Let’s Read Brides, March 1969!

Bride’s magazine was the one-stop resource of fantasy wedding planning from 1934 to May 2019 (rip print version). Is anyone’s wedding actually like one of the weddings in the magazine? Probably not. A hefty bimonthly publication that was virtually the exact same content from issue to issue, the magazine functioned as a guidebook to wedding etiquette, bridal fashion, ceremony and reception planning, honeymoon destinations, and many many advertisements for silverware. Given that the average bride to be would ideally only need to buy an issue or two in her life for wedding inspiration, the magazine’s formulaic structure was best suited to the most casual of readers. Or, little girls like myself and my sister, who would sometimes get bridal magazines as a treat and pore over every single page and ad from cover to cover, absorbed in planning our own outrageous fantasy weddings.

“How a husband wants his wife to look” isn’t actually a feature in this issue – its just the overall message of the magazine. Nice, right?

This is oddly out of tone with the rest of the magazine, but hey – get that programming job, lady! Computer programming in the 60s was all punch cards, but I imagine that having a background in any of it by the 1980s set you up for a solid career. The proposed salary here is pretty comparable to a programmer’s salary today. It’s a LaSalle extension course, which is notable because the college wasn’t coed until 1970. So women were being encouraged to go, but weren’t welcome on campus.

Now, my own wedding wasn’t the most formal affair, and there were only about 30 guests, but it still took about a year to plan it. I’ve known plenty of people who have taken up to two years to get everything in their wedding reserved and planned. This is a checklist (of the bride’s responsibilities) to throw a formal wedding in SIX MONTHS. Including a minuscule detail of being on top of that whole “where are we gonna live after we’re married?” thing. Geez Louise.

Meanwhile, the Groom’s checklist starts at three months to go and includes things like “pack for the honeymoon” and “take your bride-to-be out for a nice lunch when you get your marriage license”.

There are so many dresses in this magazine that I made myself limit to only include full color fashion ads, but this dress was so awful that I just couldn’t resist. This is a Spring issue, so every model in this magazine looks like Lana Del Rey fighting her way out of an Easter basket. The bow on this dress is available in white, blue, OR pink polka dot! 

In this edition of 1969 bridal etiquette:

  • When you want The Help in your bridal party but your parents are aghast at the thought, still include them in the wedding by making them do something for you that doesn’t come with all the nice things and considerable status of being a bridesmaid!
  • Helpful wedding ceremony advice for the woman who in all likelihood is probably marrying her boss, Jane Siegel-style.
  • Girl, leave your dead mom out of this.
  • Suddenly that whole six month time table makes sense, given that your man’s about to get drafted.

It took me a minute to figure out that the model is standing in front of a backdrop of round painted clouds, so I thought at first that her veil trained down into masses of thick cottony Pom-Pom balls. Can you blame me? I am, however, a fan of the little crown perched on top of her bouffant. Some settle for a weeny little tiara, but full crowns are gangsta. The overall effect makes her look like the angel on top of a Christmas tree. As for the butter yellow bridesmaid inexplicably also wearing a veil, with murder in her eyes – what in the hell is going on with the back of her dress? Is this like one of those momento mori photos where she has to be propped up with a hidden rod? Is she dead?

I’m actually not mad at this one, even if it’s cut in such a way that it looks like she’s wearing it backwards. Lana Del Rey and Priscilla Presley would both approve of the pillbox hat veil. Check for availability at MILDRED’S HOUSE OF BRIDES in Hawthorne, New Jersey.

Valerie proved to Mary-Anne that she was maid of honor material by tearing apart the dresses of the other bridesmaids and wearing the scraps triumphantly on her head. Mary-Anne desperately tried to signal the photographer to get her out of the modeling shoot.

From an article on how to throw a double wedding. Double weddings aren’t really a thing anymore, from what I can tell, but I can see their usefulness if some, uh, extenuating circumstances prevail and you need to get married in a hurry before A) the baby starts to show or B) your man’s getting shipped out in a month.

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I…I am so lost.
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Jesus, this sounds like a nightmare and a half.

If this image didn’t inspire a thousand young women to run away screaming to Haight-Ashbury, I don’t know what would. Welcome to the rest of your life!

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“Dear mother-in-law, I thought this would be a handy book for you to have in the kitchen now that I’ve taken your son away and the only man left to cook for in your life is your husband. Cooking for two!”

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Now onto the good stuff – newlywed sex advice!

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Let’s review:
  • Sex is only valid when both partners climax simultaneously.
  • The full responsibility of contraception rests on the female partner.
  • Bride’s and several experts, including Dr. Kinsey, are here to tell you that your sex life is boring even if you haven’t had sex yet.
  • When in doubt, always bring up the “women of the Orient” imagery for the stereotype of pleasing men.
  • I’m imagining a typical Japanese woman in 1969 getting home from her part-time office job, running some laundry, feeding the dog, washing dishes, then looking at the clock and thinking “Oh nuts, Hiroshi-kun will be home in an hour and I haven’t even started my geisha makeup and hair for his ultimate seduction yet, damn I’m just so tired,” as she resignedly pulls a shamisen from her closet and starts to tune it.

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Take a look at that monstrosity of a cake! It’s like one of those memes where the first element you can identify is how you die. I’m going to die by swans, apparently. SWANS.

