It was the Ragtime era, when the phonograph became available to consumers. The first time guests were dancing at weddings; and in spite of high waists and high collars, long trains and long gloves it was the bopping head and flailing arms and legs of the Turkey Trot that was coveted by the youth and considered scandalous by polite society.
In 1914; the start of World War I the Toronto cityscape was dotted with horse and buggies as the population pushed 200,000. It was the year of the opening of the Old Mill Tea Room, the future venue for a legacy of weddings that would define the iconic Toronto landmark.
In 1929 the Old Mill Tea Room added a dance hall; and a nine piece orchestra that played six nights a week. It was the Depression so although couples continued to exchange vows brides were exchanging silk for rayon gowns or their Sunday dresses that could be worn again.
In the thirties with women supplying ¼ of Toronto’s workforce the world was introduced to mac ‘n cheese, instant oatmeal and canned soup varieties. The invention of kettles that whistled when they boiled and blenders for home use made it easier for women to go to work.
Amid World War II even more women were employed and weddings were planned with haste to young men in the forces. Vogue magazine wrote (1942) “Weddings nowadays hang not on the brides’ whim, but on the decision of the grooms’ commanding officer.”
Grooms were increasingly wearing wedding bands as visual reminders of their nuptials.
This era of rationing and practicality forced shorter hemlines (above the ankle for bike-riding ease) and lacy sweaters to get the most mileage out of a ball of wool. Brides were not exempt from frugality often using furnishing fabrics and lace curtains to fashion their wedding attire.
Life was better in the fifties. Toronto got a television broadcast system, TV dinners were on grocery shelves and portable dishwashers were being wheeled into kitchens.
Brides were wearing ballerina-length dresses with luxurious poufy layers and short fingerless gloves made of lace. Bolero jackets were in demand for ceremonies, covering strapless or laced dresses with sweetheart collars for the reception.
In the sixties women were making up 1/3 of the Canadian workforce and ¼ of the Canadian engineering profession. They were learning that ovens could (and should) clean themselves.
When they were grooving down the aisle brides were choosing short skirts or dresses and hair worn long, dotted with flowers or veils popping from pill box hats.
Toronto enjoyed architectural successes in the seventies, with Ontario Place, The Eaton Centre and The CN Tower being erected. Microwave ovens hit the Canadian market but the decade is generally associated with flower power and the peace movement.
Blame it on the hippies, but seventies brides had their own fashion senses. From pantsuits to smocked gauze gowns to Bohemian frocks this was an era of recreational duds.
O Canada became the official national anthem in 1980 kicking off an era of formality and tradition in wedding styles.
If one person can define the decade it was Diana, Princess of Wales who set the tone for puffy hair, puffy sleeves, long-distance trains and veils and the return to bodacious bouquets. Brides among the non-nobles dressed as princesses nonetheless.
The nineties were digital; as in cameras, answering machines and video discs. People were still using coin booth telephones but mobile phones were introduced to the marketplace.
In fashion, the ‘designer look’ was desirable. Brides were wearing strapless, sleeveless and sexy gowns. Cleavage was in (or out?) and dresses were form fitting.
At the turn of the century the vowels were ahead; with the arrival of iPhones, e-tickets, e-books, USBs and ATMs.
Drinks are frothy and wedding gowns more so. Pick-up skirts and asymmetrical hems fall from form fitting bodices.
Mermaids may be mystical in the sea but on the aisle the Mermaid dress is genuine and sought after, as is the Pandora, Princess, Sabrina or Tulip dress.
A century of changing styles, fashions and trends; yet the Old Mill Toronto is unwavering in their dedication to their brides and their special days.
You might say that the Old Mill Toronto will go to great lengths to seek perfection.
And as a toast to the brides, every 2014 wedding dinner package booking will be entered into a draw to Win 1 of 2 Romantic Cruises and, a first Anniversary stay in a luxury King Room at the Old Mill Toronto, as well as an engagement digital photo session Free!