Monthly Archives: February 2021

Marriage celebrations – After the war

On the 30th of June 1919 Teresa Hulton married Thomas, the 8th Lord Berwick, at the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, the same church in which she had been christened and confirmed. Her sister, Gioconda, later attended the opening of a war memorial at the church. The church had been beautifully decorated by Sir Hubert Miller with flowers from Mrs Eden’s celebrated garden on the Giudecca. This photograph taken from the balcony of the Hulton family home shows the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

A photograph of the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo taken on the 21st April 1912 from the balcony of Teresa’s family home. NT 610177.99

The couple were married by the Reverend Canon Knollys, the British Chaplain at Florence. They had wanted to marry on the 28th of June but Canon Knollys could not be there that day. They had various problems in the run up to the wedding including being unsure whether they would be able to marry in Venice, a printers’ strike meaning the Hultons might have had to hand write invitations, and the dressmaker not finishing Teresa’s dress until shortly before the wedding.

Teresa commented to Lord Berwick: ‘It would certainly be nice if you wore your uniform, in any case I was going to suggest your bringing it as it might be useful when travelling, and it will be a fitting end to our war life, but please decide what is really most comfortable. I probably shall wear a night gown or some old rag as there is a dressmaker’s strike too!’  

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Teresa’s wedding dress shows fold creases in this photograph, suggesting that she was rushed in receiving it in time for the wedding!

Lord Berwick was 41 and Teresa was 28 when they married. Lord Berwick arranged a marriage settlement to Teresa of £88 per annum to provide for her.

The wedding day was beautifully described in an official report:

‘The bride, who looked very beautiful in a gown of silver brocade, simple and mediaeval in line, with a train of Brussels lace, which her mother and grandmother had worn on their wedding days, was given away by her father. Her sister, Miss Gioconda Hulton, attended her as bridesmaid, and she wore a pale grey satin dress embroidered in gold.


The orange blossom wedding wreath worn by Teresa for her wedding.

‘Mr Reginald Bridgeman acted as best man. Lord Berwick wore the uniform of Captain in the Shropshire Yeomanry. Many friends attended the wedding, including Mrs and Miss Gordon Watson.

Wedding day group photo HIGH RES

Left to right: Gioconda (Teresa’s sister), Reggie Bridgeman (best man), Canon Knollys, Teresa, Lord Berwick.

‘After the ceremony the bride and bridegroom were conveyed in Mr Spender’s splendidly appointed gondola to the Palazzo Contarini Dal Zaffo, the magnificent palace which Mr and Mrs Humphreys Johnstone had very kindly lent for the reception. The garden still preserves its original architectural features, being adorned with statues, urns, pleached alleys and arbours. It stands on the edge of the city, and from the garden one looks across the lagoon of Venice to the mainland.

‘The long procession of gondolas proceeding from the Church up the Grand Canal to the Palazzo Contarini, each propelled by two lusty gondoliers, presented a spectacle which will long remain in the memory of those who witnessed it. 

‘Among the very numerous wedding presents to the bride were:-  A diamond diadem (by Cartier) from the bridegroom; a diamond ring from The Hon. Mary Noel Hill; a turquoise and diamond ring from Lady D’Abernon; a string of pearls from the bride’s uncles and aunts; a ruby pendant from Mr Spence; a rope of seed pearls from Tenente Luigi Villari; a pair of silver Empire Candelabra from Count and Countess Carlo Brandolin; a Vernis-Martin box from Mr Reginald Temple; a dressing box from the Hon. Irene Lawley; a pair of silver candlesticks from the Marchesa Sommi Picenardi; Old Venetian glass decanters, glasses and tray from Mr Arthur Spender; a sapphire and diamond bracelet from Mr and Mrs Humphreys Johnstone; a jewelled brooch from Sir Hubert Miller and Miss Hastings.’

It seems that Teresa would have had more wedding gifts as Dino Spranger wrote afterwards: ‘Mr Sellequassi did not approve of the crown I had designed for you – it was a beautiful crown, I had got it from an old illustration of Grimm’s fairy tales + it would have suited you to a T. However, he objected saying it was no longer the fashion to wear crowns like that, + I had to bow to his superior knowledge. I trust he has not led me astray.’


Teresa evidently liked medieval style clothing, as is seen in this photograph of her in medieval fancy dress in the 1930s.

The wedding reception was held at the Palazzo Contarini Dal Zaffo because the Hulton family’s home in Venice was still not repaired adequately following bomb damage during the war.


The Hulton family home in Venice © Robin Fox 2016

Lord Berwick wrote to his aunt Ada that the ‘wedding was a v. great success,’ but unfortunately Teresa was suffering from one of her frequent headaches on her wedding day. Costanza wrote: ‘I felt SO SORRY for you on the day of the wedding, and it must have been very trying for you to have to give explanations.’ Ever worried about her daughter’s health she warned her, ‘Do take care of yourself about colds – especially now that you are going to live in England.’

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Teresa on her wedding day.

After the wedding, Costanza sent all the young girls who attended boxes of bonbons and orange blossoms from Teresa’s bouquet. Costanza also advised giving ‘a sum for the poor here. It is done for weddings as well as for funerals. If you don’t want to ask him, let me know and I will send something instead.’ The wedding was expensive for the family and Costanza comments: ‘on Thursday I again went to the Johnstones and Willy paid the bill – 1500 for dinner, party and big reception, including tips. I delighted Anne by telling her I thought it would be 2000.’


Lord and Lady Berwick pictured on their honeymoon in July 1919

On their honeymoon Teresa and Tom journeyed through Switzerland where they went on motor trips and picnicked in the countryside. Much of their honeymoon was spent at Lake Garda.

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Teresa on her honeymoon and her new husband visiting some of the nurses she worked with during the war.

Unfortunately the political situation was far from serene. Tom wrote from Lake Garda to his Aunt Ada: ‘There is much talk of the coming revolution in Italy. Certainly things are very bad here. There have been riots in nearly all the big towns and private houses have been looted in Florence.’

Teresa bought this grey embroidered hat in Florence in 1919.


Teresa’s grey embroidered hat bought in Florence in 1919

On their way to Shropshire the couple stayed in Paris. Costanza advised them to attend to adjustments to the diadem that Lord Berwick had given Teresa:

‘you must take your diadem to Cartier and show him that it does not fit well when worn on the forehead. I am sure he ought to take out a diamond on each side of the upper band and shorten it that much or even more. If it is already paid for, keep those extra diamonds, but if not, they ought to be reckoned in the price. Do tell me what Tom paid for it – I guessed about 80,000 Francs.’

Lady Helen D’Abernon gives a lovely glimpse of Lord and Lady Berwick in Paris at the Ritz in early September 1919: ‘from their aspect & from a tiny talk with Teresa, I gathered a very happy impression of mutual devotion & understanding & content. I never saw T. look handsomer – you know she has a striking resemblance to some of the early representations of Pallas Athenethe Greek goddess of wisdom.


Teresa pictured in The Tatler in 1921.