Pittsburgh History with Ginny: Suck it, Harlequin

The day of the wedding, the newspapers revealed that the wedding gifts received had already totaled over $500,000, which adjusted for inflation is $6,222,000 in today’s dollars. Six million bucks in gifts filling three whole rooms! And that doesn’t include the mystery gifts from Andrew Mellon and the bride’s father, which I assume would be estates in England or their weight in gold bars or maybe the Ark of the Covenant. Who can know?

The events preceding the wedding proved that money can’t buy a wedding free from snags, as not only did the bride and father of the bride have trouble getting to the church due to traffic thanks to crowds hoping to catch a glimpse of the bride, as well as guests arriving late to the wedding:

But the groom was sent to the wrong entrance to the church and found himself standing in the pouring rain, locked out!

Why isn’t this a movie?! It’s brilliant! Frantically trying to get into a church while getting soaked by rain, and then having to crush your way through a throng of celebrity-hungry onlookers is just romantic-comedy gold. Here is the bride calmly arriving at the church, where she was greeted with flashbulbs and a throng of female onlookers:

At 5:30 p.m. on November 16, 1927, the wedding took place at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, joining 27-year-old Alan in marriage to 24-year-old Sarah. Here is how the Index described it:

One of the most elaborate weddings that ever took place in Pittsburgh was that of Miss Sarah Cordelia Mellon, daughter of Mr. and M

rs. Richard Beatty Mellon, and Mr. Alan Magee Scaife, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Verner Scaiffe, which was an event of Wednesday afternoon in the East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

A cloth of gold covered the prie dieu, before which the Rev. Dr. Stuart Nye Hutchison performed the ceremony, orchid velvet draperies formed the background for the altar and concealed the organ and reaching from the side balconies, over the altar, was an arch of magnolia blossoms. Outlining the path of the bridal party were tall gold standards filled with white chrysanthemums. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a gown of white satin, built on straight lines with uneven hem, with the short skirt sloping toward the back, and having long, close fitting sleeves. Pearl embroidery followed the V-neck line and covered the bodice, extending down into a point on the skirt. Rose point lace edged both the satin court train and the tulle veil, which fell from a coronet of pearls, ending in long points on the train. Lilies of the valley, jasmin and white orchids formed the bouquet.

Now, because I still haven’t gotten down to the Carnegie Library to see if the microfilm is any better quality, this is the best I can do on the bride and groom exiting the church:

The ceremony is described as simple and quite brief. It’s the reception at the R.B. Mellon mansion, which was reportedly themed to resemble Arabian Nights, that will blow you away.

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