Sorting through family papers recently, I came across two separate newspaper clippings that described my parent’s wedding in 1949. I was first struck by how detailed the reports were, in contrast to what might get into the newspaper these days. Secondly I was impressed that both articles, apparently by different people, were written by what appears to have been newspaper staff, who clearly attended the wedding in person.
My mother, the bride described in these articles, often told me that to please her mother she agreed to the large wedding she had. She noted that many of the guests were her mother’s business and civic friends. On my parent’s 50thwedding anniversary (the year, not the exact date) we hosted a surprise party for our parents at 619 N. Baylen Street, the site of their wedding reception, which is described below in the second newspaper article. Mom was beyond pleased that nearly fifty family and friends came to the party. When she spotted the cake we’d brought for the occasion she smiled and said, “Oh, that’s the exact table where my wedding cake was.” She then proceeded to the stairs and showed us where she stood to throw her bouquet. “I wanted to stand at the top of the stairs but the photographer insisted I stand on this lower landing,” she explained.
As I transcribed these articles, I felt like I was seeing paraded a “who’s who” of Pensacola family and friends I’d grown up meeting on our visits to Pensacola, or hearing stories about from my mother. It was also an opportunity to imagine my parents when they were very young, with fifty years of married life, five children and eleven grandchildren ahead of them. Marjorie Turner Hollman
Newspaper reports of Em and Don Kuhl’s wedding, May 21, 1949
Around the town column, written by Patricia Lloyd, Pensacola News-Journal newspaper
One of the loveliest wedding of the late spring season was performed Saturday when Em Turner Nickinson became the bride of Don Kuhl of Goral Gables… The vows were exchanged at 6PM in the First Presbyterian church before a background of glistening magnolia leaves, a profusion of white blooms and myriad burning tapers.
The bride wore a beautiful gown of glimmering white satin adorned with lace… The sleeves were long and slim, the waistline close fitting and the train spread like a giant fan… Fragrant white flowers were used to create a halo around her veil of exquisite lace.
The bridal attendants looked charming in taffeta gowns of ice green and soft lavender. They wore a circle of tuille and flowers around their hair and carried colorful bouquets of mixed flowers.
After the wedding a reception was given in the home of the bride’s grandmother, Mrs. John A. Merritt…. The Merritt home with its spacious, attractive rooms lends itself perfectly to a social affair… The bridal party received in the living room… At vantage points about the house all types of season white flowers were placed. Giant magnolia leaves, trailing ivy, added a colorful note to the house.
The bride’s table, which was covered in white, held an arrangement of white snapdragons, white roses in a silver bowl … Silver candelabra holding white tapers and a tiered wedding cake banked in white maline were also used on the table.
A number of junior misses, including Lee Raby, Gay Soule, Anthony Brad and Suzanne Vosselier, wearing pretty floor length frocks of pink and blue served punch, sandwiches, mints and cakes to the guests.
Mrs. Nickinson, mother of the bride, was attractively attired in a sheer snow white frock and a smart white hat which tilted gaily to one side… Mrs. Kuhl of Coral Gables, mother of the groom, wore a lovely gown pink organdy frock and a wide brimmed white hat outlined with lace… Mrs. Merritt, grandmother of the bride, created a charming picture in a white dotted swiss dress.
This wedding truly united the Nickinson and Kuhl families… Ted Nickinson and Betty Kuhl were married last fall in Coral Gables and Em Turner and Don were attendants. For this wedding pretty blonde Betty, who may still be called a bride, was matron of honor for Em Turner and Ted gave his sister in marriage to his brother-in-law Don Kuhl.
Note at bottom of clipping in Em Turner Nickinson's (our grandmother's, mom's mother, who we called Po’Lady) hand * It doesn’t say so but this is what they all wore at the wedding.
An additional article, published May 22, 1949 in the Pensacola New Journal
Miss Nickinson, Mr. Kuhl United in Church Rites
Myriad lighted white tapers cast a soft glow ever the setting at 6 PM Saturday in the First Presbyterian church when Miss Em Turner Nickinson, daughter of Mrs. Edward P. Nickinson of 245 Chipley Avenue, East Pensacola Heights, and the late Commander Nickinson, became the bride of Donald Glen Kuhl, son of Mr. and Mrs. Glen H. Kuhl of Coral Gables. The Rev. John D. Thomas performed the ceremony in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends.
Artistic arrangements of large magnolias banked the choir loft and the burning white candles were placed across the choir rail. Baskets holding white gladioli, stately Easter lilies, and white snapdragons were used at vantage points.
