25 November 2016 Susannah

Mrs Bennet and Me

Closeup portrait of a bride putting white wedding dress
Mr & Mrs Bennet, Pride & Prejudice 1995

Mr & Mrs Bennet, Pride & Prejudice 1995

To my horror, I’ve seen in myself a decided resemblance to Mrs Bennet. This month I have a daughter getting married. My adored Elinor Elizabeth (named of course for two Jane Austen heroines) will be marrying her fabulous fiancé, Craig. And I seem to be growing more like Mrs Bennet by the day – “such flutterings all over me, such spasms, such beatings at heart…” etc.

With weddings very much on my mind, I’ve been reflecting on literary weddings. Most novels end with the hero and heroine about to go to the altar and remarkably few books actually describe weddings. Those which do feature scenes at the altar seem to focus on things going wrong, like the famous wedding in Jane Eyre when Mr Rochester is only just stopped from committing bigamy. Or Claudio and Hero’s wedding in Much Ado about Nothing or Sergeant Troy waiting for Fanny Robin at the altar in Far from the Madding Crowd. Or there’s the wedding in Mary Grant Bruce’s Billabong novels where Norah and Wally end up in the pond when they should be getting dressed in their finery. We don’t get Miss Havisham‘s aborted wedding described by Dickens, but there she still sits in her finery, cake being eaten away by mice in one of literature’s great portraits of a jilted bride. I just hope my daughter’s wedding resembles none of the above!

I’d like it to be like the moment in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne’s House of Dreams when Anne comes down the stairs to marry Gilbert in the Green Gables parlour: “it was a happy and beautiful bride who came down the old, homespun-carpeted stairs that September noon – the first bride of Green Gables, slender and shining-eyed, in the mist of her maiden veil, with her arms full of roses. Gilbert, waiting for her in the hall below, looked up at her with adoring eyes. She was his at last, this evasive, long-sought Anne, won after years of patient waiting … Was he worthy of her? Could he make her as happy as he hoped?… then, as she held out her hand, their eyes met and all doubt was swept away in a glad certainty.” See a beautiful photoshoot of how Anne’s wedding may have looked here.

Do you have a favourite literary wedding? Do send me suggestions of ones I’ve failed to remember or might not know. And think of me (and Mrs Bennet) on 17 December as I watch my wonderful daughter getting married. Tell me about it by leaving a comment.


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Featured image credit- Bride putting on a wedding dress. from https://www.graphicstock.com/
Body image credit- Mr & Mrs Bennet from http://janeausten.wikia.com/wiki/Mrs._Bennet?file=Mr-and-Mrs-Bennet-pride-and-prejudice-1995-6153491-396-222.jpg

Comments (20)

  1. Irma Alberti

    Dear Susannah,

    Tomorrow will a very special and joyful day for your daughter Elinor and her husband to be Craig, we wish them a wonderful journey together.
    Have a great day with all the families reunited to celebrate such a special event.
    With much love,
    Irma and Alberto

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks so much for your good wishes, Irma. The wedding was amazing! The bride looked divine, the sun shone, the food and venue were great, and all was fabulous. I will include a photo of the bride with the next newsletter. Merry Christmas!

  2. Pamela Kehl

    I hope you enjoy your daughter’s wedding as much as I loved the wedding of my daughter,
    Pamela Kehl

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks for your kind wishes, Pamela. We are all very excited about it, and hope for a lovely day in all respects.

  3. Adrienne Klipin

    Dear Susannah,

    Have a wonderful day. These rites of passage are so special, so tuck all the memories away to share with us in the future.

    May your year be healthy happy and filled with fun.

    Adrienne and Lewis Klipin

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks so much for the lovely message. I will make sure I enjoy every moment of the day. Hope you have a merry Christmas and that 2017 is a fabulous year for you both.

  4. Jan Donohoe

    I first read Jane Eyre when I was 13, and my heart stopped when Mr Mason appeared so dramatically. i held my breath during that point at weddings for a long time afterwards!

    Susannah, you may feel like Mrs Bennett on the inside, but I am sure you’ll be far more gracious and definitely less vocal about your nerves.


    • Susannah Fullerton

      I think my daughter might shoot me if I turned into a genuine Mrs Bennet. Thanks for the good wishes. Yes, that wedding scene in ‘Jane Eyre’ is so incredibly memorable. I often think about it during weddings.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, lovely suggestion, though I am hoping my daughter’s marriage celebrant will not be a turkey!

  5. Malcolm Greer

    Weddings are wonderful things and consolidate and confirm family values like nothing else. Enjoy.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      The wedding is going to be a fabulous family reunion, with relatives coming from NZ, South Africa, Holland, Scotland and England. You are right that they really bring families together and provide those special memories. Thanks for the good wishes.

  6. Valerie Perks

    Another wedding has come to mind, I suspect rarely read now, but my Father used to recite, from memory, verse after verse of Longfellow, including Hiawatha’s wedding:

    Thou the wild-flower of the forest!
    Thou the wild-bird of the prairie!
    Thou with eyes so soft and fawn-like!
    “If thou only lookest at me,
    I am happy, I am happy


    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thank you SOOO much for reminding me of Hiawatha’s wedding to Minnehaha. Such an incredible poem. I read huge chunks of it to my tour groups after visiting Longfellow’s amazing house in Cambridge, USA.

  7. Valerie Perks

    One of my first literary loves was ‘Lorna Doone’. Remember the wedding scene? Carver Doone shoots Lorna and John Ridd pursues him to a deliciously horrible death in an Exmoor bog?

    • Susannah Fullerton

      How could I have forgotten Lorna’s memorable wedding. I have visited the tiny church in Doone Vallery in Exmoor where the wedding takes place, and I read out that scene from the novel in the exact spot where Blackmore pictures it taking place. It always gives me a thrill, and hopefully thrills my tour group as well. And Carver totally deserved that ghastly death – he is a true villain.

  8. Barbara McKay

    Best wishes to Elinor and Craig – Congratulations to the Mama. Mrs Bennet has done well once again.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks for the good wishes. This Mrs Bennet is starting to feel very relieved that she only has one daughter to marry off. Five would be too much for me!

  9. P and R Plumridge

    Dear Susannah and family,

    Have a wonderful day on the 17th Dec! We will be thinking of you.

    Kindest wishes,

    Pam and Roger Plumridge ( Southern Literary Tour April 2016)

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Lovely to hear from you both and I hope to see you when I am next in Melbourne. Thanks for the wedding wishes, and best wishes for a merry Christmas.

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