The World’s First Radio Weddings – Part 2

In our program two weeks back, we presented the story of two radio weddings that were conducted live on early radio, one of which was considered at the time to be the very first on radio.

These two live wedding broadcasts were conducted over WSB in Atlanta Georgia, in the United States on June 19, 1923, and six months prior on December 8, 1922.

A few weeks earlier, in early November (1922), there was a previous radio wedding that was conducted at the Pittsburgh Electrical Show, and this was broadcast live over the well known early radio station KDKA.  The reason for conducting the wedding at the electrical show was so that it could be broadcast live over KDKA, thus indicating the immediacy of radio program broadcasting back then.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1902.
Library of Congress,

The groom at that early radio broadcast was Mr. George A. Carver of Swissvale (suburban Pittsburgh), the bride was Miss Bertha A. McMcMunn of Pitcairn (east of Pittsburgh), and the officiating minister was Pastor J. Hankey Colcaugh (Pittsburgh).  That unique wedding was conducted in a specially erected glass booth, a location in which several important show events were presented. 

That wedding was conducted during the evening of November 6 (1922) and it attracted so many attendees that five or six thousand people had to be turned away.  Next day, November 7, was Election Day, the voting day for the choice of a new president for the United States. 

Several of the leading KDKA and Westinghouse personnel participated in the wedding at the Pittsburgh Electrical Show.  Subsequently KDKA received many letters of appreciation both from attendees who witnessed the wedding in person, and from listeners who heard the event as it was broadcast on radio.

That wedding is sometimes listed as the first wedding presented live on radio.  It was not the first in the world with that honor, though it was indeed the first in the United States.

A 1922 wedding portrait of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles.
Public Domain

We come now to an even earlier radio wedding, and indeed that wedding has to be the very first that was broadcast live on radio.  The date for that wedding was February 28, 1922, and the event was broadcast live over the new Marconi radio station, 2MT in Writtle England.

The bride was the Princess Mary, who was the only daughter of His Majesty King George 5 and his wife Queen Mary of Teck, in Germany.  Princess Mary was born at Sandringham in England as the third of six royal children.  Two of her older brothers were subsequently enthroned; they were King Edward 8 (who abdicated in order to marry the wife of his choice) and King George 6 (who reigned during World War 2).

Princes Mary was 24 at the time of her wedding to the 39 year old Henry Lascelles, the 6th Earl of Harwood.  He was born in London.

The wedding of Princess Mary and Henry the Earl of Harwood was a grand international event that was conducted in Westminster Abbey, with 2,000 invited guests in attendance.  The events of the entire gala occasion were broadcast live over the very new Marconi station 2MT in Writtle, which had made its inaugural broadcast just two weeks earlier, on February 14 (1922).

History would indicate that the 2MT broadcast of the 1922 royal wedding between Princess Mary and Henry Lascelles was indeed the first wedding that was broadcast live on radio, back just one hundred years ago.  However, there was one even earlier wedding that was broadcast live, though the circumstances were very different.  That wedding, which took place two years earlier in 1920, might be described as a wireless wedding, and we will tell you about that very unusual wedding in a coming edition of Wavescan.

This feature was written by Adrian Peterson and originally aired on Adventist World Radio’s “Wavescan” DX program of March 6, 2022

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