“If by some chance you find yourself loving me / We’ll find a cloud to hide us / We’ll keep the moon beside us / Love is waiting there in my beautiful balloon”

We here at Forgotten Stories always thought that weddings were fairly easy things to execute; pick out a dress, have some food delivered, find a handy string quartet or enterprising disc jockey, choose a church, and behold, a wedding. Never ones to obfuscate an error in judgment (perhaps because we make so few), our mental impression was corrected by a recent experience with our sister’s wedding. We stand corrected, and offer hearty congratulations to every bride not on her nuptials per se, but merely at having gone through such an arduous journey to get there in the first place. Congratulations are especially due to Miss Margaret Buckley, who on Thursday afternoon, September 27, 1888 saw fit to get married at the Rhode Island State Fair.

Miss Buckley would have no normal wedding. There was a trend in those days to avoid an insufferably tame wedding; folks got married in railway cars, while dancing, in caves, and on theater stages. Any odd location would do, so long as it got folks talking. Miss Buckley capped them all by getting married to Mr. Edward T. Davis, Shipping Clerk, in a balloon.

 

A section of the fairgrounds had been roped off, and inside a platform had been built and carpeted. The bridal party arrived in a new carriage, and the bride was admittedly splendid in a dress of white satin. After the Margaret and Edward were helped into the balloon car, Reverend E.D. Hall performed the Episcopal marriage ceremony. Immediately after the groom planted a healthy kiss on the newly minted Mrs. Davis, the balloon was let loose to the cheers of 40,000 fairgoers.

At 4 p.m., it disappeared somewhere to the northwest, coming to rest hours later in a cedar swamp outside of Easton, Massachusetts, Mr. and Mrs. Davis barely escaping a good soaking in swamp water. Eventually rescued, travel for the rest of their honeymoon was by rail.

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