(Closed) A humble union: A history of the at-home wedding

posted 4 years ago in Traditions
Post # 4
Member
1689 posts
Bumble bee

@sablemuse:  I have tremendous regard for those traditional, home-made weddings: I find them far more elegant, and more real, than the over-the-top extravaganzas that so many modern young women seem to assume is necessary or expected. I have noticed that my expectations, formed over more than half a century of watching the world go by, are often so completely unfamiliar to the various bees that I need to define basic terms when I try to participate in these discussions. And I do find myself want to stand up and shout “Cite! cite!” at so many proclaimations that this-or-that comes from such-and-such an ancient tradition, when the poster is describing something that hit the wedding scene in the last decade or so.

I do think that article suffers a little from the Wsame historical short-sightedness. While the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana was the first that let television cameras into Westminster Abbey for the ceremony proper, the wedding of Princess Elizabeth was more of an extravaganza; and I see more impact from her wedding on post-war wedding practices than from Charles’ and Diana’s (also her fashion sense is more lasting even if her delicate silk dress itself is not: her wedding dress is still considered a work of art in the fibre-arts world, while Diana’s puffiness is quite ridiculous to modern sensibilities). I remember being surprised at the simplicity of Diana’s wedding-party, compared to the present Queen’s bevy of eight white-clad young noblewomen, and her sister’s similarly-sized escort of little girls all in white. And both of them, of course, follow in the tradition of young Queen Victoria, the original “people’s princess” whose wedding was the first big celebrity wedding to be covered by the modern print press. Victoria’s wedding had a lasting effect on wedding fashions that we still see today, but outside of historical-anthropology circles, few people realize how much of that coverage was careful spin to meet political purposes, even in that day!

You mention people living together more now before marriage, and I suspect that is the primary social motivator for wedding-extravaganzas: in the days when a wedding rocked the couple’s lives to their foundations; changing their homes, their financial status, their social connections, their names, the very bed they slept in and their minute-to-minute access to privacy and companionship; there was no question in anyone’s mind that the wedding was significant. The ceremonies surrounding it were about easing the transition for everyone involved. Nowadays when for most couples all that changes is a legal distinction and even that distinction is blurred by domestic-partnership recognition in most juirisdictions, the only thing that makes a wedding significant is the over-the-top display and expense. Where the cliche used to be that a bride’s wedding was “the happiest day of her life”, I have recently seen brides unconsciously referring to their wedding-day as “the most expensive day of our lives,” in a poignant nod to how materialism has replaced the more visceral significance of the event.

Fortunately, there are still a few brides who, like you, seem to have their feet on the ground and their heads in the real world outside of checkout-stand gossip magazines. There’s hope for civilization after all :;-)

Post # 5
Member
3103 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

This is nice to think about. I actually hadn’t thought once about my parents’ wedding during this entire process.  They got married in my grandmother’s house. I’m told my great aunt literally brought a BUCKET of potato salad (lol). My Daddy wore a very dapper tuxedo with a dinner jacket (in broad daylight) and my mother wore a long-sleeved wedding dress with a delicate sweetheart neckline (in July). My grandfather (who traveled in from Canada to give my Mom away) looked proud as a peacock. My mother said that she had all her attendants wear some shade of pink or peach and they all looked beautiful! One of my aunts wore a white dress (the horror!) and nobody freaking cared. There was no string quartet, no celebrity caterer, no designer anything but everyone who remembers that day tells me that it was so full of love and happiness. Many of the people in this photo are no longer with us, so it just reminds of what’s really important!

And you know what I never really paid attention to before now, look how much TALLER she was than him!

 

 

Post # 6
Member
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - Bristol zoo

@aspasia475:  your comment was really interesting. Thank you for taking the time to write all that! I shall be looking out for your posts in the future 😀

Post # 9
Member
1161 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@sablemuse:  I love simple weddings, and I find myself more drawn to them than a lot of the more elaborate affairs I’ve seen. There’s just something charming about simplicity that makes me smile. Ours is definitely on the simple side, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Post # 10
Member
9226 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

My parents wedding was in my mothers hometown church and the reception in the church basement and all the church lady’s would cook the food.  She told me she spent $100 something on her dress and $200 on her hat (lol).  I had to look it up, $300 is equal to about $1,300 today so she spent as much as I did there!

