March 27, 2009

If you were getting married, would you want a wedding?

If you had a wedding in the past, do you wish you'd skipped it? Do you wish you'd scaled it way down? OhioAnne thought I should ask — a propos of my impending — to use the word everyone seems to want to use — nuptials:
How many would do what they did again if given the choice? How many wanted to do it in the first place?

Personally, the last thing I want to have to think about on such a day is whether the DJ showed up or not. I would opt for my fiancee, the minimum witnesses required by law and the officiator. (I have no kids, but, if I did, I would add them - especially if they could function as the witnesses.)

Then I would go on an extended honeymoon in a warm location.

Six months or later, I would have a party for the masses to thank them for the well wishes. Hopefully, it could double as a housewarming party.

I love my family, but the focus on the day should be on two becoming one — not on making some nameless relative happy about who they are seated next to on the occasion.
I think honeymoons should be questioned as well. So much pressure! And you're exiling yourself in a strange place, away from everyone you know, wondering whether you chose a resort with the ideal romantic scenery and obsequious staff. Personally, I love normal life, really seeing and experiencing the details of it, and the cool thing about being married should be that you are sharing it with the one you love.

As for that wedding, we're talking about a second marriage for both of us, and we're pretty old. I don't think I could put on a good enough show to justify forcing a lot of people to travel, dress up, and celebrate or give the impression of celebrating, and I don't see the fun in putting myself in the position of wondering whether I need to fret about whether I can. Some people who read my blog (or watch me on Bloggingheads) might think I'm a glutton for attention, but why do you think I've found such satisfaction in on-line expression? Putting classroom teaching to the side, I'm no exhibitionist. I live a very private and unusually secluded life here in my remote outpost in Madison, Wisconsin.

130 comments:

Chip Ahoy said...

Hmmm. *rubs chin* Those are all very good points.

David said...

As to the first one only, I wish I had skipped the entire marriage.

Peter V. Bella said...

Wellllllllll,
Tak this over with Meade. Make a decision. Follow through.

Getting married again is a serious enough decision. Why make things more complicated. Have a ceremony with family and close friends. Then, have a small initmate party- there is nothing wrong with celebration.

As to the honeymoon; go on a vacation and call it just that. Maybe a road trip or places the two of you would like to visit.

Keep it simple and call it what you want. It is your impending marriage. It is your- and Meadehouse's life.

joewxman said...

One thing from my wedding 24 years ago is deciding not to drink (other than the obligatory glass of champagne) in order to at least remember something from the day. Truth is i remember very little of it other than the ceremony itself.

Here in New York/New Jersey first weddings have evolved into an exhibition of excess costing tens of thousands of dollars. You not only have to feed the masses and drown them with alcohol, but then you have to worry that the cash gifts can at least cover your cost. Its all gotten completely out of hand. I have 3 daughters and i'm supposed to come up with about 100 grand in order to put on a one day show? Not happening!

MadisonMan said...

Well, I'm the type that likes to please others, and I know that having a wedding and a reception pleased others, so that was nice. I also like watching people interact, so that part was interesting to me. And planning the whole thing was enjoyable. If you like similar things, why not do it?

I was just so tired by the end though. Really, you're UP UP UP all day, putting on your best bib and tuck and trying to remember everyone's name and where you should go and what you should do: that's exhausting. Not so bad for the groom, as it's not my party, really, and I'm not the host. Still.

I think it's different for a first vs. subsequent weddings, however. Would I do it again? I don't know.

Bob_R said...

Weddings only work when they operate as a fertility rite. For this there needs to be a lot of young people around - preferably at least slightly drunk. Second generation weddings can work if there are enough children, nieces, nephews, young friends to drink, flirt, and make sexually suggestive comments. I think Dave Barry said something like, "It's not really a wedding until someone drinks a toast out of the maid of honor's brassier."

As someone who never takes "vacations" I could not agree more about honeymoons. Hang around Madison. Hang around Cincinnati. Sounds like a honeymoon to me.

rdkraus said...

I like the way my friend did it. I think she was a similar age, etc. She got married with just immediate family present. Then a year later they had a first anniversary party and invited those friends and relatives they wanted to celebrate with, about 30-35 people. Very nice, and no more prep than a party of that size.

fcai said...

