We Prepare for Our World War II Wedding
By Lucille Ledoux b. 1921
This is the second excerpt from We Were Not Spoiled by Lucille Ledoux as told to Denis Ledoux. Other excerpts will follow.
On Saturday evening, Mr. and Mrs. Ledoux threw us a pre-nuptial party at their home. I had known them for a long time, so they were not strangers to me. Our friends and relatives dropped by to wish us well. Mrs. Ledoux had prepared finger foods and served soft drinks and beer.
Sunday called for all the food for the reception the next day to be ready as well as for my suitcase to be packed and ready for our trip to Syracuse, NY, the next day after the wedding ceremony because Albert would have to report to base Monday night. That trip would be the only honeymoon we would have because we were having a World War 2 wedding!
My new dress was hung up with the shoes and the purse nearby for me to change into after the reception. Many people had sent money gifts as people did not have time to go shopping because of our rushed date. We did not have a rehearsal dinner—weddings were just not as big a production in those days as they are today and so we did not have a rehearsal dinner.
We were in luck that a funeral-parlor limousine was available to transport us. A chauffeur arrived at my parents’ house to bring me to Holy Family. Albert was next door at his parents’ and he could have driven in with me in the same car but that was not the way things were done. He must have come with his parents in their car.
Our Wedding on a Lovely Maine Day
The wedding was at 8 on Monday morning, September 4, in the same building that I had gone to school in. (The church was downstairs and the school upstairs.) The music, provided by the chorale of girls directed by a Sister of the Presentation of Mary, began. Albert, wearing his uniform with the PFC stripes (in World War 2, men wore their uniforms for just about everything), was waiting in front with his father. My brother Paul was my ring bearer. Carrying a bouquet of white roses, I walked slowly down the aisle of the church, my arm resting in my father’s bent elbow. Once we had reached the front of the church, my father handed me over to Albert. Two chairs, each with a prie-dieu, had been set at the foot of the central aisle, and Albert and I took our places there.
His bother, Lucien, celebrated the Mass and preached the sermon. We had wanted him to marry us, but because of the short notice, he had not been able to get a license to marry people in Maine. Instead of Lucien, the pastor, Father Vital Nonorgues, whose Breton French accent we had grown to understand (the ceremony was conducted in French), performed the double-ring ceremony as we stood with our backs to the congregation. There are no photos of the wedding itself as cameras were not in such widespread use in those days and it was not the custom to take photos inside the church. (This made the ceremony less of a show than it is often today.)
After the Mass, because I was an Enfant de Marie, two dévoileuses (unveilers), teen-age girls from the Enfants de Marie, accompanied me to the altar dedicated to Mary, and we recited a prayer together. Then, they placed a crown on my head because I had been president of the Enfants de Marie. Then Albert and I walked down the aisle arm in arm and out to the front steps of the church.
As we exited the church, people who had lined up at the door threw rice at us. It was a lovely late-summer morning, and Albert and I posed for some informal photos. Afterwards, we went by the black limousine that had brought me and went to Laflamme Portrait Studio on Main Street to have formal pictures taken.
Our Wedding Reception
When we arrived at the Institut Jacques Cartier Hall, our guests—about 125 in all—were waiting for us. We did some danses carrées (square dancing). There were a lot of children present. We had the hall only until about 1 so after a while we sat down and had our lunch.
In the late morning, while our guests continued to chat and dance, we went home and changed. Service men in World War 2 always wore their uniforms when they traveled so Albert could stay in uniform and did not need to change. I donned my blue dress with brown accessories that I had set out earlier, and then we returned to the Jacques Cartier Hall with our luggage to say goodbye to our family and friends. From the hall on Lisbon Street, Albert and I and many of our guests went to the railroad station on Bates Street where, standing on the platform with us, my sister Gertrude cried her eyes out.
Honeymoon World War 2 Style
We left at 1:30 for Syracuse, N.Y., via Boston. Since it was still summer and the sun was out late, we saw much beautiful country as we rolled though Massachusetts and New York. When we arrived in Syracuse, it was dark. We did not have reservations for the night, so we went to the Yates Hotel downtown not far from the station. The Yates was a big hotel, and they did have a room available for us. (I don’t remember if Albert had to leave me temporarily to go to the base.) We stayed at the Yates for one week. Then, we found a three-room, furnished apartment.
That’s how I got married on September 4, 1944.
For more information, click here We Were Not Spoiled