I could see it was a wedding photo and I recognized my grandparents Annie Jantz and Peter Schmidt as the couple in the back row third and fourth from the left. I wondered who the bridal couple was. It looked to me like perhaps the eight couples posing with the bride and groom might have been servers for the wedding meal because the women were all wearing aprons.
I figured the photo must have been taken in Drake, Saskatchewan less than a decade after my grandparents’ families had immigrated there from Kansas. I sent the photo to my second cousin who grew up in Drake and she was able to contact other former Drake residents who helped identify the people in the photo.
The bride and groom were Amanda Bartel and John Ediger who married on April 8, 1915. Sadly the bride Amanda who was 29 years old when she married would die only three years later during the Spanish flu epidemic. The epidemic began in February of 1918 and Amanda died in November of that year. The fall of 1918 is described by historians as “especially cruel” when it came to pandemic deaths. Amanda and John had one son Roland in 1916 before Amanda passed away.
My grandparents were not related to the bride and groom but will have been their friends.
The couples in the photo were indeed servers at their wedding. I was told that it was always exciting to be selected as a wedding server because you wondered which man or woman the bridal couple would pair you up with to form a serving team.
My grandparents were married in January of 1917 so they may have already been dating at the time of the wedding. Perhaps their interest in one another was even sparked by their assigned pairing as a serving couple at the wedding. Is that why my Grandma Annie kept this photo for the rest of her life?