Looking back: Wedding ceremonies and celebrations of the past

Published 10:26 pm Thursday, January 2, 2020

By Linda Evenson

Photos courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum


One hundred years ago, 344 marriage licenses were granted at the Freeborn County Clerk of Court’s office. At that time, it was the largest number of licenses issued in the county’s history. Twenty years earlier, in 1900, 190 marriage licenses were issued. During the first few decades of the 20th century, Albert Lea and Freeborn County witnessed hundreds of wedding ceremonies. Many occurred on a weekday evening at a church, parsonage or parental home.

It was common for wedding receptions to be held at the home of the parents. The celebrations ranged from quiet private gatherings to large events. In 1920, an Albert Lea couple followed their Wednesday morning marriage ceremony with a four-course wedding breakfast at the home of the bride’s parents. Another couple’s wedding on June 30, 1920, required a change of location. The previous day, the bride underwent an appendectomy and was confined to the hospital. Undaunted, the couple preceded with their plans. It was the first wedding ceremony performed at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea.