When our kids aren't lamenting the fact that they are the only kids they know whose parents were married before they were born, and have the same last name as all of their siblings, they mock us for our unromantic courtship. The truth is we got engaged in a parking lot. Or rather we were walking through a parking lot when we decided we would get married.
We had started out as roommates in the last 2 years in college; and then, as we began to consider life beyond college, realized we were perfectly happy with the household we had created and wanted to make it permanent. We had a lengthy discussion of this one May afternoon while walking home from classes, and had just reached the parking lot on the corner of our street when we decided that we would indeed get married. Hopelessly unromantic.
Although it was true we were about to obtain degrees, it was also true that my degree was in theatre and his was in music and that between us we had 2 part time jobs, mine in the recreation bureau entertaining kids after school and on vacations; and his as a church choir director. Moreover our parents were not in a position to help us out much financially. We knew everything had to be done as inexpensively as possible.
We decided to get married at the church my husband worked at and have our reception in the church social hall. No one had ever asked to use the small hall for a reception before, so we weren't charged anything for it, and in fact they painted it just before the reception.
We always deplored wedding that put the attendants at huge expense for rentals or expensive dresses they could never wear again, so we were determined to avoid it at ours. As a musician my husband already owned a black tux that he would wear. We polled our groomsmen and learned they all owned grey suits, so grey it was. I had my matron of honor and 3 bridesmaids sit down with a Penney's catalog and choose a dress that would work with their figures and their budgets. The pretty pink summer dresses we found cost them 39.95 each, and each lady wore her dress at least once for another occasion. I am very proud of that.
|Here is everybody in their perfectly nice grey suits and pink catalog dresses.|
We knew 2 of the biggest expenses at a wedding were alcohol and music. Since neither of us dance, (nor would there have been room in the social hall had we chosen to) we created our own mixtape of favorite songs that played at the reception. The church didn't actually forbid alcohol at social events, but we decided to keep it to a couple of bottles of champagne, enough for everyone to toast the bride and groom. I don't think anyone missed the booze or the band. We didn't hire a photographer either, but relied on the talents of our many friends with cameras. Some of their handiwork you see displayed here.
Our parents couldn't afford to help us out much, but my mother in law purchased all the food for the rehearsal dinner, which she and my future husband spent several weeks preparing and precooking so everything could just be warmed (if needed) and served that night. My parents purchased a ham and sandwich fixings for the wedding, family members cooked other dishes, and the ladies of the choir were kind enough to take care of decorating the tables and putting out the food. Our cake was done by a member of the church who was just getting into cake decorating. She charged us 75.00, it looked lovely and tasted better.
|Here we are with the amazing cake.|
As for the rest...the groom made the baskets of flowers that the bridesmaids carried,the hairpieces they wore and the basket of mini roses that I had in place of a bouquet. (this was one place we went wrong....I wanted to carry shamrocks, but no one has them in July. If you want shamrocks for a summer wedding better raise your own in advance.) Our sterling silver Claddaugh rings came from an Irish import shop. They cost 25.00 apiece which means they are currently averaging out to 1.00 per year. All of the music in the church was written by the groom, and played by one of our college friends who was a piano major.
We put it all together for about 1000.00 in the space of 10 weeks. (And case you were wondering what I might wonder if I read this, our first child didn't arrive for another 7 years.)
It all turned out lovely. It was very hot that summer of '88, one of the worst droughts of the century. We were ha In fact many of our friends, like ourselves, had either recently graduated or would soon do so, and the wedding was one of the last big get togethers amongst our friends, before everyone scattered for adulthood and the real world.
I am not knocking those who want, and can afford a huge wedding, or those who want to have 2 years between the engagement and the big event. But it wasn't right for us. We had just done 6 plus years of college each, and were ready to get on with life together, and celebrating that with family and friends.
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