Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Wedding

As mentioned in last week's post, Minnie and Will were married at the bride's home on February 28, 1912. It was a small private ceremony, presided over by a local clergyman. Although I have not come across any wedding pictures, in the family archives there is a booklet that commemorates the wedding day.

The booklet contains some flowery poetry for the occasion, including some verses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; a Bible verse or two; and some descriptions of expectations for a happy home life.

It must indeed have been a happy day for the family, in spite of the chilly February weather outside.

The verse on the right may be by Tennyson. It is an example of the sentimental rhymed poetry popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The wedding ceremony probably took place in the sitting room at the front of the family home, with a small group of relatives present.

Each page of the booklet is also decorated with tasteful drawings of flowers  --  this one being a garland of lilies of the valley and wild roses.

Bible verse with blue forget-me-nots

This page of the booklet is a particularly charming verse about the qualities of a happy home, with a bucolic scene of a country cottage. I believe that Minnie and Will's home was indeed happy throughout their married life; the house's inhabitants spanned three generations: Minnie's parents, Kittie and Fred Fineour; Minnie and her husband Will; her younger brother Frederic; and eventually her five children.

There were other family members living on a farm outside of town.

Two of those relatives were the witnesses for the couple: Minnie's maternal aunt Minnie Farley, after whom she was named, and Minnie's husband Kenneth.

We see here also the Minister's signature, which appears to be a Pastor H. C. Willoughby, probably the pastor of the Reformed Church in the village.

It is possible that some of Will's relatives attended the ceremony as well, although we don't know for sure. Will's sister Louisa was still living in the village, and there were other siblings in the surrounding countryside.

We don't know whether there was a reception with refreshments or at least a cake after the ceremony, or whether the couple took a wedding trip or not.

Perhaps there was a home-made cake, such as this recipe from Minnie's cookbook:

Minnie's coconut cake recipe

Notice the alternate spelling of "cocoanut" for "coconut," which we don't see much these days. Here is how I modernized the recipe:

Coconut Cake

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Pre-sift flour; preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder; set aside.
- Cream together butter and sugar; beat in egg.
- Add milk and flour mixture alternately; beat until smooth.
- Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cake cool completely before removing from pan.

Although Minnie's recipe says to bake in layers, I found that these proportions only made one layer. If you want to make a two-layer cake, you'll probably need to double the recipe. Her instructions are also quite minimal for the coconut frosting. I made a butter cream frosting from confectioner's sugar, margarine, a couple of tablespoons of milk, and a half teaspoon of vanilla, following instructions on the box of confectioner's sugar. I mixed 1/4 cup of shredded coconut into the frosting, and sprinkled another 1/4 cup over the top of the frosted cake. It makes a very sweet treat.

Coconut Cake

I leave you with one last image from the 100-year old wedding booklet. I hope your home is as clean and content as this description:

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