A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
March 2009 - December 2009

Wedding Belles & Beaux

Sixty Years of Wedding Costumes & Customs, 1869-1929

Kooi-Reynolds wedding, circa 1926 (Moeller-Edwards Collection, TESHS)

Manville & Diana

MANVILLE KENDRICK AND Diana Cumming had known each other for at least six years prior to their marriage. His parents lived just down the street from her parents, and in the small town that was Washington, D.C. in the 1920s, it was inevitable that the two would meet.

In 1923, Manville’s cousin Eula Wulfjen married Diana’s cousin Samuel Calvin Cumming. Three years after their cousins married, Manville Kendrick invited Diana Cumming to visit Wyoming. Those in the know recognized the significance of the visit. Hubert Harmon told Manville as much in 1928, upon announcement of their engagement:

As long ago as Diana’s first visit to Sheridan I announced in private that sooner or later you and she would be joined in holy and delightful or I might say, wholly delightful bonds of matrimony. To recall that prediction is simply to indicate how sincerely I approve of your choice. … In Diana you have one of the finest America can produce – that means, the best in the world – so I know how complete must be your happiness.

Manville and Diana’s wedding on January 3, 1929 was a major social event in Washington. Newspapers from New York to Sheridan published stories, both before and after the vows were exchanged in the Bethlehem Chapel of the National Cathedral. The following account is from the Washington Post the day of the wedding:

Mrs. Coolidge will attend the wedding this afternoon of Miss Diana Cumming, daughter of the Surgeon General of Public Health and Mrs. Hugh S. Cumming, to Mr. Manville Kendrick, son of Senator and Mrs. John B. Kendrick of Sheridan, Wyo. … The arrangements for the wedding are charming in detail and a large and distinguished company will be in attendance at the chapel and at the reception, which will follow immediately after the wedding service. Yellow roses will be used on the altar lighted with cathedral candles. … The bride will be escorted to the altar by her father, who will give his daughter in marriage. Mrs. Reed, wife of Capt. Walter Reed, will be the matron of honor; Miss Eva Wise of New York, cousin of the bride, will be maid of honor. … Mr. Harry R. Kay of Winetka, Ill., will be the best man and the ushers selected include Hugh Cumming Jr., brother of the bride. … Following a reception in the Washington Club, where Christmas greens and gay colored flowers are used in profusion, Mr. Kendrick and his bride will leave for a wedding trip to the West Indies and Panama.


According to Emily Post, it was the groom’s responsibility to plan and pay for the wedding trip:

In order that the first days of their life together may be as perfect as possible, the groom must make preparations for the wedding trip long ahead of time, so that the best accommodations can be reserved. If their first stop is to be at a distance, then he must engage train seats or boat stateroom, and write to the hotel of the destination far enough in advance to receive a written reply, so that he may be sure of the accommodations they will find.

With plenty of input from Diana, Manville planned a cruise to the West Indies and from there to San Francisco via the Panama Canal. Traveling on the S. S. Virginia, the couple enjoyed a “spacious and comfortable” stateroom complete with “twin beds and hot and cold running water.” After a short time in San Francisco, the newlyweds boarded a train to the Grand Canyon, where they enjoyed a few more days of honey-mooning before heading north to their new home: Trail End.

When Emily Post codified all the various rules and regulations of “the modern wedding,” she paid quite a bit of attention to one major area of concern: the financial arrangements. All expenses associated with the wedding were paid for by either the groom or the bride’s family, and there were definite rules about who paid for what: 

  • All the expenses of a wedding belong to the bride’s parents; the groom’s family are little more than ordinary guests. … When a poor girl marries, her wedding must be in keeping with the [financial] means of her parents.

  • With the exception of parasols, muffs or fans, which are occasionally carried in place of bouquets … every article worn by the bridesmaids ... must be paid for by the wearers.

  • [The Groom must provide gifts] for his best man and ushers, as well as their ties, gloves and boutonnieres, a bouquet for his bride, and the fee for the clergyman.

  • Convention has no rule more rigid than that the wedding trip shall be a responsibility of the groom. … It is unthinkable for the bride to defray the least fraction of the cost of the wedding journey.

Like most members of polite society, the Kendricks and their children were careful to follow these established rules of etiquette: Manville covered the expenses for Diana’s dream honeymoon to the West Indies, while John and Eula Kendrick paid for their daughter Rosa-Maye’s elaborate wedding to Hubert Harmon.

Cumming-Kendrick wedding invitation, 1929 (Kendrick Collection, TESHS)

 State Historic Site

Trail End