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Monday, October 14, 2013

Looking at wedding magazines......

has a way of making me feel rather sick. You might be surprised at that statement, but somehow the methodology of modern marital preparations strikes me as being so over-the-top, extravagant, complicated, catty, worldly, and, to put it bluntly, sexually oriented. All these adjectives I have a deep loathing for, so I am naturally repulsed by the array of flashy catch items meant to make a solemn covenant of life-long fidelity into some sort of wild orgy.

    For example, the styles of the day seem to dictate that wearing the most revealing thing possible on your wedding day is a way of showing the world what you used to hook your man! It's stupid and disturbing. Who would ever want to indicate that to begin with? And why would the guy ever let his bride be seen like that in public on their first day of wedded bliss? You wouldn't catch me that scantily dressed ever -- and I mean ever -- for anyone, and that includes my husband! It's lowering one's dignity to flaunt one's body that way. As a Child of God and a human being, I'm confident I'm worth more.

    Then there's the issue of atmosphere. Yes, let's get married in the Galapagos Islands by a ukulele player surrounded by native island dancers and have a pig roast! No, let's get married in the arctic by an Eskimo encircled by penguins doing the hoky-poky! No, let's hang ourselves upside down at Blarney Castle so we can recite our vows to a wandering Leprechaun......!!! Give me a break! Has everyone forgotten the charm of normality found in a church building with a man of the cloth pronouncing the couple man and wife? And the honeymoon advertisements are just as bad. It seems as if everyone wants to go on the most expensive, opulent, stuffy escape ever taken by man (and wife, for that matter). And much of the appeal said to be found on the cruises and tours is that they are somehow "sexy." It's beyond me.

    Furthermore, I hate to say it, but there are some traditional marriage customs that I find distasteful. For example, the bride having to walk up the aisle like a lamb being led to the slaughter with everyone gawking at her. Her father having to "giver her away" to an awkward groom, making it look almost as if the daughter is being disowned. The dizzying panoply of maids and grooms. Too many guests from one's past life that could count for as many past lives as belong to a cat. The dramatic entrance of the bride and groom at the reception. The big-deal-super-pressure dance they have to do. The generally over-elaborate food that looks "elegant" but sometimes tastes lousy. The frilly-and-fluffy outfits that are suffocating and easy to trip over. You get my point.

    So here's how I'd like to be married. (No rumors; this is all hypothetical!):

    Naturally, I'll be getting married in a Catholic church somewhere on the planet, although I can't foresee where, with a priest scheduled to perform the ceremony. I'd like to wear a fancy blouse with ruffles at the sleeves, a dress-belt, a long, swooshy skirt, and boots. Yes, you heard me right, boots. Simple lace veil. Simple bouquet, of which I'd like daisies and Black-eyed Susans to be a part. I'd like to take a seat in the front pew with my husband-to-be early, before everyone else arrives so there is no "big entry" involved. Our families can sit in the front pew across from us. When the time comes for the official ceremony, we just step up to the altar with no fuss involved and do what we’re there to do. Then we return to our pew like normal human beings afterwards. One Maid of Honor is all I'll need, which will naturally be Emerald (yes, she does prove difficult at times, but I couldn't really do without her on my wedding day, now could I? ;-)

    For the guests, at least on my end, it would just be my parents and personal friends who could make it out to wherever I was getting hitched. Sadly, that probably will make it difficult for most of them, since my contacts are so wide-spread, from my home in the Penn-Mar Borderlands to Alabama to Missouri to Texas to Canada to Britain and beyond! However, if I marry a prince or an oil tycoon, I'll be sure to send all of my intimates plane tickets! Even if they all did make it, that still would only be around 15 or 20 -- far less than even the bare minimum of Uncle Harrys and Aunt Ednas most people are obliged to invite to their wedding!

    As for a party, a friendly reception in which everyone (including bride and groom) arrives at the same time would be delightful. As for dancing, keep it limited. If anything, maybe a bit of folk-style dancing just for fun. In the area of food, I'd actually like to make it. My idea of a good meal is an assortment of pasta dishes and salads, as well as some chicken and potatoes to supplement. Buttered breads, crackers, and cheese balls can cover the rest. As for cake, please no five tear monstrosity decorated to look like a dress or something!

   I would suggest one normal size cake (Angel Food, carrot, German Chocolate, cheese....?) and some smaller desserts to supplement (pastries, like ├ęclairs, or maybe some type of pie......coconut custard, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry.....?).  And please no drinking -- I've witnessed weddings that go terribly awry due to that! Fruit punch or lemon water should be sufficient. If anyone feels the need to get themselves worked up into a state of sloppiness, let them do so after they leave the wedding.One traditional marriage custom I do appreciate is the exchanging of Welsh Love Spoons. I find them beautifully crafted and a simple yet unique manner of plighting one’s troth.

