Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s 50th Anniversary: How Have Weddings Changed In Half A Century?

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In 1967, during the summer of love, The Beatles released an album that would change the face of music forever. In the 50 years since it’s release it has continued to sit at the top of many ‘best album of all time’ charts and has influenced thousands of musicians.

It’s not wrong to assume that that the Beatles may have featured heavily in weddings at the time. Ok, maybe ‘Lovely Rita’ isn’t the best song for a first dance, unless the bride happened to be called Rita but there is no denying the sheer scope of The Beatles’ influence.

Have weddings remained largely the same since that incredible year or have they changed completely?

Here are a few examples of the difference between yesterday and today:

1. Mothers Knew Best

In today’s world, the sky is the limit when it comes to the type of wedding a young couple can have. You can choose where you get married, how you get married and even in what country you prefer!

In 1967 the choices were far more limited. Back then there were no wedding planners and there certainly wasn’t an internet to Google (in fact – the word ‘Google’ was only used by Mathematicians!).

The organisation of the wedding was usually left to the mother of the bride to sort out. And there was little to no thought given to fancy colour schemes. Weddings back then stuck to a simple blueprint – white tablecloths, white flowers, white cakes and, of course, a white bride! Only the bridesmaids differed with matching coloured dresses.

2. That’s Entertainment!

As with the dress code, the format of the day also stuck to a rigid routine, unlike today when anything goes. Back in 1967, the wedding ceremony would happen in a place of worship followed by high tea with champagne and later cocktails and dancing to a band in a hotel or hall.

Celebrations would typically end around 8pm (yes you read that right!). The father of the bride would give a speech and pay for the event.

3. Tin Can Tradition

When was the last time you saw a string of tin cans tied to the back of a wedding car? Yep, it’s been quite a while. But this tradition that has almost died out was as important as cutting the cake in 1967.

This odd tradition actually started back in Tudor times when guests would throw shoes at the departing newlyweds. If a guest managed to hit the wedding carriage it was considered good luck.

After one too many, guests were forced to hobble home on one shoe, the tradition switched to using cans tied to the wedding car instead. Even though this tradition died out years ago, there are signs of it making a comeback.


4. Let Them Eat Fruit Cake

The wedding cake has undergone a dramatic transformation since the 60s. These days there are all sorts of themed cakes with some even opting for a display of individual cupcakes. They also have to cover a vast range of dietary requirements from gluten intolerance to strict vegan. Back in 1967, like a lot of the other parts of the wedding day, things were a lot simpler.

Unlike today’s wedding cakes that are made with all sorts of different interiors, the cakes of the 60s were almost always fruit cakes. It was also more popular in the 60s to have the layers of cakes separated with ornate columns to make them grander (and harder to carry!). Flower decorations were also a far bigger deal in the 60s.

After food rationing ended in 1947 and bakers got their supplies reinstated, they went completely crazy with frosting and royal icing. It wouldn’t be unusual for a cake to be covered in thick, rock hard icing.

By Laurence Doherty, Excalibur Press