They weren't exactly the weddings of the century, no one or two weddings are except to the couples themselves. But, when Dena Baum married Emanuel Dreyer and her sister, Blanche Alexandria Baum, took the hand of Junius Schiff in marriage, they were the largest weddings ever held in Laurens County. On this Valentine's Day, let's turn back the clock more than a century of ago and took a look at what truly glamorous weddings used to be about.
It was a warm night on the 7th of January in 1903. Nearly 800 guests from around the city and around the state were filing into the courthouse hoping to get a good seat in the crowded courtroom. For the first time in the history of the county a couple would be married according to the rites of the Jewish religion. Newspaper writers billed it as "the largest ever witnessed in this section of Georgia."
The courtroom was elegantly decorated with evergreen and flowers as to disguise the normal use of the auditorium. A canopy, draped with sheer white cloth and bamboo vines, was erected in front of the judge's bench.
To get the guests into the mood, Professor Carl Leake led his orchestra featuring musical selections from the opera, "Martha." Mrs. T.H. Smith, Mrs. Carl Leake, S.M. Gibson and C.H. Kittrell sang the wedding march as the bridal party approached Rabbi Isaac C. Marcuson and the groom, Emanuel Dreyer, the junior partner of the successful retail grocery firm of Brandon and Dreyer, and his best man, Morriel Elkins.
Dena's younger sisters, Jeanette and Helen, served as ribbon girls. Adeline Baum, the maid of honor, preceded the bride and their father down the aisle to join the ushers dressed in tuxedos and the attendants, beautifully attired in satin dresses.
The beautiful and impressive, yet longer than usual ceremony, lasted well into the late hours of the evening. After the nuptials, the couple, the wedding party and their guests walked across the courthouse lawn to the Baum house on the northeast corner of the square.
After a wonderful honeymoon in Florida, the Dreyers returned to Dublin, all the more wealthy than when they left. With hundreds of gifts in hand along with a reported thousand dollars in gold, the Dreyers were ready to begin their dream life.
Blanche Baum Schiff (above left).
Following the plans of her sister's wedding, an orchestra of family friends were on hand to play as the bridal party came down the aisle. For all of you wedding planners, a reporter described the auditorium, "From the door to the altar was laid with white crash cloth. A profusion of cut flowers, palms, ferns and pot plants was used in the decoration. The stand in back of the altar was draped with white ribbon and ferns, and on each were suspended the letter 'B' and 'S." Between the letters was a large heart made of ferns and cut flowers. Two large arches spanned the entrance. These were draped with white ribbon and ferns. From the altar was suspended a canopy studded with lights and draped with white ribbon and cut flowers. From this canopy over the bride and groom was suspended a large bell made of red and white roses.
Just as she had before, sister Adeline Baum, gowned in a lace robe and who would never marry herself, served as the maid of honor. Leo Weiss was the groom's best man. The groomsmen wore continental evening suits, while the bride's maids wore white lingerie chiffon dresses and carried white flowers.
After Rabbi David Marx of Atlanta presented the newlyweds, they walked out of the auditorium to the traditional Mendelssohn's Wedding March. Following the ceremony, another lavish reception was held in the Baum home across the square.
Junius Schiff (above left) died on February 17, 1963. Blanche died on May 12, 1972. Tragically, Emanuel Dreyer took his own life on May 29, 1923. Dena died on March 15, 1947. They are buried in the family plot in Section W of Northview Cemetery in Dublin.
Over the last century, weddings have changed dramatically. In some cases, they haven't changed at all. So, on this Valentine's Day, let me wish a happy life to all of those who love and who are loved by someone. Treasure all the days you have after you say your vows. In the case of the Baum sisters, one marriage lasted a lifetime while the other was tragically cut short.