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A real-life Betsy's wedding


Daniel and Antoinette Kelly on their honeymoon
Vol 12 No 6 - Betsy's Wedding

As our Betsy's Wedding issue shipped October 16th, we thought our readers would enjoy this real-life Edwardian wedding of Dan and his beautiful bride, Nettie, with her Tacy-like coronet braids (coincidentally their surname, like Tacy's, was Kelly); a wedding which took place just four years before Betsy and Joe tied the knot.  Excerpts from Nettie's wedding book are shared here by her granddaughter, Toni Langlais.  We met Toni, twelve years ago, just as our maiden issue of The Storybook Home Journal was coming out, and her correspondence has delighted us ever since. 


by Toni Langlais

My favorite season is here! Guarded predictions for a good leaf-peeping season have those in the tourist industry keeping their fingers crossed. I'm enjoying the cooler temperatures and briskness in the air. As yet the maple outside our window is the only tree with real color showing in our yard. Leaves are not changing as rapidly as the early ones in August hinted, but that's alright.  Anticipation is part of the pleasure.

And speaking of anticipation, I'm looking forward to your issue featuring Betsy's Wedding. My paternal grandmother would have been just a couple years older than Betsy Ray, so many references in the Betsy-Tacybooks remind me of her. My grandparents, Antoinette Pearson and Daniel C. Kelly married in 1911, just a few years before Betsy.

My Aunt Vera gave me her mother's wedding book a few years ago. Like Maud Hart Lovelace, my grandmother records descriptions of the dresses she wore for events around the wedding. She described all her new wardrobe in the book. (Her "Miss Mix" was actually a cousin of her future husband).

On her wedding day

Here is Nettie's Trousseau:

"One of my favorite dresses is a tan soft silk, embroidered very heavy with delicate blue Hyacinths, made princess.

Another one is pink veiling with silver braid trimmings, made empire style.

My first black dress is a black chiffon with a tiny black satin stripe, full of double ruffles, rows of them, and just one red flower at the waist.

A plain little dress I like so well is a light blue flowered silk, trimmed with plain blue around the neck, down one side of the front and around short sleeves.

A tan linen peplum dress

A pink fine lawn with narrow ruffles from the hem to the hips.

The dress I'll wear away is a light tan taffeta, made princess, with a coat of the same, a white hat with chiffon trimming.

A light brown heavy silk, with a pink pleated panel (hand painted rose buds) at front of waist and petticoat, dress is made princess with a real full split skirt, with the full pink petticoat showing.

One of Dan's favorites is a light blue corded silk with a big pointed shawl collar, made princess with a pleated flounce and from the flounce to the neck are blue and silver buttons, all up the back.
Photograph by Elspeth Young

A rose colored silk poplin made princess with a yoke, long sleeves of white fine net and a coat of the rose poplin, a rose colored hat with large white rose.  (she wore the dress with "a velvet band of rose around my hair" at the reception the night before the wedding)

Another neat dress is a fine white lawn with a wide panel of heavy embroidery of padded wild roses and a beading with pale narrow ribbon run through. With it I wear a hat of white horse hair, faced with pale blue satin and trimmed with blue maline [transparent silk netting] and small white roses.

A pale gray broad cloth dress with a heavy lace collar.

A fine black straw hat with pink roses falling over the edge at the right side of the back, black velvet ribbon."

In the wedding book my grandmother describes their wedding dinner "in a rustic summer house, all gay with colored lanterns and flowers and after a very glorious sunset, there is music and dancing."

Tucked into the book is the following newspaper clipping:

On Tuesday morning at 8 o'clock at the church of St. Francis Xavier, a pretty wedding was that of Miss Antoinette Eva Pearson, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. A Pearson of Fleming avenue, and Mr. Daniel C. Kelly, son of Mr. and Mrs. M. J. Kelly.  The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Chas. Coyne.  Miss Mae Pearson was her sister's maid of honor and Mr. Chas. McDermott of Dubois, was best man.  The bride's gown was very girlish, of white mull, trimmed in lace and silver spangled mantilla.  Her hair ornament was white tulle, auto cap fashion.  She carried bride's roses, her only ornament being a rope of pearls.  The honor maid's gown was pale pink silk mull and panels of lace.  Her flowers were bridesmaid roses in pink.  Only the immediate members of both families were present at the wedding breakfast which was served at the bride's home.  Immediately afterwards the young couple left for West Virginia where they will be guests at a wedding reception.

On the bottom of the page listing her trousseau my grandmother wrote "I don't want my lovely dresses to ever wear out." What lovely way to preserve them—through The Storybook Home!  My grandmother would be thrilled.

Tags: Vol. 12 No. 6, 2012, The Veranda

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