Well, one hopes that painkillers will ease the transition - wait, what? This isn't about end of life issues? My bad...

rhhardin said...

Nobody marries you; you marry each other. All the other guys are just witnesses.

Fred4Pres said...

I would suggest a massive wedding in the center of the University of Wisconsin in the summer and invite the entire world. Basically anyone who wants to come can come. A-G bring main courses, H-N bring starters or side dishes, and 0-Z bring deserts. Everyone BYOB or Wine to share.

TMink said...

When my wife and I married, it was our second each, and we had a very small wedding. It was perfect for us. The reception was small but fun.

As for the honeymoon, getting away from everyone else is kind of the point. And pressure? That is contrapointal.

Trey

Harsh Pencil said...

Take over the terrace (if you know U of Wisconsin you know what this is) on a sunny summer Saturday. They have a bar. It's beautiful. No planning. Lot's of fun for all.

Bob_R said...

The only regret about my own weeding was the tux. It was 1979. What can I say?

Jason (the commenter) said...

I think honeymoons should be questioned as well. So much pressure!

Please, it's not like the townspeople are going to stone you if they don't see a bloody sheet hanging in the window.

As for the rest, who needs a DJ or any of those exotic things? Keep it simple. Invite as many people as you can cook for. I think the point is to have some pressure, some stress, so you feel like something has happened to you.

Jake said...

No opinion on the wedding, but I would think a honeymoon in a northern clime in the summer would be the best option.The thinking is that days are pleasant but not hot (hiking, biking without strain), the evenings are long (plenty of time sit over dinner), and the nights are cool (good for YKW).

Suggestions... Bras D'Or lakes, Isle of Mull, Turku, Bergen, Victoria, BC. Been to all of them and imagined they would be good for honeymooning.

MadisonMan said...

Yes to Turku. Go to the spa at Naantali. Stay at St. Birgitte's Guest House. Plenty of photo ops in the castle.

The Crack Emcee said...

I've wondered about all this, but decided, since it's about you getting married, I'd keep my grumpy ass out of it - now you're asking, so:

Second marriages for the both of you? You are probably insane, Ann Althouse. How can you repeat the vows ("To have and to hold, for richer or poorer") with someone else, Professor? Makes me think of two things: 1) Words, and the people who utter them, aren't worth much anymore, to anyone but apparently me. 2) Because of #1, people are determined to continue pointlessly hurting each other. (I find myself, now, watching The Godfather's first movie, and The Sopranos, because they deal with casual hypocrisy I see, and am forced to live with, better than anything else.)

Even if my ex hadn't killed anyone, nope, wouldn't want to do it again. Discovering what adultery, betrayal and divorce really mean were bad enough. Add in the current societal misandry, a female-oriented court system (not even trying to appear fair) and the general stupidity of people (Me: "She killed three people." Them: "You're just saying that because you're a man and you can't take that she left you.") and there's just no way I could want to endure it. The joy of the first time was fine. The wariness of a second would be too overwhelming.

Congratulations - and keep looking for those ghosts.

traditionalguy said...

The wedding day is the celebration for the friends and family. Keep it small or not at all. The family's can get together at normal holidays. Your friends are already happy. The chance to travel to a special place is a reason for a honeymoon, but plan it for a few months and go this May or June after all the details of re-configuring two lives have settled in for you. Carmel California is a nice spot for special memories, as are many others.

pookaa said...

Two years ago my then fiance and I went on vacation in Botswana and South Africa. Towards the end of the two weeks we stayed in a lovely small hotel on the southern coast of S.A. and got married on the terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean. It was us, the reverend, the hotel staff and the seven other guests that happened to be staying there. We did the whole "wedding thing" - dress, tux, flowers, photographer - but it was so low key, relaxed and fun that my husband teases me about wanting to get divorced so that we can do it all over again.

john said...

I vote for Ann and Meade's honeymoon at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. Has to be one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world. Quiet, scenery and wildlife, hiking, biking, soaking, loving. In late June, the twilight never ends.

We could even have a meetup there. Wouldn't that be fun, all?

Darcy said...

