This rather lovely image is of the church decorated for the wedding of Phoebe Seddon, daughter of Premier Richard John Seddon, to Frank Dyer, in 1897. The church had been decorated by Phoebe’s friends. One of the attendees wrote that ‘one thing I especially noticed was a large floral marriage-bell covered with lycopodium and white flowers, around this was a large wreath finished off with a true-lovers knot of white silk, on the ends of which were the bride and bridegroom’s monograms worked with silver thread’.
At the time of her wedding Phoebe was a member of the Women’s Political League. The League had been set up at about the time women received the vote in 1893, to work towards ‘the promotion of knowledge amongst the women of the Colony with respect to social, political, municipal, and other questions affecting their well-being’. Phoebe told a meeting of the League that the one condition she had made to her future husband was that she be allowed to remain part of the League. She said hers was the first marriage of a woman from the League ‘but she did not intend to give it up’, and would be reminded of the League on her wedding day, as her veil had been made for her by members of the League.
I found this image pasted into a photo album donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library by the Seddon family – it looked to me like the bride had used it as a scrapbook of her wedding, and also contained many newspaper’s clippings about her famous father. The Seddon family were long-time parishioners of St Paul’s.
As an aside, one of the young bridesmaids at the wedding was Katherine Mansfield’s sister, Jeanne, at about the age of 5, as she was a relation of the groom.