Eventually Pat decided that the house would be habitable in May, and that he could take some leave then, and so the date was chosen of 1st May, 1937 for our wedding. This gave only two months for confirmed preparations, and one of Mother�s problems was the back garden. She sought advice, and was told to plant giant zinnias and to water them every two hours to give them a good start. They were massed in the beds round the lawn and on the day were a magnificent sight.
Mother and I set about collecting linen for my trousseau, and we bought excellent fine linen sheets and pillowslips and good towels for the use of our guests only (we thought), as we understood that all requirements for the Manager�s house would be provided.
When Mother and Dad were married, they had huge heavy canteens of cutlery - big boxes, which were kept under the sideboard and pulled out when needed. Mother was tired of having to get down on hands and knees to pull out these clumsy canteens, and so she decided on a much more practical idea for us, which was her and Dad�s wedding present to us. It was a walnut veneer canteen on legs, with two drawers containing the special selection of cutlery which we decided on, all ordered from Walker and Hall in England - and a lasting joy it has been.
We ordered the bouquets from a lady whose name I have forgotten, but I visualise her sitting on the drawing room sofa and telling us about the Hay Diet which she was following, the main tenet of which was never to mix carbohydrates and proteins at any meal. I wanted the colour, scheme to be autumn shades, and this was easily and happily done in our bouquets - mainly carnations and roses in deep creams to golden colours.
But I tramped Cape Town for what I really thought would suit my bridesmaids: a shot taffeta in a warm orange/brownie range, but there was none available and eventually we settled on a pale green taffeta with dark green velvet trimmings for my three attendants: Elisabeth with dark hair and brown eyes, Shena with red hair and green eyes, and Mary with fair hair and blue eyes. Miss Vollmer made their dresses and mine, which was of ivory watered silk with a panel of Mother�s Duchess lace in front. Special off-white tulle was ordered from France, which became an anxiety as delivery was delayed and it only arrived in the week of the wedding.
After long discussion, it was decided to have the tea-time reception in the back garden at Aytoun, which meant that space was limited and we agonised over the guest list. The firm of Stewart Neave was to do the catering and provide chairs, tables, crockery etc., and they assured us that 75% only of invited guests would come. We pruned and pruned, and I was confident that the 200 we got the guest list down to would all come, but Stewart Neave was about right. Presents poured in, and I tried to keep up with thank you letters.