Hmm...no, I wouldn't go through a lot of fuss for a big ceremony. For her second marriage, my sister got married on the beach and had some lovely pics done. I liked that, and thought it came off very elegant. Get married someplace meaningful to you both, maybe?

The honeymoon, for me, would be a big deal, but I'm a romantic.

Pogo said...

the second marriage, June
even the bride wants
less performance, more art

Larry J said...

My wife and I were married 26 years ago this June. It was the smallest wedding allowed by law (us, 2 witnesses, and the minister). We've never regretted it. That same week, one of the big news weekly magazines (IIRC, US News and World Report) had a cover story of "Big Weddings, They're Back". I sometimes wonder how many of those couples who had megaweddings are still together.

Plan your marriage more than your wedding. The wedding is a ceremony and a party that lasts at most a few hours. You want the marriage to last far longer. While everyone is free to make their own decisions, IMO those megaweddings are insane extravagances.

Oberon said...

To answer the actual questions you asked: I loved my wedding. It was, without a doubt, the best day of my life. Yes, that's cliche, but I couldn't care less about it being cliche. 300 of the most wonderful people I know. Dancing, singing, celebration. What more does one want in life?

How many times have you found yoruself at a party and thought "this is fun, but if I knew (and liked) everyone here, it would be incredible..."? That was my wedding. Having said all that, if you're the type of person who is so self-conscious that you'd worry about the party "going off without a hitch" then you really need to do it, if only to show you how utterly stupid your worries are/would be.

Pogo said...
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Pogo said...

To make a wedding it takes a man and one bride,
One man, and a bride, And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If guests are few.

Darcy said...

Did you write that, Pogo? It's beautiful!

fcai said...

Crack MC - did you see the Sopranos episode where Johnny Sack's daughter got married? And on the day of his daughter's wedding he asked Tony for a favor? Yeah, that was cool...

That fictional wedding was said to cost almost a half million dollars. Easy come, easy go...

Yeah, a second marriage is a leap of faith. My ex- threatened to kill me during our divorce, but I had disabled the only firearm in the house, so she had to deal with the sheriff and I am still on the right side of the sod.

Marriage is an interesting concept, but like most performance art, I think I will skip it.

Bissage said...

I’m glad to hear that so many Althousians have fond memories of their wedding day but the same cannot be said for me. The reception was . . . um . . . shall we say . . . problematic.

This old guy (I think he might have been in the livestock business) gave us a really nice wedding present but then he starts arguing with my father-in-law about some kind of a broken promise. The bickering goes on and on until this kind-of-radical guy starts dancing with my sister-in-law and then the cops bust in and tear the place apart. They destroy the wedding gifts and beat the shit out of that kind-of-radical guy when he mouths off.

The cops leave us with a huge mess and my father-in-law, a practical-minded man, advises us all to focus on the problems at hand. What do we do? We clean up.

But I don’t want to kvetch too much. It wasn’t all bad. The music was pretty good.

Pogo said...

I'm a thief, alas; it was adapted from from Emily Dickinson.

Ann Althouse said...

"Second marriages for the both of you? You are probably insane, Ann Althouse. How can you repeat the vows ("To have and to hold, for richer or poorer") with someone else, Professor?"

I waited 20 years! Isn't that enough? Am I not absolved at long last?

Henry said...

We had a very informal outdoor wedding, friends and family. It was a blast.

Thing we did right: Hired a great live band.

Thing we did wrong: Hired a lame photographer (the photographers we wanted to hire were guests).

I assume that any Althousian (Median?) wedding will feature great music, even if it's just a road trip with the two of you.

Darcy said...

Still sweet, Pogo.

HelenParr said...

I'm told that the Jewish tradition is to spend the first month as close to the community as possible--eating at friends' and relatives' homes--and not going away for seclusion but becoming immersed in community. 30 days of dinner with friends? Could be fun.

Duncan said...

I think it's good to have a ceremony.

It shouldn't be big but you would benefit from some formality.

'Marriage' differs from 'lewd cohabitation' and that difference should be signified.

After all, he *did* take you to Tiffany so you've already started out right.

HelenParr said...

I wonder why, if you don't want a wedding, are you even waiting until August when the offspring can be there? Why not just take care of that this weekend? It seems to me you don't want a big hoopla wedding, but you do want something significant and special to mark the beginning of married life.

