The Diamond Wedding Anniversary
The diamond wedding comes when seventy-five years have united husband and wife. A stated form for this celebration is hardly necessary, as there have been only three diamond weddings that have come to the public notice.
At one of these the groom was ninety-eight years of age and his wife ninety-two. However, the directions given for any of the various later weddings may be followed, adapting them to individual preference. A description of a diamond wedding which really occurred is narrated by a lady as follows:
"The anniversary was celebrated," said she, "by a couple who lived in the neighborhood where my grandmother had spent her childhood and youth, and whom she had known all her life.
There were five generations of the family gathered together for the occasion, the oldest representative being ninety-eight and the youngest a baby of six months; and the descendants made in themselves a goodly company, to say nothing of the many neighbors and acquaintances who attended to wish the aged couple every joy.
"The old people lived with their grandson, himself a man past fifty; and the room in which they received their guests had been furnished and decorated to accord as nearly as possible with the fashions that prevailed at the beginning of the century, for which purposes all the relics and heirlooms in the neighborhood had been diligently collected.
"On the wall were the groom's trusty rifle and powder-horn, which had largely helped to supply the larder in bygone days; and numerous other relics of the past were placed about the room and hung upon the walls and afforded both amusement and instruction to the young folks.
"How was the bride dressed? Really, I should have begun with that. I forgot that it was the most essential bit of information connected with a wedding.
The bride wore a perfectly plain gown of rich black silk, and at her throat an old-fashioned brooch having a lock of curly black hair taken from her husband's head, which had long since bleached to snowy whiteness; and on her wrinkled hand was her old wedding-ring, now worn to the merest thread.
The groom wore a blue cloth suit, a flowered satin waistcoat, and an enormous silk stock.
"In all the company there was only one person who had seen the marriage of the venerable couple, and this little man was a year older than the groom, upon which fact he prided himself greatly.
He was yet hale and lively as a cricket, and my grandmother said that in offering his congratulations he skipped up to the bride and gave her a hearty kiss, at which the groom remonstrated in humorously feigned jealousy.
"The wedding dinner was served at noon and embraced many of the dishes that our parents and grandparents loved when they were young. There were two long tables spread. One was a meat table, on which were offered roast beef, mutton, and various fowls. On the other table, which was called the "sweet table were to be found dried peach and cherry tarts, apple and pumpkin pies, gingerbread, sweet cider, float and cupcake."
"But what about the gifts? Were there any diamonds among them?"
"No, I think not," came the answer. "The family were in comfortable circumstances, but not wealthy, and the diamond wedding was one in name only. A great many useful and pretty gifts were offered, but at their advanced age jewels were rightly considered of little moment.
"Grandmother said that before the company separated the white- haired groom took the wife of his youth by the hand and, leading her to the center of the room, made a really beautiful little speech, in which he referred to the occasion as being his diamond wedding, and said that more precious to him than diamonds or gold or silver was the love of the true, good woman who for three-quarters of a century, through joys and sorrows and the many petty trials of life, had proven a constant, faithful companion and crowned his days with happiness."
Jean Wilde Clark, Ed., "Wedding Anniversaries: The Diamond Wedding," in Weddings and Wedding Anniversaries: A Book of Good Form in the Conduct of Marriage Ceremonies . . . with Added Chapters about the Various Anniversaries, New York: The Butterick Publishing Company, 1910, p. 126.