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
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