Annabel and Jim would like to have been married in September. John and I had to be married in August because he would be appointed to a Circuit (group of Methodist churches) and would have to be there before September 1st. As I pointed out, he could hardly start his ministry by asking for a few days off in the first fortnight! We all gave it some thought, and eventually Annabel and Jim decided they wanted us to be at their wedding so why didn’t we have a double wedding? It was quite a revolutionary idea, but the more we talked about it the more sense it made. I could imagine Mum and Dad sighing with relief, two weddings in two months would have been a strain! It would be different and would be a bigger affair, and all our aunties and folk would probably be relieved. John and I were grateful to have it settled so amicably.
One of the first things we did was decide on who were to be Best Men and Bridesmaids, which didn’t need much thought. Jim asked Ian McNicol, his best pal, and Annabel asked Janette Lamberton, her best friend. John asked his brother-in-law Willie and I asked Marion Kerr, the best friend whose company I enjoyed so much. The ushers were our cousin Ronnie Stevenson and Jim’s cousin Archie Strang. John also asked his College Tea Club friend if he would come and take part in our wedding service and Joe agreed, so he and Evelyn were both guests. There wasn’t such an urgent demand to book wedding venues as nowadays, but we spoke to the Minister, Mr Whitehead, and he put it in his diary for 15th August 1956. Then Annabel, Mum and I walked along to the Tontine Hotel and made the reservation. At that time, the Hotel was still owned by the Service family. Since then we have had many family weddings, anniversaries, and funerals in the Tontine and still occasionally have lunch there.
The male bridal party and close family would wear morning dress, hired of course. All agreed except one! Jim’s Dad, Tommy, was adamant he wasn’t going to wear that. Nothing would persuade him so we accepted the fact with equanimity. In the photos he is there with his best suit on – it made no difference to anyone and he was happy. In retrospect I admired him for sticking to his guns. The brides’ and bridesmaids’ outfits took a lot more thought! On the spur of the moment one day I bought a magazine called Bride. In it were pictures of brides and bridesmaids (what a surprise!!) and one dress grabbed my attention. It was satin with chiffon overlay and full skirt. No sleeves, but a swathe of satin and chiffon around the shoulders – lovely. All four girls thought it was perfect. We knew a very reliable dressmaker and arranged for her to make the dresses, gold for Marion and rose-pink for Janette. She also made my going away outfit and several summer dresses for my trousseau. Every little step forward was exciting!
Mum, Annabel and I had a day in Glasgow looking for our dresses and trying some on. Annabel, Janette and Marion were all what could be called the willow-wand type of figure. I wasn’t! They were all about size 10. A buxom lass described me, more size 16/18. I did have a well-shaped figure though and no flab. Mum liked a lovely lace dress I tried on, and so did I – but not for me. I found a lovely satin brocade dress, quite plain with no sleeves, but what would be called a shrug now, to provide sleeves. It was bought in Watt Brothers in Sauchiehall Street. The name is still there, but not the shop as we remember it. Annabel found her perfect dress too and looked lovely in it.
While all this planning was going on, of course, normal life was parallel. We all went to work and carried on with all our usual pastimes and interests. When 1956 dawned, Jim, John Annabel and I greeted it with extra enthusiasm. It was Our Year – at last!