Nostalgia: wedding dresses
When Jim and Carole Ann Stansfield celebrated their golden wedding they found they could still get in to their original wedding outfits
It was October 1, 1966, and the church bells were ringing, when Jim Stansfield stood in front of the altar nervously awaiting his beautiful bride. Dressed up to the nines in his best wool suit, he was overwhelmed when he saw Carole Ann coming down the aisle in a trailing white wedding dress that fitted her perfectly. Under her veil, she wore her hair in a Sixties-style beehive. Jim couldn’t believe how wonderful she looked. He felt exactly the same when, wearing his original wool suit, he watched her walk into their 50th wedding anniversary party wearing that same dress! Jim and Carole Ann, who met at a social club for the company where Jim worked, first had the idea of trying on their old outfits when their granddaughter, Hayley, came to look for some old photographs and spotted the forgotten outfits in their loft. “Hayley suggested I try my dress on even though it had been up there untouched pretty much for 50 years. It was quite smelly and had some makeup and mud stains on it from the first time I wore it, but I washed it twice in the washing machine, once with some stain remover, and then I ironed it. “The only trouble was washing it made it shrink at which point I thought I’d never get in it!” says Carole Ann. Nevertheless, she gave it a try and was amazed to discover it fitted perfectly, just as it had done on her wedding day. In the meantime, Jim had his suit dry cleaned and found it was still a great fit. The dry cleaners even commented on what a well-made suit it was. With the outfits looking as good as new, they decided they would wear them for their forthcoming golden wedding anniversary celebrations. “Wearing the dress brought back so many lovely memories,” says Carole Ann. “On my wedding day, people kept standing on my long veil and at the anniversary party, the exact same thing kept happening. “Everyone was so happy to see us in our outfits,” adds Jim. “And many people there had been at our original wedding which was lovely.” So what’s the secret behind staying the same size all these years? “I really don’t know!” laughs Carole Ann. “Jim does a lot more exercise than me but then we tend not to eat too many puddings or cakes or fatty foods.” As for the secret behind their longlasting marriage, Carole Ann says that’s much easier to answer. “There’s always laughter,” she says. “We don’t argue very often and even if we do we usually finish off laughing at each other. “We grew up in tough times when we learned to appreciate what we had,” says Jim. “And when you’ve a wife like mine you certainly do appreciate it.” Their wedding outfits have now been carefully packed away back in the loft in special bags and Jim and Carole Ann are looking forward to getting them out for their 60th wedding anniversary.
Jim and Carole Ann have stood the test of time – in every way