Irene Gillen to Albert E. Briede III
October 20, 1949
Irene Gillen was 16 when she was asked to go to Joy Nalty’s Sweet 16 party at the Patio Royal where Brennan’s is today, but she didn’t have an escort. Her mother and Albert’s mother were best friends, so they decided Irene and Albert would be perfect for each other. Irene was attending Sacred Heart and went on to date Albert for years. He was older and played professional baseball for the Pelican’s. Albert took Irene and her best friend to school every day, and one day he asked her best friend if she would get out of the car! Irene was shocked, but Albert surprised her with a ring and she said, “Yes!” Of course her best friend was delighted and the wedding plans began.
Irene’s mom planned the wedding at St. Anthony of Padua Church and the reception at The Orleans Club. Reith’s Florist was a family friend and Mr. Irwin was working there at the time; they hired him to create all of the flowers, even covering the whole railing at the church with beautiful bouquets of flowers.
The flowers for the bridesmaids were crafted by Mr. Irwin and the bride’s bouquet by Newsham’s Florist; it was a gift from Albert and was composed entirely of orchids.
The bridesmaid dresses and the wedding gown were made by Miss Landry – the dressmaker of the day.
The wedding was held at 11:00 a.m., and then guests were off to the Orleans Club.
The couple honeymooned in St. Louis, then Chicago and had planned to continue to Canada. They attended a convention and then to Marshall Field’s in Chicago, where they spent all of their money on incredible furniture, which they still have today! Of course, their plan to go to Canada was put off because they spent so much money in Chicago.
Albert has been a runner his whole life, and that the annual Al Briede Gold Cup Race was named in his honor. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious races, and it raises funds for a scholarship in their son’s honor for St. Stanislaus and the LA/SPCA.
Albert and Irene just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary and they’re still so happy. I guess those mothers had a great idea!