In September another chapter in the history of The Duke of Cornwall Hotel was written. Past couples who’d married at the Duke were invited back to share their stories. Dressed in their finest and armed with wedding albums, they walked the red carpet up the grand staircase to the Hayward Room, ready for an afternoon of reminiscing.
The atmosphere was incredible. The room quickly filled with laughter, talk of days-gone-by, and discussions about how much fashion and the hotel had changed.
Toby Lowe captured the event, recreating some incredible shots. Freelance writer and journalist, Laura Joint, took the time to sit with couples to find out more about their big days. So, grab a cup of tea and join us for a story or two…
Floating Hats, ‘Bespoke’ Dockyard Confetti, and a Mad Dash to the Hospital
Colin and Jill May tied the knot on 17th January, 1959
“We married in a Nissen Hut because, after the war, that’s where the register office was in Plymouth,” said Colin, who served in the Royal Navy.
“It was blowing a gale that day and we’d decided to start our honeymoon with a night at the Edgcumbe Arms. We got on the Cremyll Ferry and Jill’s hat, the one she’d worn at the wedding and the reception, flew off and headed off down the river. The boatman managed to hook it out but it was obviously ruined. It was very funny and I burst out laughing … but the marriage nearly ended there and then!”
No such worries … 57 years later and Colin and Jill are still happily married and living in Plymouth.
Michael and Christine Eascott, and John and Carole Eascott
Brothers Michael (retired fireman) and John (retired police officer) both held their receptions at the Duke, in 1966 and 1969. Christine brought their reception invoice to the event.
“There were 49 people and we had a roast dinner, wedding cake, flowers and a 3-piece band. The bill came to £92 pounds, eight shillings and sixpence!”
Carole recalled that after her wedding, they went straight up to the hospital to visit one of her friends who should have been a bridesmaid but missed it because she needed an emergency thyroid operation.
“I went into the hospital with my wedding dress on!”
John, meanwhile, has a different memory…
“Argyle won that day. We got on the train to go to London, where we were starting our honeymoon. The supporters were on the train, together with a load of toilet roll which they used to throw in those days!”
Anthony and Marion Banbury married in 1965
Last year Anthony and Marion celebrated their 50th anniversary. Marion worked at Devonport Dockyard at the time, which was great when it came to having ready-made confetti.
“I worked on the punch card machines to calculate the men’s wages, and these tiny pieces of paper would drop into the bin. We’d save them up for whenever anyone got married to use as confetti.”
Mike and Val Hutchinson married in March 1968, despite her parents’ reservations about the match
“I was 16 when I met Mike and he was 18. We got engaged when I turned 18 but my parents wanted me to wait until I was 21 before we got married. In fact, they weren’t happy with me getting married at all; they said that we were too young and it wouldn’t last. I was 20 when we married… and here we are, 48 years later!”
An Amazing Coincidence
There was an amazing coincidence when two of the couples got chatting and it emerged that they’d both tried to book the same wedding day!
Leila Nottage, from the Duke of Cornwall, explained…
“One couple wanted to get married on the bride’s birthday, but when they rang the hotel they were told the date was already booked. They therefore had to re-arrange for the week before. This couple ended up sitting on a table with the couple who took their wedding date! What are the chances of that?!”
A Big Part of the Hotel’s History
“It was such a lovely afternoon,” said Leila. “We have a unique history here and our wedding couples and their stories are a big part of that.”
You can find out more about The Duke of Cornwall Hotel at thedukeofcornwall.co.uk.