Dan from Madison said...

My wife and I eloped to New Orleans 14 years ago and neither of us ever had any regrets. We had the time of our lives.

If you asked us if we would do it the same way we would both answer an emphatic yes.

We had a reception/party a few months later so the parents, relatives and so on could have their little show, but it still cost too much money. And don't fool yourself, the parties, receptions and all the rest aren't for the couple, they are for the relatives.

Anyway, we are glad we eloped and would do it again.

bearbee said...

Skip the nonsense. After the legalities pop for a nice Denny's Senior dinner with witnesses. Then into bed by 9:00pm.

MayBee said...

I loved my wedding, and I would do it the same again except for the dress, which I would update.
For our honeymoon, we drove to a cabin in the woods, and then to Mackinac Island and it was lovely.

Althouse should set up a webcam at her house, and Meade should set up a webcam at his, and they should get married in a split screen ceremony ala blogging heads.

For the honeymoon, wait until winter. Then go on Safari in South Africa. Cocktails at sunset on the plains with zebras and ostriches and wildebeests roaming nearby. Dinner with fine wine at night, maybe out in the bush.
Shower outside with elephants roaming in the distance.

anniebird said...

I think you should have a ceremony witnessed by people who love you, Ann. You can be dignified and understated; hopefully you'll find that you can be sincere and reverent too. Give yourselves the gift of making this commitment in the presence of people who will support and affirm your marriage.

A wedding is worth celebrating - have the party! Again, do things modestly if you're inclined, but don't dismiss the idea of embracing the joy of your new marriage with a party.

Be happy and let your "nuptials" be an expression of this! Heaven knows there are fewer and fewer opportunities to gather friends and family for a joyful purpose as we get older. Seize this one!

mcg said...

I am sympathetic to the notion of a smaller wedding. We chose to have a big production, and it was a blast, but I wouldn't hold it against someone for effectively eloping.

But fretting about the honeymoon? For goodness sake, that's ridiculous. With a wedding/reception, you're at least nominally trying to please your guests. But the honeymoon is all about you and your spouse, period. Nobody else to please, nobody else to impress. It is a chance to relax celebrate together in private, in whatever manner you see fit. Any pressure you experience figuring that out is entirely self-imposed.

Just pick a location where the two of you can relax and focus on enjoying each other's company. It's nice to pick a place where you'll be waited on hand and foot when you want to be, and left alone when you want that, too. But even that isn't necessary.

Heck, you could probably have a fun honeymoon right there in your home in Madison if you chose. Since you won't be busy planning a wedding, you could spend time stocking up on essentials, getting all the laundry done, planning some day trips, or whatever.

tim maguire said...

My wife and I got married in city hall with about 20 friends and relatives present. Then we all hopped on a train to Chinatown were we reserved a corner of a banquet hall for lunch. The whole thing took about 15 hours of planning and less than $1,000 (mostly for lunch). Our only mistake was paying some guy $150 to take pictures. Our guests took some great pictures for free.

Even the ceremony was surprisingly beautiful and everyone had a good time, low stress, no muss, no fuss. Afterwards, a number of couples who had more traditional weddings said they wished they'd done it our way.

Trooper York said...
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Pogo said...

Correct Troop.

A guy I knew in college had a bachelor's party and got terribly drunk the night before the wedding. His 'friends' drove him from Omaha to Kansas City and left him there without money or a car. Woot! Way funny!

He didn't get back in time for the wedding.
And it never took place.

amba said...

Pogo,

Dickinson or no, the idea of "revery" in place of the "reverend" is very pleasing.

For some people, the wedding seems almost to be the whole point. That is alarming. I'm glad to know that for you, the marriage is the point. Whatever else you do should be what you two feel like. If you like parties, have one.

As far as I'm concerned, the only reason why anybody HAS to have a wedding is for me to dance at. (At some point I learned that dancing at weddings is a Jewish commandment that I had been living out without knowing it. I had just thought it was a good excuse to dance.)

Peter V. Bella said...

So, Troop, let's start the planning!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Second marriage for us too. In our mid 40's. I would have felt foolish with a big extravaganza, fancy dress, flowers, centerpieces etc. Plus, why spend all that money on fripperies?