Preceding the exchange of wedding vows Miss Virginia Tyler presented a number of pre-nuptial organ selections. Played were “All for you” “Calm as the Night,” and Cantilene Nuptial.”
As the bride descended the church aisle on the arm of her brother, Edward P Nickinson, Jr. of Jacksonville, she created a radiant picture in her gown of white slipper satin. The bridal costume featured an off the shoulder neckline, a shirred Bertha of Brussels lace, a close fitting bodice, and a full skirt with a lace peplum to create a bustle effect, and a flowing train. Her veil was of heirloom lace and featured a coronet of stephanotis. The bride carried an arm bouquet of white roses and stephanotis.
Miss Audrie Drummond (later Owsley) of Cohasset, Mass., was the maid of honor. She was gowned in nile green taffeta with an elongated bodice, a graceful off the shoulder neckline and a circular skirt posed over hoops. She wore a small off the face hat of tuille adorned with stephanotis. Her bouquet was composed of pastel colored tulips and tuberoses.
Mrs. Edward P Nickinson, Jr. of Jacksonville was the matron of honor. She wore a gown made along the same lines as the maid of honor and in the same shade.
Miss Anne Benedict of Tallahassee and Mrs. Wallace Dawkins, cousins of the bride, were the other attendants.
They wore mauve gowns made along similar lines and carried harmonizing bouquets.
Starr Horton of Deland was the groom’s best man. Ushers were Wallace Dawkins, Mallory Kennedy, Richard H. Merritt and Allen Owsley.
Following the ceremony a reception was given in the home of Mrs. John A. Merritt, 619 North Baylen Street, grandmother of the bride.
An all white color note was carried out in the floral decorations in the Merritt home. A profusion of white gladioli, Queen Anne’s lace hydrangeas and Easter lilies were used at vangage points about the rooms.
The bride’s table was covered in white linen and lace cloth and was centered with a lovely arrangement of white blooms. Silver candelabra holding lighted white candles were placed on either side of the flowers. At one end of the table a tiered wedding cake banked in greenery and small white blossums was place.
Mrs. Nickinson, mother of the bride, was fashionably attired in a white georgette gown with white accessories. She wore a corsage of white carnations and stephanoitis.
Mrs. Glen H. Kuhl of Coral Gables, mother of the groom, chose a becoming gown of pink matelass organdy and white accessories. Blue iris composed her corsage.
Mrs. John A. Merritt, grandmother of the bride, was charming in a gown of white dotted swiss with a Valenciennes lace collar. She wore white accessories and corsage of white carnations.
Mrs. S.W. Horton was in charge of the bride’s book. Mrs. R.H. Merritt and Mrs. John A. Merritt, Jr. greeted guests at the door. Among those serving were Miss Mary Leonard, Mrs. J.S. Leonard,, Jr. Miss Bettye Kent, Miss Joanne Owsley, Miss Gertrude Carpenter, Miss Martha Merritt, Miss Emily Turtle, Miss Betsy Merritt, Miss Gay Soule, Miss Lee Raby, Miss Anthony Brady, and Miss Suzanne Vosseller.
Others assisting in entertaining were Mrs. R.H. Turner, Mrs. Filo Turner, Mrs. A.O.Rule, Mrs. J.S. Leonard, Miss Mamie Merritt and Mrs. C.W. Lamar.
For their wedding trip to Fort Walton the bride selected a royal blue suit;. She wore a white blouse and grey accessories.
Mr. and Mrs. Kuhl will make their home at 842 Salzedo, Coral Gables.
Among the out of town guests were Mr. and Mrs. Glen H. Kuhl of Coral Gables, Mr. and Mrs. Edward P Nickinson, Jr. of Jacksonville, Mrs. H.B. Merritt of Jacksonville, Mr. and Mrs. S.W. Horton of DeLand, Sheldon Koesy of Miami and Miss Anne Benedict of Tallahassee.
Marjorie, I love the descriptions of weddings from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. We learn so much from them. From about ten years old all the way to my college years, I devoured the wedding pages in our local small town newspaper. I could picture the beautiful gowns, the elegant veils of handmade lace, along with the flowers. The descriptions were so good one could almost smell the fragrance of the flowers. Thank you for sharing this trip down memory lane.
Thanks so much Carolyn! I, too was amazed at the detail I read in these accounts. It also included references to numerous additional family members--my mother always said it was a big wedding, but the detail was rather stunning. my mother always said people took their best photos on their wedding day. I know in my mother's case it was because she was utterly happy that day. And yes, the exact descriptions of the flowers was very evocative.