Then & Now | Marriage

In 1900s Cleveland, no expense was spared by Euclid Avenue’s families when it came time for a marriage. Weddings in that period were often about love but even more so about forging relationships between prominent families and fortunes. The palatial homes along Millionaire’s Row offered the perfect settings for wedding receptions, and sometimes ceremonies too. Charles Bissell invited 1200 guests to the 1880 marriage of his daughter Julia to Robert H. Clark. The home was filled with pink and white flowers amongst ferns and elaborate decor. Oftentimes, the wedding gifts were on display too.

(Bissell Home, 1880; Hitchcock Family Wedding Gifts, 1900s. WRHS Library.)


Being married at home was no reason to skimp. Wealthy brides at the turn of the century visited designers in New York and Paris, returning home with yards of silk and lace. Trimmings included pearls and often wax orange blossoms or other faux floral decorations. For entirely different reasons, many more weddings are taking place at home today. Are you recently married? Share a photo of your decor or ensemble with us on social media (tag @CleStartsHere, #CleStartsHere) and don’t forget to save lots of photographs for future generations!



(Mary Castle Norton, 1876; Laura Love, 1899. WRHS Library.)