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Order Of The Wedding Day—For Sgt. Glenn Ford And His Bride

he stalwart young Marine Sergeant took the wedding band from the minister and held it poised at the tip of his bride-to-be’s slender finger. The minister, his lifelong friend, looked at him and said quietly:

“This ring is a complete circle, having no beginning and no end. It is like the love of God, which has no beginning and no end. Take this circle and place it on your bride’s finger as a symbol of the consummation of your love for her—unto eternity.”

Then the Reverend Ray Moore of the First Methodist Church of Santa Monica, California, turned to the bride who stood silent and intense and very beautiful, and handed her a duplicate of the golden band the Sergeant had just placed on her finger. He repeated the sacred words, and when they were finished, she, too, slipped a wedding ring on her bridegroom’s finger.

Thus, Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell became man and wife, “unto eternity.”

A burst of music and the congratulations from the small assemblage of loved ones in the flower-studded living room of the Powell home broke the tension that had prevailed throughout the ceremony.

“Only once before in my entire thirty-five years in the ministry,” the Reverend Ray Moore said afterward, “have I ever performed a ceremony where the strength of feeling between two people was so-marked. They never took their eyes from each other’s face. Their voices broke as they answered me and once I thought the bride would give way entirely.” He paused, seeing the picture again. “Standing there, so straight and tall and so deeply in love, they were a symbol of everything fine and good and clean in this world.”

Reverend Moore has known Glenn Ford almost all of his life. Most of the Ford family has belonged to his church. Five years ago he buried Glenn’s father, and before that his grandmother, who had been blind. So the good minister was, therefore, very happy when Glenn came and asked him to perform his marriage ceremony.

On Christmas Day, 1942, Glenn and Eleanor became engaged—but time went on and Dr. Moore had not been asked for his services. Glenn told him it was because of the war. He’d enlisted in the Marines—he didn’t know how soon he’d be sent across. Eleanor and he wanted an old-fashioned kind of wedding, Glenn said, and an old-fashioned kind of married life afterward, where Eleanor, who had worked so long and so hard, would retire from the screen and raise a family and run a happy home, and have a different kind of responsibility than she’d ever known.

And why, do you ask, had Eleanor and Glenn, who were going to wait for each other until peace reigned again in the world, changed their minds about marrying? It was a very simple and very human reason. Stationed not much more than a hundred miles from Beverly Hills, Glenn had found himself able to visit his girl every week end.

“I kept thinking how wonderful it would be if she were already my wife,” he said. “I’d expected to be shipped across long before, but as time went by and I wasn’t, I wanted so to hurry up and marry her before it was too late, that I even planned the date! If I didn’t go overseas before October rolled around. I’d ask her to forget our previous ideas about waiting until after the war and marry me then.”

Whereupon Glenn became the best-natured, most obliging and most well-behaved Marine in Camp Pendleton. He saw to it that there was no cause for his C.O. not to grant him his heart’s desire—a beautiful furlough for purposes of marriage and honeymooning.

October came, and Glenn, now a sergeant, was still stationed at Pendleton. “O. K. . . . I’m going to pop the question!” he determined—and Eleanor left town! With her long stint at the Metro studios over, she had gone to San Francisco for two weeks of personal appearances. So for two whole week ends he couldn’t see her. But when she got back, she found a young man bubbling with plans.

“Ellie,” he began elaborately, with a sidelong glance at the girl sitting beside him in the comfortable Powell library, “I have an idea.” Suddenly the tactical approach vanished in thin air and he blurted, “Will you marry me Saturday the twenty-third? Don’t you see, darling,” he charged on before she could interrupt, “we’ll have ten whole days for a honeymoon!”

Ellie couldn’t resist such a wonderful idea. “You know,” she said excitedly, “they tell me San Francisco is a fascinating place. I’ve never had time to find out. Wouldn’t it be grand for a honeymoon?”

Glenn will never forget how his bride looked. With all of ten frantic days to make wedding preparations, she marched to the altar in the most beautiful bridal gown, veil and flowers he’d ever seen. Practical Mrs. Ford-to-be had planned a simple, not-too-bridey affair which could be worn later at suitable occasions. But practical Mrs. Ford-to-be, or “Sentimental Susie” as she calls herself, went all out for the bride stuff!

Something old? “My shoes,” smiled Eleanor. “I bought them long ago for a very special routine.” Inside one of her slippers was a sixpence. “For more luck,” she laughed happily, “but I’m not superstitious!”

Something new? The beautiful satin dress, of course, with its row of tiny buttons marching down the back.

Something borrowed? The lovely handkerchief which her secretary and only bridal attendant had loaned her. “She carried it at her own wedding,” Eleanor said.

Something blue? The tiny four-leaf clover with one infinitesimal pink rosebud that the dressmaker had sewn inside the neckline of her dress.

The bridal bouquet was a surprise, planned and designed by Eleanor’s mother—a frothy dream of large, satin-bound white orchids, from which tumbled a snowy waterfall of baby orchids and tulle.

Those last few minutes before the ceremony, while the guests were assembling in the white fairyland of the living room below, Glenn spent in the front bedroom upstairs with his “best man and best friend” Ned Crawford. The bride sat in her own bedroom and chatted with her secretary-matron of honor. Both Ellie and Glenn, according to best man and matron of honor, talked sensibly, quietly and well. But neither Ellie nor Glenn, for all that, have the faintest idea of what they talked about.

The reception was very gay and very lively, and Sergeant and Mrs. Glenn Ford had a lovely time. There were the kisses and congratulations in the living room and then Glenn and Ellie, trailed by photographers, went to the dining room to cut the great white wedding cake, made for them by the chef of the Brown Derby and standing now on the lace-covered table surrounded by creamy gardenias.

“Put your hand over hers!” called Glenn’s mother as Eleanor and Glenn grasped the silver cutter.

“Yes’m,” said the groom dutifully—though he probably doesn’t remember ever saying it!

It was too happy a reception for Glenn and Ellie to remember anything special—except that they had a wonderful time. They had a wonderful time in San Francisco, too—making the rounds of the restaurants, storing up the memories that will mean so much to them when this war is over and they can settle down to that good, solid-oak domesticity they both want.

Until that time, however, there will be enough to keep them busy and passably happy. Ellie, who is already slated to make a big picture for another studio, will be occupied with her work. Glenn, waiting and hoping for his turn to be shipped across, will continue to do his best to honor the Marine uniform he wears so proudly.

And their week ends, when they are together, will be for them to spend planning and dreaming of their life together.