Wedding Announcements

I have been looking through quite a few civil marriage records lately, a good source of information for both the bride and groom. Records associated with marriage may reveal age, date of birth, place of birth, current residence, occupation, parents’ names, if it was the first marriage and/or many times married, and how the previous marriage(s) ended.

In addition to civil marriage records, newspaper accounts of engagement and marriage can information. Usually not as much information as the marriage record, but at a minimum, the date and place of marriage and the parents’ names.

In the mid-to-late-1900s engagement and marriage announcements were quite descriptive and lengthy. But like most things, these newspaper announcements have changed over the years. They are shorter today, giving more basic information about the couple and the wedding.  

Engagement announcements have not changed all that much. Back then, as well as today, there is often an engagement photo of the couple with information about the upcoming nuptials, their occupations or schooling, and the names of their parents.

However, sometimes there is more. This couple went above and beyond. They had a regular engagement announcement and then sometime later they announced who their wedding attendants would be. A little unusual, but we are always seeking information, so here it is:

Bonell Names Attendants for June Wedding, 1963

Priscilla Ruth Bonell Names Attendants for June Wedding (1963)
Miss Priscilla Ruth Bonell, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. Harold C. Bonell of Nashua, N.H., will be attended by her sisters, the Misses Miriam E. Bonell and Deborah G. Bonell, when she becomes the bride of the Rev. Herbert Ivan Schumm of Willshire, Ohio, Saturday, June 15, in the First Baptist Church at Nashua. The Rev. Bonell, pastor of the church, will perform the ceremony at eight o’clock…

The groomsmen are also named: Albert R. Schumm, Rockford, bridegroom-elect’s brother; and Rev. Ellis E. O’Neal, Newton Center, Mass.

The reception was to be held 5-7:00 at the parsonage. [1]

Perhaps it was commonplace there to announce the wedding party. Another article announced the wedding a few weeks later.

And I wonder, was it customary in that area to have the reception before the wedding ceremony? That is a little different from what we are accustomed to.

A note about the couple. The bride-to-be, Priscilla R. Bonell, was a nurse and was completing theological studies as well. She lived in Germany for a time, where she combined her theological studies and professional nursing and eventually became a pastor.

The groom-to-be, Rev. Herbert Ivan Schumm, was a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School and was the former minister of the Congregational Church, Warren, Indiana. Both husband and wife were pastors and Priscilla’s father was a minister as well. Rev. Herbert Ivan Schumm was the son of Louis Fredrick Schumm (1892-1974) and my Grandpa Cornelius Schumm was Herbert Ivan’s baptismal sponsor in 1928.

Rev. Herbert Ivan Schumm (1928-2018) was a brother to the next groom, Rev. Robert William Schumm (1915-2003).   

Newspaper marriage announcements in the 1900s went into great detail about the wedding gown and veil. I think most of us remember those long descriptions about the gown:

Miss Picknell is Sunday Bride (of Rev. Robert William Schumm, 1950)
…The bride [Frances L Picknell] wore white Chantilly lace over taffeta with a shirred shoulder neckline, long tight sleeves, cathedral train and full gathered skirt. Her imported illusion fingertip veil fell from a Juliet cap and she carried a white colonial bouquet filled with white maline…matron of honor in gray imported marquisette over gray taffeta made with bouffant skirt with colored panels, elbow length shirred sleeves, and high neckline…

It went on to name the groomsmen but did not describe their attire.

The bride, Frances L Picknell, attended a music conservatory and wrote the words to one of the vocal numbers sang at the wedding. [2] The groom, Rev. Robert William Schumm, was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Louis Frederick Schumm, Willshire.

Couple United in German Ceremony [1969]:
The next wedding occurred in Germany. The bride was from Germany the groom was from Van Wert and they were married in a traditional German ceremony in the Smidt Gedachnis Church.

The German ceremony was not all that different from an American ceremony. Just a couple differences.

There was a musical prelude with German wedding songs. The flower girl and flower boy scattered fresh flowers on the aisle just before the bride was escorted down the aisle by the bridegroom. Their ceremony was conducted in both German and English….The bride appeared in a floor-length gown of traditional white, styled in a controlled A-line silhouette of Swiss lace and tissue bridal taffeta. She wore a flowered head band crown lavished with small pearls caught to a net illusion bouffant waist-length veil. The bride carried a cascade arrangement of white, lilac, and red carnations, accented with fern…

Following the ceremony Dr. Gerlits [officiant] presented the couple with a Traditional German Bible. The reception was held in the bride’s home.