We rented a building in a local parks and recreation facility with a beautiful outdoor setting, landscaping with gorgeous flowers and shrubbery, gingerbread gazebo etc. which would allow a gathering of about 50 people which included immediate family and a few selected good friends. We had a big catered barbeque and an open bar. People could mingle and get to know each other, eat and drink and tell embarrassing stories about us to the other family members. We were already married in a civil ceremony a few days before.

It was a lot of fun, just a celebration of our finding each other, casual and everyone enjoyed themselves. We told people,no presents because being previously married we had plenty of household stuff, but some brought gifts anyway. I'm still loving the crystal wine glasses 15 years later.

The best gift we did get was one of my hubby's clients gave us 2 weeks use of their vacation home in Maui. It was great to just get away and be us.... alone.... with no jobs intruding, no family, no responsibilities, no telephone!!!! Nothing to do but be with each other with zero distractions. I highly recommend it.

Pogo said...

oooooh, a virtual bachelor party!

I wonder if Justine Lai is available?

Michael E. Lopez said...

It's selfish and ridiculous to think that a wedding is really about the two people getting married, just like it's selfish and ridiculous to think that a graduation ceremony is really about the people getting their degrees.

Big open ceremonies are for the community, to show respect for the concerns and presence of others. That's why eloping has such a mixed reputation... it represents two selfish lovers telling their community that their opinions don't matter.

If one doesn't think one's community (family, friends, etc.) matters, of course, one should have whatever sort of wedding one wants to have.

Those who say that weddings should be small and intimate are really just saying "I'm only going to invite the people who matter to me." Which is fine. It's important to be honest about who matters and who doesn't.

Bissage said...

[A]mba, as a certified white guy, I am extremely hung-up and do not like to dance.

That said, the most fun I ever had with strangers was at a wedding reception when I was 35 years old, doing the chicken dance, with a 70 year old guy to my left and a 12 year old girl to my right.

Somehow, in a way I can’t possibly put into words, for three and a half minutes, the world seemed right.

former law student said...

They're all weddings. I like DBQ's wedding. It's a question of scale, not a binary yes-no question.

But keep this in mind: you won't be legally married in the eyes of 'Sconsinites unless you and your guests have danced the hokey-pokey.

One caution: Of the weddings I've been to since I turned 21, the bigger the festivity, the shorter the actual union. The one where they passed out DVD photodiaries of the couples' youth and ensuing romance, with the mayor and Congressman in attendance, lasted a year and a half.

k*thy said...

Totally with anniebird. It's worth celebrating with those who love you. Sure, dignified and understated, but open yourselves to those closest to you. Even if small, it's important in a big way.

As for the honeymoon - also you should do something. As for ours, 27 years ago, it wasn't extravagant or warm because we had no money. The time together, buffered from the rest of the world for short time priceless (even if the Brewers did loose the WS).

howzerdo said...

I will be married 29 years on Memorial Day weekend. We were still in college. My father asked me, "would you rather have a big fancy wedding or would you rather have college paid for?" That was a no brainer. I wouldn't have wanted an extravagant wedding even if he hadn't continued to pay for college. We had a Catholic ceremony (not a Mass since my husband isn't Catholic), and then dinner. There were about 30 guests. My family is gigantic, so that was tiny. No entertainment, no matching dresses, no dancing, no party favors. Total cost was about $1,000 (in 1980). A college friend drove us in his ancient Volvo. My sister stood up with me and wore a dress from her closet. My brother took pictures, another college friend baked the cake, I made the cake topper and my husband made flower arrangements from lilacs we picked in the yard. Our grandparents, my aunt, and one of the college friends are all dead now, so I am glad they were present and that it wasn't smaller. But I have never had any regrets at all (although some NYC metro-area in-laws felt both snubbed and that it was tacky). We didn't have a honeymoon (and I am not much for travel, even today.) We received a couple of nights in a fancy hotel as a wedding gift, but we cashed it in and bought a couch.

The Crack Emcee said...

Fcai,

"Crack MC - did you see the Sopranos episode where Johnny Sack's daughter got married? And on the day of his daughter's wedding he asked Tony for a favor? Yeah, that was cool..."

