This month we are celebrating the hundredth anniversary of Marjorie Van Wickle’s marriage to George Lyon which took place on a beautiful summer’s day at Blithewold on June 1, 1914.
At 4 o’clock in the afternoon the Enclosed Garden was filled with 300 guests — family and friends of the bride and groom. The gardens were ablaze with color, and the Summerhouse was decorated with roses, vines, white ribbons, and a floral altar. George was standing on the veranda with his brother Vincent as Best Man, waiting for his bride.
The beginning of the ceremony was heralded by the bell-like voice of Marjorie’s friend Irma Nayral, a trained opera singer, who sang the Angelicus from a hidden location deep within the Bosquet. Soon guests caught the far-away sound of choirboys who were making their way from the North Porch of the Mansion, through the Bosquet, to the Summerhouse. The organ began the wedding march from Wagner’s Lohengrin, and William McKee led Marjorie and the wedding procession into the Enclosed Garden.
Several years later, Marjorie wrote to her husband, George:
“Another year with you my dear,
And happier too for loving you.
Time seems to fly and months roll by
It comes too soon this first of June!”
For the month of June, visitors will be able to see the wedding gown worn by the bride, along with Bessie’s mother-of –the-bride dress, and Augustine’s bridesmaid’s dress. They are displayed, with photographs of the wedding, in Marjorie’s bedroom on the 2nd floor at Blithewold.
THE WEDDING GOWN: Marjorie was wearing a Grecian-style inspired gown of ivory silk satin and silk chiffon. The bodice was of lace and included pieces of Honiton bobbin lace that had belonged to Marjorie’s great grandmother. The drape of the gown was caught up with clusters of cream wax flowers, and she wore a lace veil secured in her hair with flowers.
MAID-OF-HONOR: Marjorie’s sister, Augustine, was Maid-of-Honor. She wore a pale pink gown of silk taffeta. She was 15 years old and her dress is appropriate for a young girl. It is a rococo revival style, romantically sentimental. The Mackintosh-style rose at the center adds an element of modernism. The straight, tubular line was fashionable at the time, the shape defined by a hoop at the hem. The bodice and sleeves are of shirred silk net, hand embroidered with pink silk floss in a leaf and vine pattern. There is a standing bow at the back.
MOTHER-OF-THE-BRIDE: Bessie McKee’s gown was carefully chosen to emphasize her important position as Mother-of-the-Bride. It was made for her by her favorite designer, Fox of New York and Paris, and would have been considered very fashionable at the time. The gown has a hobble skirt, with dolman sleeves cut in one piece with the bodice. The inside structure is a masterpiece of engineering, with multiple layers of hooks and eyes. The main fabric is shot silk taffeta of blue and yellow, giving a luminescent teal color. The hand-embroidered sections show subtle modernism with radiating lines and stylized flowers in deep teal silk floss. The grey beaded panels are hand sewn in a vermicelli pattern.