That being said I’m not religious so I would never have my wedding in a church…so that idea goes out the window.  And I love a good party so I’m spending quite a bit more than my parents to have that typical modern wedding party atmosphere.

If my parents had the space for it I would have loved to have it at their house.  His family has the space but it is in the middle of nowhere.

Post # 11
Member
2055 posts
Buzzing bee

@aspasia475:  Holy smug hell, Batman.

I adore simple weddings, yes, but I also don’t need to bash those who choose to have more extravagant affairs in order to express my support for more “homegrown” weddings. Whether your wedding is a 600-person fête, a potluck dinner in a treehouse, or a minimalistic union with a bride, a groom, and a potato, it can be a genuine, joy-filled event.

Post # 13
Member
9226 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

@sablemuse:  I wish I had a picture online.  I’ll just say it looks like it’s at least 2 feet across.

Post # 14
Member
9553 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I have mixed emotions about this article.

I am a backyard bride. We are having the ceremony and reception in my dad’s backyard that backs up to a beautiful creek. I absolutely love the homey feel of gathering all our friends and family in our home. It feels more welcoming. I have a greater sense of community, which is really important to me. And I like the idea of being able to walk down the creek to our wedding site whenever we visit my dad.

It’s going to be a mixed bag of how “big and expensive” our wedding will be. On the one hand we’re going for a casual picnic kind of feel. We’ll have lawn games. We’re asking family and friends to make an assortment of desserts instead of a wedding cake. I’m encouraging people to dress casually. I found our photographer on Craigslist for $800.

But we’re definately not having a small wedding. We’re inviting 230 people. For us, it was very important that we get to spend the day surrounded by all our friends and family. We would rather get cheaper food and only serve beer and wine, rather than have to cut wonderful friends and family from our guest list. Those are our priorities.

There are times, like when I read that article, that I feel guilty for having such a large guest list. I think “I’m a horrible materialistic, consumer driven wedding industrial complex slave!” And maybe I am. But I’m not inviting all these people to show off for them. We’re having port-a-pots. This isn’t a showy wedding. I’m inviting these people because I genuinely want them to be with us on the day that we get married. Yes, there are a few people (8 to be specific) that we’re inviting because they’re close to my parents. But my parents have been a huge help in palanning everything, and we’re doing it at their house, so I thought that was only fair. And yes, there are some distant relatives that I don’t get to see very often – and I’m super pumped to have them there because I don’t get to see them very often. My fiance and I actually like our families and are excited to see them. I can’t wait to see friends who have moved away and I don’t get to see often.

I am one of those people who loves being surrounded by giant, crazy, fun grounps of family and friends. I cherish long term relationships – even if I don’t get to see people very often. I find it very fulfilling to belong to a community. And communities need times to gather to reestablish bonds. Whether that’s extended family or college friends or whatever. I have “wedding and funeral” family members that I’ve seen for the last 3 funerals, that I’d really like to see for a happy occasion.

So yes, I’m having a big wedding. And yes it’s going to cost a lot of money (although less than average). But I’m okay with that. Friends and family come to weddings to support the wedding and the marriage. And I figure we can use all the support we can get. So I try to remember why I’m having the wedding we’re having. I try to remember our priorities. Family. Friends. Community. I think those are worthy priorities.

Of note – it occurs to me that perhaps part of the reason wedding are getting bigger is simply because people get to know more people these days than they did 30 or 50 years ago. People (both men and women) are more likely to go to college. To move away for that college. To move away for a job. To move multiple time and have multple jobs. We’re much more transient. Which means we pick up more friends along the way. 

Post # 15
Member
3103 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@sablemuse:  Thanks! The lady in the hat is my paternal grandmother. She died a year or so after this photo was taken (the day after I was born). She named me on her deathbed. And apparently, I’m her spitting image! I never noticed how stylish she was in this pic (though she was extremely ill at this time). I really appreciate you pointing that out to me! It means a lot.

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