feel so much of the era! What a beautiful bride you made!
Sarah x

bayou said...

So beautiful, Vagabonde! I loved to see all these fine memories and pictures. Sorry being so late on catching up. Nevertheless, all my very best wishes to you both!

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