May 3, 2013

The inside story on my big wedding

My wife provides the back story on why we had such a giant wedding reception in 1987:
Of course I learned about the indirect dowry idea from my mom, especially the part about guests being expected to match the dinner/venue price. But do you remember my dad's drunken justification for spending on a big wedding? (My mom had just raided one of their IRA's for our wedding and he needed a reason not to kill her over it.) 
He finally came up with this one -  
It was the father-of-the-bride's duty to provide plenty of witnesses to help the groom remember that he got married - so his son-in-law doesn't go out for a newspaper one day and forget to come back.


heartiste said...

as god is my witness...

The decline of belief in god among the big wedding SWPL crowd parallels the rise of ceremony ostentation and bloated guest lists. Connection?

Brasidas said...

At my own wedding I conspired with my father-in-law-to-be to cut out the middle man. He said his budget was x. Anything we spent over that we pair for. Anyhting less than that we got to keep. It was a small wedding, no fancy frills, and used the difference for a house down payment.

Dahlia said...

You can't say he was wrong! Thanks for sharing. You've got a lot of female readers who really like the personal stuff.
My husband is extreme about never discussing me at his work. I once got visited by the girlfriend of a coworker of his, over ten years ago, because she was sure he had to be abusing me since he had never brought up "Dahlia" or "my wife" in the two years he had been working there! I tried to explain, no, he wasn't beating me and there's this thing called "Aspergers".

Anonymous said...

The decline of belief in god among the big wedding SWPL crowd parallels the rise of ceremony ostentation and bloated guest lists. Connection?

SWPLs don't really have big or ostentatious weddings.

Bill said...

He finally came up with this one - It was the father-of-the-bride's duty to provide plenty of witnesses to help the groom remember that he got married - so his son-in-law doesn't go out for a newspaper one day and forget to come back.

Things have changed -- a lot.

A word of advice to guys with sons: do not assume they are the ones who need to "remember" today. Also, don't assume that witnesses mean anything to brides. At weddings, they are not "witnesses" in her mind so much as they are spectators.

Maya said...

Well, I see how that could work within a group of small villages. But in Chicago or LA?

Mr. Sailer, I assure you that you have a very good chance of stepping out for a pack of cigarettes and traveling unmolested for quite a distance. You might want to buy a wig and get a spray tan, just to be safe.

Anonymous said...

Right because only recently has there been "ceremony ostentation" and "bloated guest lists." Before the death of god all weddings were simple affairs. Has the sky fallen yet, Heartiste?

Robert Baldacci said...

A splendid backstory. And what a great (true) rationale for having MANY witnesses. Excelsior!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Steve's wedding but nothing really explains the big wedding phenomenon for me. Sorry but it sounds like a huge dreadful chore. It sounds like something from another planet, really. I have been married 37 years and the wedding was Justice of the Peace. It cost $25 and my husband gave the Justice two $20's and the guy kept the $15 balance! He thought it was a tip. We were so poor; it hurt to lose $15.

What explains girls agreeing to be bridesmaids? It can end up costing a small fortune. My daughter says it ruins friendships, too.

mark said...

I haven't seen it mentioned so I will. Smaller families, you can spend more money per kid because you have fewer kids. People are also going to fewer weddings involving their nieces and nephews because they have fewer nieces and nephews. Also, reality TV has changed people's reality is. My theories anyway.

Dahlia said...

There is a problem with many weddings today, but I don't think it's size.
I was recently looking at international wedding pics and happen to be a small-time collector of antique wedding objects and ephemera. By a long shot, cheap courthouse weddings with no pomp and which may or may not have guests are the farthest from the norm: today and in human history. There is nothing traditional about them.
Also, weddings are traditionally women's work. This trend where the groom should be involved is a bad development. (That's just part of a larger trend that says husbands and wives should do all the big things together, like childbirth.)

Anonymous said...

Weddings without any pretensions of lasting are ridiculous on their face. I thought we were all traditionalists in our hearts at Isteve and pretension with an actual lifelong promise is not pretentious at all.

Gigantic wedding ceremonies with no actual commitment are the jokes. That's why an actual embrace of lifelong monogamy can be celebrated extravagantly. Otherwise it's a farce.

Aside: My grandparents were married in Duluth, Minnesota in a bare bones ceremony and had 12 children combined with a 50 year marriage. An impossible dream these days.

Anonymous said...

Real fast Steve...

I'm the commentator that got the Wrath of Khan after her for telling how women think regarding weddings...

Don't Ever believe a woman who brags about how cheap she is or how cheap her wedding was.

