Friday, 30 November 2012

Weddings on my mind–Lucille Ball

It’s the last day of November, hard to believe I know, and only a few weeks until Christmas.  I personally try not to think about Christmas until after December 15, my wedding anniversary.  So as I am in a wedding frame of mind I thought I’d look at some other weddings of the past over the next few weeks.
Firstly, the wedding of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who were married on this day in 1940, in Greenwich, Connecticut, eloping after a one day engagement period.

The happy couple, 39 November 1940
 They had met earlier in the year while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls.  She was a 28-year-old actress with a string of forgettable films, he, at 23, a dashing, Cuban-horn nightclub bandleader.  As Lucy said, “It wasn’t love at first sight. It took a full five minutes.” They did go out that first night, for dinner and dancing, and a few days later, co-star Eddie Bracken threw a beach party for those working on the picture.  After this they broke their engagements to their previous significant others.

Six months after their first meeting, on November 29th, 1940, Desi returned to New York with an idea in his mind and went to Lucy's hotel room, where she was busy giving a interview to a reporter entitled, "Why I Will Always be a Bachelor Girl.  They drove out to Greenwich, Connecticut the next morning, planning to get married at the Justice of the Peace's office.  The JP suggested a local country club , the Byram River Beagle Club, as something a little nicer .  Arnaz gave his age as 25; Miss Ball said she was 26. The bride wore a fur jacket and the ring was from Woolworth's –the only store open on a Saturday.

It;s cold in Connecticut in November 

In ‘Love, Lucy’  Lucille ball gives this account of her wedding morning:
Over the threshold
"After the short ceremony, we ate our wedding breakfast in front of a bright fire in the club's lounge. Outside, a fresh mantle of snow hung on the pine trees. After all the indecision we'd been through, Desi and I were dazed with happiness. We kissed each other and the marriage certificate again and again. It still has my lipstick marks on it.”

Afterwards they returned to the Roxy theatre in New York, where Desi was preforming and the first threshold he carried her over was that of his dressing room.


When Desi went out on stage he brought along with him his new bride. Attendees were given little bags of rice, which were poured over the heads of the newlyweds, who embraced and blew kisses to the crowd.

News of the wedding, 1 December 1940  source

Friends, family, and the country gave it six weeks (I know how that feels!)  Lucille’s Hollywood career blossomed and Desi toured America with his rumba band. Despite their clear love for each other, their marriage was not easy. Lucy had 3 miscarriages over several years and Desi had a wandering eye.   They filed for a divorce in 1944 but shortly after Ball obtained an interlocutory decree of divorce, she reconciled with Arnaz.

The couple had a second wedding on 19 June 19, 1949 at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Canoga Park, California, and both were in white.
Lucy and Desi wedding (1)
Weeding two, June 1949

The kiss, June 1949  source

The on again off again union would last twenty years, spawn a television empire, two children, and arguably the best known television show of all time. They were finally divorced on May 4, 1960, just two months after filming the final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Regarding her divorce Lucy later said, “Desi was the great love of my life. I will miss him until the day I die. But I don’t regret divorcing him. I just couldn't take it anymore.”

 News wire of the separation, 1960

Until his death in 1986, however, Arnaz and Ball remained friends and often spoke very fondly of each other.  It was said that Desi was Lucy's one true love.

Of course Lucille Ball also played a beautiful bride in many movies, in some lovely gowns.

Modelling a gown in the 1930s, source

In the Big Street, 1942 source

wedding movie

Funnily enough many people (and blogs and websites) have confused Lucy’s dress in the movie, The Long Long Trailer, with that of her wedding dress of 1940. For this 1953 movie Lucy and Ricky posed as newly-weds who buy a new trailer home (caravan) and spend a year travelling across the United States.

long long
Lucy tries on the dress in the long long trailer 1953, source

Official movie portrait

The long long trailer, source

wedding 1
The long long trailer  source

Magazine article from 1953, source

and living in a trailer, 1953
Would you get married in a fur coat?

Deb xx


  1. Such a lovely interesting post, thank you. I especially love those wedding dresses she wore in those films! Congrats to your anniversary,
    Love Lil x

  2. I am a huge Lucille Ball fan and I just adore her in all those dresses. Such an interesting post. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary, we just hit 11 years a week ago - it goes so fast!

  3. Thank you lovely ladies! She was stunning wasn't she - and funny, what a great combination. I would have love to have met her!


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