An Edwardian Wedding

This post accompanies my previous entry on a Victorian wedding in England.  Here’s how it was done in New Zealand a few years later.  This is the wedding of my 2x great-uncle Robert Foster Johnston to Ethel Millar McFarlane on 16 January, 1913.  Robert Foster was one of my Lost Children, now found.

My Johnston cousins were kind enough to provide me with this lovely photo of Ethel and her bridesmaids on her wedding day:

Photo of Bridal Party

And to go with it, we have the report of the wedding in the Wanganui Chronicle, on 17 January, 1913.  It’s under the heading “Orange Blossoms“.  Again, I’ve added some more paragraphs to make it easier to read!


Balbraith, Durietown, the residence of Mr. Andrew McFarlane, was the scene of a happy gathering yesterday on the occasion of the marriage of his youngest daughter, Ethel Millar, to Robert Foster, only son of Mr. R. Johnston, of Gisborne.

The wedding ceremony was solemnised on the lawn, the Rev Mr. Calder, of St. Andrew’s, officiating, and the many guests assembled in honour of the event provided a pretty and unique scene in delightful surroundings, the beautiful day and pretty garden contributing largely to the general joyousness of the occasion.

The bride wore a beautiful wedding dress of ivory charmeuse with wreath and veil, and she carried a lovely shower bouquet; while her going away-dress was a coat and skirt of apricot coloured cloth, with hat en suite.

The bridesmaids were Miss Annie McFarlane, sister of the bride, the Misses Elsie and Bessie McFarlane, nieces of the bride, who wore white embroidered muslin dresses and carried bouquets, the Misses Olive Johnston, sister of the bridegroom and Melva Thompson, niece of the bride, who wore hailstone muslin, dresses trimmed with Valenciennes lace and pale pink sashes, and carried shepherds’ crooks with pink silk ribbons. Mr. P. McBrearty, the bridegroom’s business partner acted as best man, assisted by Messrs. G. E. Jago and M. Chamberlain, as groomsmen.

Mrs. R. Johnston, mother of the bridegroom, was present, and wore a handsome dress of vieux rose shantung silk, trimmed with cream net and lace scarf, and black lace hat. Miss Ena Johnston’s dress was of white embroidery, with grey hat and cerise plume. Miss McFarlane looked charming in pale grey silk relieved with blue and biscuit-coloured tagle straw hat with grey and blue plumes; and Mrs. Richings Grant, of Timaru, sister to the bride, wore a stylish dress of saxe-blue silk with black hat. Mrs. D. McFarlane wore a navy blue coat and skirt and black and white hat and Mrs. J. Mc Farlane a champagne coloured shantung costume and black hat with large black plumes. Mrs. P. Thompson, of Dunedin, sister of the bride, wore an electric blue poplin dress, with large black hat, and Miss Mary McFarlane a blue silk taffeta dress and hat to match.

Among the numerous and handsome gifts from the friends of the young couple were a beautiful marble clock from the members of the Victoria Swimming Club, of which Mr. Johnston was secretary, and a pair of palm stands from his fellow boarders.

The wedding breakfast was partaken of in the grounds, and we must not omit reference to the very artistic, wedding cake which was the work of Mrs. Richings Grant. After a very happytime spent by the assembled guests, Mr. and Mrs. Johnston left by motor-car for Palmerston North en route for the South, bearing the good wishes of their many friends, with whom we join in hoping they will enjoy a long and prosperoug married life.


My great-grandmother, Robert Foster’s sister May Elizabeth is notably absent.  She had recently given birth to my Grandad, so was probably not up to travelling from Gisborne to Wanganui.  It’s not a quick journey even today!

Ethel passed away in 1925, leaving two sons.  Robert Foster remarried but had no further children.  He died in 1954.  His second wife, Auntie Ed, I remember visiting often as a child.


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