Betty Gilbert’s maiden name was Russell and she married Ellison Eugene Gilbert, a very handsome gentleman from Somerset, on March 29, 1951 at St John’s Anglican Church.
They had seven children from this union — five girls and two boys.
They first met at a dance where she saw him sitting by himself and so she went over to keep him company. They both loved to play checkers, and, as they say… the rest is history.
Mrs Gilbert, now 81 years old, recalls being ‘courted’’ by her husband-to-be for sometime before he proposed. When he eventually did her answer was yes.
Back in those days it was customary for the man to ask the young woman’s father for her hand in marriage — which is exactly what he did.
He gave her an engagement ring but there was no engagement party like many modern brides have now.
Mrs Gilbert said the wedding planning was done by the families and there was no option back then of hiring a wedding planner or coordinator.
It was a time for relatives, aunts, cousins and even the godmothers, to come together to do the planning, prepare the finger foods, and make paper flowers for decorating the wedding event.
They also came together to make sure that no one was left off the invitation list.
Mrs Gilbert said since her mother, Araminta Russell, was such a great cake baker that she did all the cakes for the wedding, including pound, marble, cherry walnut and fruitcakes.
As Mrs Gilbert came from a very large family it was the tradition when family members got married that her mother did all the baking of cakes for her children and other family members, a tradition that was inevitably passed down to her.
Even today most people acquainted with Mrs Gilbert know her for her great baking and cooking. But she makes it clear that’s she’s retired. “No more baking at this age,” she said with a smile.
The engaged couple did not have pre-marital counselling, and as it worked out they probably did not need it.
The wedding party consisted of family and friends, with three groomsmen, three bridesmaids, a ring bearer, and a flower girl.
Mrs Gilbert had a bridal registry for her china and silver that guests purchased as gifts. She said that her mother bought her wedding dress and a seamstress made all the bridesmaids’ dresses.
She also remembers having two receptions. It was a very common thing back in her day to have a reception at the bride’s home, if it was big enough to accommodate the guests, but very unusual to have two.
One was held at her family’s home at Spanish Point and the other was held, on the same day, in Somerset at her father-in-law’s home.
The Gilberts did not have a honeymoon preferring to move into a small place next to her father-in-law until their own home, built by Mr Gilbert for his growing family, was completed.
When Betty and Ellison Gilbert celebrated 25 years of marriage the family had an anniversary party at the Band Room in Somerset, with many family members and friends in attendance. The Gilberts celebrated in style by going on a Caribbean cruise after the party.
Sadly, Ellison Gilbert passed in 1982, but Betty Gilbert remembers with love and affection their courtship and marriage.
• Diane Gilbert is a sales executive with the Bermuda Sun and Betty Gilbert is her mother-in-law.