Due to a twist of fate, Priscilla White almost overnight received a new stage name when the music paper the ‘Mersey Beat’ misprinted her name as Cilla Black, a name that she favoured and happily kept. It wasn’t long before Cilla came to the attention of Brian Epstein, a local talent scout and manager of The Beatles and he effortlessly convinced George Martin, the renowned producer of Matt Monro, Shirley Bassey and The Beatles, that she was worthy of signing to Parlophone Records.
She met Bobby Willis, at 17 when he worked in the bakery department of Woolworths – she had aspirations as a singer and he wanted to be her manager and they fell in love. After the untimely death of Brian Epstein, Willis took over her management duties and over the next thirty years, developed her popularity with television family audiences, helping Black to become the highest-paid female presenter on television.
Cilla married Bobby in a civil ceremony at Marylebone Register Office in London wearing a crimson red velvet smocked mini dress on the 25th January 1969. Popular Sixties designer John Bates created the red velvet wedding dress that Cilla Black wore teamed with white tights, white low heels shoes and a bright Poppy bouquet.
For wedding day number two three months later in Liverpool, she then donned a white mini dress trimmed with Ostrich feathers at the neck and cuffs and white knee high boots for their Roman Catholic ceremony at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Woolton. No celebrites were invited, just close friends and family. However hundreds of fans turned out to see Cilla and Bobby arrive at both the church and the Champagne reception at the Adelphi Hotel, one of Liverpool’s largest hotels. In Cillas words it was “really smashing!”
We love this super short swinging sixties space age dress especially when teamed with the red velvet bridesmaids dresses with similar Poppy bouquets to the dress and flowers she had in London.
Cilla was married to Bobby for more than 30 years until his death from lung cancer in 1999. They had three sons: Robert, Ben and Jack. Their daughter, Ellen born in 1975, tragically only lived for 2 hours.
Do you have any favourite celebrity weddings you’d love to see in this blog? Let us know.
Are you going to be a vintage bride soon? Need some vintage wedding ideas? Come visit our vintage wedding fair in Chiswick, London on 9th November and find everything you need for your big day. For more details check the website – www.vintageweddingfair.co.uk.