Meanwhile…
“Oh Joan, I-I’m about to continue the chain of humanity!”
“That’s great, but I’m still pissed about how you acted in front of my friends at bridge last week!”

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This was placed right after the lovemaking article. I refuse to believe it was unintentional.

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Or this one.

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In which the bride is literally reduced to a decorative platter.

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With a button down shirt and $50 worth of plastic daisies from JoAnn’s, you too can have that wedding gown of your dreams!
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When you marry a Craine girl, you have to pick her out of a lineup of other women in wedding gowns at the altar. Choose wisely, as you may have woken up to marry Ellen but you’ll end up on honeymoon with her cousin Vicky.
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Laureen finally got her revenge on Shelly for sabotaging her date with Bobby at the eighth grade winter formal.
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Because nothing better expresses “grown woman about to get married and live her own life” like “removable organza pinafore”, which is literally language that one would use to sell an antique doll to a collector.
At some point I just started assigning assorted Lana Del Rey lyrics to this blurry parade of god-awful wedding dresses. It started getting real gay. Enjoy.
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Red, white, blue’s in the skies, summer’s in the air and baby, heaven’s in your eyes…
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Feet don’t fail me now, take me to the finish line…
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And the lust for life keeps us alive…
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There are violets in your eyes, there are guns that blaze around you, there are roses in between my thighs…
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Pink flamingos always fascinated me, I know what only the girls know…
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You were sort of punk rock, I grew up on hip hop…
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Done my hair up real big beauty queen style…
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It’s you that I adore, though I make the boys fall like dominoes…
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If you can get through any of these without sticking your finger down your throat, congrats. The dress is pretty cute though. She’s rocking the Juliet cap.
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“My ambition for you has always been that eventually, as a good wife and mother, you would fulfill your woman’s status in life.”  JESUS.
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Someday when I have a daughter and she gets married I’m going to recite this entire thing at her wedding just to embarrass the hell out of her, and I will be very very drunk. Or maybe I’ll just get drunk and I’ll recite this  to my cats. It remains to be seen.
This is genuinely one of the only photos in this entire tome-sized magazine that includes a photo of a prospective groom.
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What to expect if you’re marrying a lawyer, which apparently you can’t have a conversation about with the man you’re actually about to marry so  you need to turn to this ever-helpful bridal magazine for insights.
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What to expect: mostly being really lonely!
“I know my husband was relieved beyond measure that he finally married someone and got his mother off his back, and I’m so proud to have been that someone!” — Jane, divorced 1974
“I’ve convinced myself that I really enjoy the company of other lawyer’s wives, especially those who drop acid with me at the school board luncheons!”
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This is something you’re supposed to bring with you for the honeymoon. Seriously.
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Indulge his secret Dutch Milkmaid fantasy!
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Groovy eye-searing 1969 home decor! Perfect for a young couple to come home, kick off their shoes, and drop a little acid together.
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There’s something really off about a magazine that literally defines what baking is and also provides advice about simultaneous climaxing in the space of ten pages.
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“Should we pick the Sheraton Brock or the Sheraton Foxhead, dear?”
“How about the forehead, I mean the fixing spray, I mean the Foxhead?”
“STEE-EEVE!”
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AAAAAH STEVE GET IT OUT GET IT OUT!!
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“Oh look Darren, this resort includes a pretty straw hat for the bride!”
“Acapulco? I thought we were set on Niagara –”
“And a pink and white Jeep! A Jeep, darling! How clever!”
“It’s nice, but Acapulco’s just a little our of our price range, Darlene –“
“I AM THE BRIDE AND I WANT MY BRIDE HAT, DARREN.”
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As I’ve likely mentioned before, when I was a kid the Poconos were THE ULTIMATE DESTINATION OF GLAMOUR AND ROMANCE, in the far off exotic lands of Pennsylvania, and now all I can think about when I see those ridiculous bathtubs is hepatitis and foot fungus.
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Clearly the selling point of the Poconos resorts is that a woman can have a bath in a ginormous heart-shaped bathtub all by herself, alone in her hotel room, while her husband goes to a rifle range. Honestly that doesn’t sound all that bad.
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Now this is a good time, and I’m not talking about Louisiana.
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Apologies for the blurriness of the second half (apparently my hands tremble in excitement when I come across something extra good). Anyway, a summary: your man is horrifically insecure and he’s going to take everything you say and turn it against you. It’s absolutely your fault if men on the street catcall you, because you’re a tramp. So it’s overall better just to not ever say to the toxic piece of shit that you’re about to marry. Then when your marriage falls completely apart by 1972, you’ll be left to wonder what went wrong – you followed all of the advice!

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Again, my own wedding was small and pretty informal, so the detailed breakdown of who pays for what and the excruciating minutiae of it all makes my head hurt. Something I’ve noticed from this period is that the weddings and receptions don’t focus at all on things like decorations or locations. There was no room for DIY or individual expression – you got married at a church, you went to a banquet hall afterwards, there was a cake, you left for your honeymoon and came back as Married People. People in the 60s would probably be absolutely flabbergasted by the idea of twine-wrapped mason jars for centerpieces and taco truck catering.

And that’s Bride’s! Thank you for reading, as always. I have no idea what’s coming next. Stay tuned next time for…a magazine? A magazine, yes. Probably from the 70s.