    As far as any trip, just as a wish list thing, whether I'm married or not, Britain will always hold pride of place, but that's just a wish. Failing that, I'll settle for the Historic Triangle down in Virginia as a nice Honeymooning vacation. Or maybe somewhere in Canada. I've always wanted to see St. John's. It all really depends on how things unfold. The one thing I know I won't be going for is some sort of atmospheric sense of "sexiness."

    So, those are my thoughts on weddings and my own hypothetical one somewhere in the misty future --- I hope! How about the rest of you? If you're single, what kind of wedding would you like to have? If you're married, how were you married?

A Welsh Love Spoon -- Now there's a custom I like!


Check out my family's band, BlessTree, on BandCamp for music clips and price listings:


  1. Well and truly said, Most Excellent Pearl!

    If my brilliant and beautiful daughter ever marries, I will encourage her to process down the aisle alone. The day is hers. Besides, I'd feel plumb silly.

    Oh, and, please God, the wedding will be in her parish church, where she grew up.

    One of the most beautiful weddings I've ever attended was beautiful in its simplicity -- the young bride wore a simple, pale yellow dress with flowers from her family's farm fields in her hair. The groom, a law student, wore a nice suit. The reception was at the bride's family home. With the money not spent on idle, transient show the parents were able to send the couple on honeymoon to Santiago de Compostella. - very Catholic all 'round!

    Again, thanks.

  2. CrusadingMedievalistOctober 14, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Great post, Pearl! (First one I've commented on, though I've read your blog for a while.) I agree with all you've said on the hype of weddings. Sometimes I think that brides think more about the wedding than about the marriage! And I love the idea of folk dancing for fun. If you want to see a good wedding, go back and read about European folk traditions. I especially love the Hungarian ones.

  3. Hey, there!

    @Mack: That home-spun and very Catholic wedding you attended sounds like it was a truly happy and holy invent, in the spirit of the moment, not bogged down by stupid superficiality. BTW, how old is your daughter? I hope you will someday get to witness her marriage to wonderful husband!

    @CrusadingMedievalist: Thank you for reading and commenting! It's always nice to meet my readers for the first time ;-) Sadly, sometimes its both brides and grooms who have their mind on all the wrong things at the most important moment in their lives. I will definitely check out the Hungarian wedding customs; thanks for the tip! I'm particularly partial to Scottish ones myself. What's your cultural background?


  4. Ooh, ooh! Can I pick my own dress? 'Cause I have one that I've been saving for a special occasion, black bodice and burgundy skirt decorated with black roses--just make sure you schedule the wedding for the fall or winter because it's a warm dress. Aw, heck, even if you get married in July, I'd probably wear it.

  5. Yes, yes, you can pick your own attire, Emerald! And the coloration of that special occasion dress (with black roses, no less!) sounds like it would fit you to a tee. I'll do my best to accomodate you on wedding season, but no promises.....I've always been partial to summer, and you may just have to bring along one of those mini pen-fan-water-spray-gizmos to keep yourself from fainting! ;-)

  6. Hi Pearl!

    Interesting post! I agree, many weddings today seem...a tad overblown;-)!

    Still, a wedding can be a chance for the bride and groom to express themselves through various traditions/music/themes incorporated into the ceremony itself and the reception afterwards. It can be a day of fun and celebration, surrounded by loved ones from both sides. It can be put on both tastefully and creatively.

    Your plans for your own future wedding sound lovely and refreshingly simple- perfect if thats what both you and your(future) betrothed truly want!(Just promise me you'll send me a picture afterwards if I can't make it, okay?;-)

    Your Friend,

  7. What a happy web site / 'blog / metaphorical commons!

  8. @Meredith: Indeed, weddings definitely can be opportunities for unique creativity! Unfortunately, it seems that some couples are under the assumption that it will be the only time when they will ever be able to exercise their full-blown creativity, and go totally bananas on the event! Maybe they should throw a few more parties over the course of their married lives and get it out a little at a time.....;-)

    I do so hope you'll be able to be among my wedding guests! Presuming we're both still roughly in the same area as we are now, you might be one of the few who would be able to make it. Just don't drift back to Kansas with the tumbleweed, please.....;-) So what sorts of things would you like to do when you get married?

    @Mack: I'm glad our spirit of communal blogging and like-minded exchange has left you with a sense of euphoria! And do expect to be asked to write a poem in the even I should be wed in honor of the occasion....LOL!

