Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Vintage Bride: Suzanne Holman Farrington

Wedding bells rang for Suzanne Holman, the only child of Vivien Leigh and her first husband, Leigh Holman, on Friday, December 6th, 1957. The lucky groom was Robin Farrington, a 29 year old insurance executive. 

The couple, reunited after Suzanne's vacation with her parents, discuss engagement rings.
Robin, on meeting Vivien Leigh for the first time, said,  "I was very nervous, and as she came into the drawing room I walked forward to shake her hand. Unfortunately, the cat inserted itself onto my toe and I have never done such a good rugger conversion. The cat flew across the room. It was a very bad beginning."

Suzanne and Robin's wedding invitation. Photo courtesy of Kendra Bean at VivandLarry.com

Hundreds of wedding invitations were sent out to family, friends and colleagues. The invites read:
Mr. Leigh Holman and Lady Olivier request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter Suzanne Mary Holman to Mr. Robin Neville Farrington, at Holy Trinity, Brompton, on Friday, December 6th at 3pm and afterward at [the Hyde Park Hotel for the reception].

Recipients were asked to RSVP to Lady Olivier at her Lowndes Cottage, in London.

Suzanne arrives at Holy Trinity
The wedding took place at Holy Trinity, Brompton, in London. Suzanne arrived with her father, Mr. Leigh Holman, while Vivien arrived separately with Sir Laurence Olivier.


The bride wore a long-sleeved, chapel train wedding gown, with a slight V-neck. The dress featured bows on both the right and left sides. Her short, curly hair was topped with a small circular crown, trimmed in white flowers with a long veil attached. Suzanne's father walked her down the aisle as 500 wedding guests looked on; the bride's face covered by her veil.

Mr. and Mrs. Robin Farrington
Suzanne carried a cascading bouquet and what appears to be a small bible during the ceremony.

The Happy Bride
After the wedding, guests were invited to attend the reception at the Hyde Park Hotel. Since this was an afternoon wedding, only champagne was served at the reception, and of course, wedding cake.

Vivien Leigh with her first husband, Leigh Holman
Vivien wore a leopard patterned, hand painted, silk coat topped with a fur scarf, which one newspaper said put all the mink coats and smart costumes in the shade. The gentlemen were dressed in similar suits with striped pants, light colored vests and dark jackets.

First couple unknown (probably relatives of the Holmans or Farringtons), Leigh Holman, Vivien Leigh, Gertrude and Ernest Hartley and partial side view of Laurence Olivier
The newspaper reporters made quite a fuss over the fact that Sir Laurence attended. At the reception, Olivier stayed in the background and was quoted as saying, "I'm staying out of the limelight on this occasion. This is Suzanne's day. She and her mother and her father are what you might call ' on-stage.' I'm just taking it quietly in the wings."

Suzanne and Vivien at the wedding reception
Suzanne was quite happy that Sir Larry attended, "I'm so glad that both my father and stepfather came. I don't find it at all unusual, just very good fun."

Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh
Suzanne and Robin enjoyed a long union and remained married until Robin's death in June, 2002, leaving Suzanne a widow. Together, they raised three sons and were grandparents many times over.

 

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