And now to my opinions about weddings. First off, I want to be on record as saying that each person’s wedding should be meaningful to her and her intended, no matter what other people—or convention—say. Gone are the days when weddings were pretty much alike except for the wording in the ceremony, depending on one’s faith—or lack of. I think this is partly because the world is smaller and we’re more aware of other customs than we used to be. And it could also be because of younger generations’ attempts to create new meaning for themselves by re-working old traditions. We tend to think of weddings as always having been the way they are now, but the truth is, they have changed over the years. For instance, it wasn’t until around the Civil War that it became popular in the U.S. for the bride to wear white. (Queen Victoria, however, is credited with starting that trend.)
My weddings were all basically traditional: in a church (not counting the ceremony in a field), with a minister from a mainline denomination, and with words that were only slightly different from ceremony to ceremony. (Strangely enough, the groom and I never opted for writing our own vows.) But they varied in size: one was in the presence of a large number of guests, one was without any guests at all, one was in front of family and close friends, and one was with only my children and grandson. (My parents were both deceased by then.) And they certainly varied in atmosphere. I’ve never experienced a full-blown, down-to-the smallest details wedding. For instance, I’ve never had favors for guests to take home. I never had a professional photographer. The groom never bought or rented a formal suit just for the wedding (nor did I ever buy a formal dress!). Only one of my weddings had a rehearsal dinner and only two had music. My father only gave me away once (which seems like quite enough). Anyway, you get the idea: I can’t compare my relatively simple weddings to the huge extravaganza that some of them become; I can only imagine. And what I imagine is horrifying.