Thursday, December 13, 2012

Theme Thursday--The Wedding Story




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.
 
Speaking of dresses, it was my original intention to do what my bridesmaids did, and purchase a dressy off the rack outfit.  Then my mother in law suggested I might wear her wedding dress, which had been sewn by her now deceased mother. Not many brides wear the groom's mother's gown, but I knew my mom's would never fit, it was a lovely dress, and it would please both the groom and his mom to feel grandma was part of the wedding.  An extremely talented costume designer friend altered the dress. (One advantage of being Theatre and Music majors was that we knew a lot of creative people. This came in handy a number of times during the event.)


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. 



This piece was written as part of Theme Thursday, a group of writers blogging on a weekly topic.  For more information click on the button below.



24 comments:

  1. That's so much more meaningful, to have a wedding that everyone contributed to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenn,it does seem to a happy memory for everyone.

      Delete
  2. Love the claddagh rings and all the personal touches.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you...claddaughs were much harder to find than now...but we were visiting family in the DC area and found an import shop in Alexandria that had them. Lots of people have them now.

      Delete
  3. I love the idea of the Claddaugh rings too. I'm happy that I was there for your special day! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having you turn up so luckily and unexpectedly was one of those bits of serendipity that made that day so magical.

      Delete
  4. Falling in love with your best friend and roommate is absolutely romantic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We know that but teenagers don't.

      Delete
  5. I find the whole thing very romantic. Love doesn't require big shows, lots of money or huge, glorious events. Less is often more.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That sounds lovely, and romantic. what ppl consider romance is overrated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was what suited us,at least. I have seen some lovely couples throw big weddings and huge parties and it was right for them. But it wasn't our style.

      Delete
  7. That is so sweet! How amazing that you had friends and family with various talents to help out. That's awesome!
    What a nice romantic memory. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love your post I think because I always like hearing love stories. Wishing you many more years of happiness together! Def enjoyed your posting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you...it will be 25 years next summer...ups and downs, but still here together.

      Delete
  9. This is such a fantastic story! I love it! Thanks for linking up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the opportunity. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  10. Right on! I love, love, love practical weddings. Credit card debt and obsession with the creation of a "fairy tale" this or that is not the best way to start a marriage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Larks, I can't understand people putting their weddings off for years just to save money for the party either. I say have the bash you can afford and get on with life.

      Delete
  11. I love this. :)

    My ex-marriage had a $15,000 wedding. I don't remember most of it because I was so stressed the whole time hoping it would all be perfect. I promised myself the next one (if it happened) would be without fanfare but even more romantic.

    Thank you for sharing your memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Corinne, glad you enjoyed it. I have heard so many people say the same thing that you did.

      Delete
  12. That sounds absolutely lovely and so meaningful, because you had so many personal touches! Your poor kids, though. Not getting to experience divorced parents--geez ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like we set out to ruin their lives by getting married before thet wete born and staying that way.

      Delete