• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Yours, ours and mine

Since my husband and I were married on a March Saturday all those many years ago, I tend to think of weddings every year when the month rolls around again. It ‘s one of the few things that make the month of March bearable, as about the only other things going for it are wind, slush and runny noses. When I think of weddings, though, I think of them as beginnings rather than the glorious result of months of planning and daunting expenses.
Oh, I’ve attended, and enjoyed the pageantry of, a good many pretty and well-planned weddings, and I admit I appreciated all the work that went into that one more or less perfect day, but sometimes I wonder if the wedding hasn’t been the real focus of the thing and the marriage just an incidental by-product. Our wedding was pretty simple and took only about five minutes of planning and another five minutes to get the job done. We were married in the living room of a Methodist minister in Minnesota, in a ceremony that did not include the word “obey.” Our witnesses were the minister’s wife and the cleaning lady. They had only about 20 minutes notice before we arrived, but they kindly put aside their Saturday chores to make time for us.
I must admit to dreaming of a big, fancy wedding with me in a white gown and veil and a bevy of girlfriends in lovely bridesmaid gowns, but it was the sort of dream little girls have after seeing Hollywood’s version on the silver screen. My older sister’s wedding was a small family affair at our church one weekday evening, and I didn’t really expect anything any more elaborate. It just wasn’t the kind of thing my family indulged in. So I didn’t object when my husband-to-be suggested we simply “go and get married” rather than opt for the big production. There was something secret and special about our wedding being a ritual for just the two of us. The intimacy made it truly “our” wedding and not just a big party during which we happened to get married.
As I said, I’ve attended a number of big weddings and one thing I’ve noticed is, even years later when the subject arises, the bride often refers to the event as “my wedding” rather then “our wedding.”
I find this somewhat disturbing.
Not only have I heard the bride make this peculiar statement, I’ve heard the bride’s parents and friends refer to it as “her’s” rather than “their’s” and one young husband even referred to his own wedding as “Patsy’s wedding.” (Patsy being his wife, of course.) All this was brought to my mind recently by a television commercial for a bridal shop where a woman extols the services of the shop by describing all the special help they provided for her own wedding. She mentions “my” gown, “my” bridesmaids gowns, and everything to make “my” wedding perfect. The closest she comes to acknowledging that there was a groom involved in this affair is to say that there were tuxes for “the men in my wedding.”
Up until the mid-1800s, weddings in this country were small family affairs, usually taking place in private homes. After, the trend toward church weddings and what were known as “white” weddings (formal affairs where the bride wore a white gown) became increasingly popular and more elaborate. The wedding reception evolved from the simple act of extending congratulations and giving gifts to the newlyweds after the ceremony, to a celebration involving music and dancing and simple refreshments, then to elaborate parties including feasts, professional entertainment and even gifts for all the guests. The legalities of a wedding are fairly simple and uncomplicated but most ceremonies depend also on the religion of the bride and groom, as well as local and family traditions.
Apparently, arising from this new, more elaborate wedding tradition came the phenomenon of “the wedding the bride’s mother never had.” Especially if the bride’s parents were footing the entire bill, the groom was seldom considered except as the necessary supporting actor in this pageant. On many cases it seems even the bride’s wishes gave way to her mother’s notion of the ideal wedding.
In today’s busy society, where both the bride and groom have careers and little spare time, it is often an outside professional who plans the wedding and makes all the arrangements. Bridal services and wedding planners handle most of the details and the bride and groom, because they are both earning, may pay for the wedding themselves. Somehow, we have gone from the intimate, home wedding of a century or two ago to a Chinese restaurant menu of one from column one and two from column two and anything not on the menu is extra.