  9. I find this very interesting---I think that your idea of a wedding sounds very fun and simple. I however think that wedding traditions are an important part of the ceremony. For example, the bride being given away by her father is a sign of the importance of family, and of the father' role as head of the home. Yes, it's a vestige of when women were considered property and the groom was basically buying the girl, but in my family the father's consent is almost as important as the future bride's.
    I absolutely love weddings in general, and I also love parties, so at my hypothetical wedding you may expect:
    -big Church ceremony, maybe Tridentine Mass, a bunch of bridesmaids wearing green, gold, or purple (can't decide!!!) and several concelebrating priests (I'm hoping the priest who married my parents will still be available)
    -fancy dress (probably altering my mom's)--I LOVE FORMAL GOWNS!
    -Very big guest list (weddings are a huge thing in my extended family)
    -Big reception outside, with live band until 11 or so and then a DJ...dancing all night or until everyone's asleep
    --And yes, there will be drinks. I can't imagine a wedding in my extended family (Irish/German) without them.

    So, I suppose our weddings differ greatly, but I find the contrast an amusing example of our personalities.

  10. Haha--no, don't worry about my drifting back to Kansas with the
    tumbleweed...believe me, my family has no plans to do so!:-)
    I'm really not the type of girl who spends a lot of time planning her future wedding; but if I were about to get married, I think that a garden would be my top choice for location. I love the simple beauty of flowers and herbs, and getting married surrounded by them sounds heavenly.
    As for month, I'd say October- but that unfortunately means that very few flowers would actually be in bloom at the time. So maybe May:-)
    As for the dress, I'd probably want a white beaded dress with a delicate veil- and my bridesmaids would probably be clothed in sea green dresses with flowers in their hair. Plus, I'd add a few bouquets of lavender to go around.
    Music would probably consist of a few musicians playing songs, including some from my favorite movies(think Phantom of the Opera and Lord of the Rings:-). And, like Carolyn, the ceremony itself would include a trip down the aisle on my father's arm.
    The reception...well, fun activities for everyone, depending on the weather/ season(I'd love to have hay rides/ apple bobbing if its in October), though preferably no dancing.(I know, I'd rather not go through that awkward"first dance'" either;-) And plenty of creative decorations/ favors/ desserts. Maybe cakes and cookies, etc., though probably not a full meal. And no drinks(which really shouldn't be a problem, as no one in my family/friends circle really drinks anyway!). Maybe iced tea, coffee, apple cider, and lemonade.
    --And of course, whatever my intended would like to throw into the mix would be fine, too. Just hopefully not the dancing part;-)--

    Lastly, most of my friends(including you) will hopefully be invited--I don't want a LOT of guests, but I'd still love to have all of my family/ relations/ acquaintances around on the big day...meaning that once you factor in the groom's side, there might be about 100 or so guests.

    So there you have a rough idea of what I'd like at my future hypothetical wedding...its funny how our wedding plans compare/ contrast:-) You'd prefer a simpler wedding- I'm somewhere in the middle between simple and elaborate! I do hope that we will both be a able to witness each other's weddings, though--providing we were to both get married:-)

  11. Hi Pearl,

    Sorry for not commenting here for some time but this post certainly deserves some very positive comments. I found myself nodding in agreement with so much of what you've written here as I read through your post.

    Yes - brides can look very attractive without wearing outfits that reveal almost everything! And why not be married wearing an outfit that can be worn again in the future? A far better use of money. I always remember a wedding I conducted in England some years ago, between an Englishman & his Czech bride :-) The bride wore a smart matching white jacket & skirt which looked very nice, but could easily be worn on many future occasions. I often joke that this was the first bride, whose wedding I've conducted, who wore a mini skirt. But in reality, her skirt finished only a short distance above her knees & looked attractive without being overly revealing.

    I am 100% with you about weddings taking place in Churches or Chapels - buildings that have been set aside for use for Christian worship. If a couple want a marriage ceremony conducted by a Christian priest/minister/pastor, then it should take place within a building used for Christian worship. If they want a wedding under the trees or on the beach, then have a civil ceremony in which God gets no mention.

    I'm also 100% with you on issues of scale. In my experience, weddings with 30-50 guests present, are usually much more intimate & enjoyable than those with 100+ guests.

    How the wedding ceremony begins should be entirely in the hands of the couple. Here in the Czech Republic, the bride is often escorted up the aisle by both the father & the mother. Far more gender inclusive :-) But the couple coming into Church together, or being already seated at the front & then stepping out to stand before the priest, are both perfectly acceptable practices as far as I'm concerned.

    I also agree with you about the number of attendants. A best man + one bridesmaid is fine. In turn, these two can then be the witnesses who sign the appropriate legal paperwork. But an abundance of bridesmaids or groomsmen, is unnecessary! I have a particular aversion to dressing up children under five years of age, in uncomfortable outfits which only make them irritable!

    A great post Pearl! May the God-given man for you, become part of your life at the appropriate time in the coming years.