False humility is more disgusting than someone like me. At least I admit I want the fancy dress and I think of creative ways to make it happen.

There have been many a late night phone call to this commentator by Those Very Same Women who brag about how thrifty they are during the daylight and the phone calls always go like this... "My wedding was nicer than HER wedding...RIGHT Right anonymous commentator?" and of course I say "Of course" and make up an imaginary list of why the wedding didn't suck.

Furthermore, I know the 50-70 year old women who brag about how cheap they are and all that...but I also know that in their darkest deepest souls They Aren't Really That Happy.

Believe these people not!! (And for the men who don't know what the cost of their wedding was...seriously? That's so irresponsible.)

Anonymous said...

I'm back to thinking about weddings again...

You know there comes a point in life when you do only live once. And it would be nice to have those memories and to provide an event that all generations of your family and your friends can attend and celebrate together.

I always get a kick out of meeting my friends great-grandparents and kinda being a part of their family for the entire day.

So yeah, you don't have to go all out where you go into debt or waste money needlessly.....But there is something to be said for having a nice wedding. If you can do it and not hurt yourself financially, I think it is completely worth it.

So there :)

Maya said...

"Don't Ever believe a woman who brags about how cheap she is or how cheap her wedding was."

Is it so hard to believe that some people have different priorities, and that not every woman is exactly the same? It's like saying that all women like chocolate, even those deathly allergic to it. Some of us are introverts who never look forward to large gatherings, dislike black tie events and feel nothing but stress when forced to consider a 1000 small details for a type of a party that we genuinely never enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Steve, what you had was a proto-quinceanera before anyone north of the Rio Bravo knew what one was, and after you were 15.

I salute your avant-garde spirit.

Anonymous said...

"At least I admit I want the fancy dress and I think of creative ways to make it happen. "

Plotting, conniving women after a wallet, just what every man dreams of.

If you ever meet a fool big enough to marry you, I pity the 30 months of hell you will put him through before the divorce.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I hate being the center of attention. It would be unbearable for me to have had a large wedding.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous commentator,

Honestly, I'd rather have a $5,000 engagement ring than a $50,000 wedding that nets $20,000 in cash gifts. I think the nice ring is more impressive to other women, too, and will be for many years.

Then if you have really nice parents who hand you the $30,000 saved, theres still $25,000 left and you could do a super $5,000 party for the 20 or 30 friends you really like and tell the guests "Your presence is the best present." And STILL have money left over.

alonzo portfolio said...

he had never brought up ... my wife.

At work, my Dad used to refer to my Mom as, "my big fat wife." When everyone met her, they were amazed she weighed 98 lbs. Captcha: 'constituent lawkidg'

Anonymous said...

Keira Knightly just got married in front of 11 people. I think she could have afforded more.

Some people are busy creating their memories in their lives, and don't need the overblown ceremony. When half the marriages end in divorce anyway, you're going to be editing those memories, physically and mentally.

Anonymous said...

Keira Knightly had several giant tents erected in her backyard of her French Estate and hundreds of guests.

Google It.

What you are referring to was her visiting the courthouse and skipping like a damn school girl to boot.

Enough with this B.S. you people.

It's all goody two shoes morally superior lies and I'm tired of it.

All I have to do is show you one website and all of you will apologize because you'll all go "Anonymous Commentator you are right...those are really nice weddings and there's nothing pretentious about them, they are just first rate class and held to impeccable standards"

This issue is so much bigger than weddings Steve. This is about Occupying Moral High Ground.

It's about everything from crappy gymnasium crappy crappy everything.

Being cheap is not a virtue. Being proud of your cheapness is not a virtue.

It's like those hipsters that are teaching their babies how to poop without diapers. They say its cuz it's cool but we all know why...its cuz they be poor and living in New York.

Everyone should be able to afford a nice wedding, Everyone should be dressing well in quality clothing, Churches should be built to last and not some oversized temporary garages, Things Should Matter.

The question isn't how we can all race to brag about how cheap we are...But how we can ensure the above.

"I'm happy with just the little I have."

Well I sure as hell am not. I didn't work hard to race to the bottom and not afford a nice goddamn dress for the most important day of my life.

And no one should have to coupon.

Another bigger issue...

You guys need to learn that to control society you need to control who is perceived as the upper class.

So yes displays of wealth and class do matter and should be strived for to a certain extent.

If you don't put your stamp on it, they will put theirs.

And that's why we see these preposterous big weddings. The Other has put Their Stamp On Our Tradition while you guys brag about 1000 dollar weddings.

Goodluck. Figure it out.