The couple participated in an interesting German wedding tradition: The couple was honored at a pre-wedding party given by their friends. At this time it is customary for the children of the neighborhood to collect bottles and throw them against the frond door step for good luck. The prospective bridegroom then goes to the door and treats the children with candy… [3]

The best luck would be if the children had good aim and it seems the broken glass would be a mess to clean up. It rather of sounds like what I remember as a Belling.

My mom’s gown and veil were described in detail in 1950:

Schumm-Miller Wedding Revealed
Bride [Florence Schumm]…wore a gown of ivory slipper satin designed with a fitted bodice, sweetheart neckline, trimmed with seed pearls and rhinestones, and full skirt which ended in a cathedral train. Her fingertip veil was of French illusion and was edged with Chantilly lace. The veil was attached to a tiara of satin trimmed with seed pearls and rhinestones. She carried a bouquet of white chrysanthemums and daisies centered with an orchid.

Miss Esther Schumm attended her sister as maid of honor and wore a gown of shrimp satin fashioned with a fitted bodice with a deep lace yoke. Her braided headdress was of the satin to match her gown. Her bouquet was of bronze chrysanthemums.

Miss Catherine Miller and Mrs. Louis Allmandinger were bridesmaids and they wore gowns in blue and green, respectively, styled like that of the maid of honor.  They carried bouquets of yellow chrysanthemums.

Alvin Krueckeberg was best man and ushering the guests were Kenneth Miller and Elmer Schumm.

The bride’s mother wore a black crepe dress and the bridegroom’s mother wore a green dress, and both had corsages of red roses.

A reception was held in the church parlor, attended by 200 guests. Phyllis Gunsett, Emma Allmandinger, Helen Roehm, and Mrs. Wilbert Thieme served the guests….

Rev. Werner Kuhlberg was the officiant, Velma Schumm played the organ, and Edgar Allmandinger was the vocalist. The church was decorated with chrysanthemums, ferns, and candles in candelabra. [4]

And of course, I followed the same tradition, with a very long description:

The bride [Karen Miller], escorted down the aisle by her father, wore a formal wedding gown of candlelite satin. Cluny lace entwined with satin ribbon enhanced the bodice and the high ruffled collar. The long traditional sleeves were lace trimmed at the wrist and the waistline was sashed with satin ribbon, streamer bow in back. The A-line candlelite satin skirt was embellished in front with two overlays of ruffled Cluny lace entwined with satin ribbon, and lace formed the hemline. The back of the gown was styled with a built-in train also accented with lace and fell to cathedral length. She wore a matching candlelite Cluny lace cloche enhanced with matching satin ribbon and small pearls, held to a full layered elbow length bouffant veil of imported illusion. She carried an arm bouquet consisting of orange sweetheart roses, wheat, dry baby’s-breath, bittersweet, fall leaves, yellow pompoms, and straw-flowers…[5]

That was quite a lengthy description of my gown and veil, thanks to Harriet Chodash. In fact, the whole write-up was quite long. All the musical selections were named, as well. All twelve of them! It was a lot!

Personally, I don’t think it is a totally bad thing that those gown and veil descriptions were dropped from the wedding announcements. Did anyone really read them closely? Even though they were detailed descriptions of beautiful wedding gowns, it is hard to visualize a dress from a written description.

[1] “Priscilla Ruth Bonell Names Attendants for June Wedding,” Portland Press Herald, Portland, Maine, 2 Jun 1963;  

[2] “Miss Picknell is Sunday Bride,” The Decatur Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, 28 Aug 1950;  

[3] “Couple United In German Ceremony,” Van Wert Times Bulletin, Van Wert County, Ohio, Neiford & Hain, 15 Feb 1969;

[4] “Schumm-Miller Wedding Revealed,” Van Wert Times Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, 23 Dec 1950;

[5] “Karen Sue Miller Is Bride of Joe Alan Bennett In Recent Ceremony,” The Photo Star, Willshire, Ohio, 9 Jan 1974.


    • Janet James on March 15, 2024 at 8:47 am
    • Reply

    I’d love to see a picture of your gown . I’ve been designing and altering wedding gowns for over 50 years so yes, I enjoy reading the descriptions! I hope you kept your gown. I have made several christening gowns from mom or grandmas wedding gowns and now making bridal robes for the day of the wedding from the brides mother’s gown .

    1. I did not know that you designed and altered wedding gowns. How wonderful to be such a talented seamstress. And what a clever idea to make bridal robes and christening gowns from wedding dresses. What a wonderful way to repurpose the special dress. I do still have my wedding dress as well as my mom’s, in the original form. You can see photos of my wedding dress on a blog post from last November, when we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. If you search for “anniversary” or “golden anniversary” in the search box on the upper right of my home page, it should bring that post right up and you can see photos of my in the gown on our wedding day. Great to hear from you! Thanks for writing.

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