Yea - and hilarious. I never laughed so hard in my life. Johnny Sack is a "piece 'o work."

Bissage,

"The music was pretty good."

Right: let's hear it for the DJ!!!

Ann,

"I waited 20 years! Isn't that enough? Am I not absolved at long last?"

This isn't about absolution but "marriage" - just like the abortion issue is about "life" - don't these things mean anything? I get this image of law professors as people who spout shit they don't think about. I mean, I "married" my wife, as flawed as she is, but that's it - "for better or for worse" (And she was the worst) - but now I can go to another one and say, "O.K., now it's your turn"? Needless to say, what kind of society we're becoming (shallow and selfish) confuses me.

Are we all Zsa Zsa Gabor now?

Dan From Madison,

My honeymoon was in New Orleans. Good times.

Trooper York,

"Who cares about the wedding. It's the bachelor party that's important!"

Attaboy.

Michael E. Lopez,

"It's selfish and ridiculous to think that a wedding is really about the two people getting married, just like it's selfish and ridiculous to think that a graduation ceremony is really about the people getting their degrees."

Exactly. And if it doesn't mean anything - if it's something you can do over and over again - well shit, it's just a party.

Dan from Madison said...

Michael Lopez said "it represents two selfish lovers telling their community that their opinions don't matter."

Well, that is your opinion of it Michael, and you know what they say about opinions. Your family celebrates things differently than mine. So what. Over half of these celebrations end up in ruin down the line anyway (according to most divorce stats) so what is the diffence?

Earth Girl said...

The only regret about my wedding (second for both of us) is that I didn't invite more friends, those friends who truly loved us and wanted to help celebrate. I realized this after learning that several friends sneaked into the balcony at church to witness the ceremony. With only family (excluding aunts and uncles), we had almost 50 at a simple church wedding followed by lunch at our home. I had five young nieces and I let them all be flower girls. Their joy only added to my joy. Simple and meaningful to us.

madawaskan said...

Ann Althouse-

One of my jobs to get through college was to work weddings.

So-I've seen hundreds of them. We use to take bets on what kind of fight would break out and who the participants would be.

Now-this is really sad but I think I only saw one that looked any fun.

They were Mormon, there wasn't any drinking, and the bride and groom did the fastest exit i ever saw in my life.

Hey! maybe they really were virgins!

[that just dawned on me.]

And, they had a fabulous DJ.

Why?

The guy didn't show off about himself-he did this genius thing were he polled the crowd, found out what they liked and then played through the decades with the older stuff first.
He'd scan the crowd to see the average age of who was still there and adjust accordingly.

Really sober Mormons dancing know how to have fun.

Sad-though-about the only good wedding reception/party I ever saw.

Well except for French Canadians...but that's a whole other story.

Jennifer said...

I would again do what we did the first time in a heartbeat. We had more of a party than a wedding. It was at our house, close family and friends and assorted dogs. Good food, drinks a plenty, lots of laughing and fun and not a hint of stress or insanity.

No honeymoon, but we did take a few days off from work, luxuriated around the house and bounced about town. It was lovely.

madawaskan said...

As for that wedding, we're talking about a second marriage for both of us, and we're pretty old.

Damn it Ann! Come on!

You look 38, and if you drive cross country one more time-

I'm gonna....oy!

Listen someone better start paying for airline tickets.

I'm just sayin'.

mcg said...
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mcg said...

Jesus' first documented miracle was turning water into wine for the sake of that wedding's guests, who had already had their share.

A wedding and all that surrounds it is a celebration. To the extent that wedding planning distracts from the celebratory aspect of the event, it is too much!

Trooper York said...

I think a virtual bachelor party would be really cool. Just think. Althouse comments could meet in various cities through out the nation on the same Saturday night and conference by web cam. Just think how we would stimulate the economy by helping the venue the caterers and of course the strippers. It's a win-win.

madawaskan said...

Oops!

should read:genius thing where he polled

Gawd, the English hates me.

Bissage said...

Sorry to disappoint you, Mr, Emcee, but there was no DJ.

The musicians played traditional folk instruments.

The fiddler was especially talented.

Anthony said...

My (only) wedding almost was ideal. We'd been together for like 14 years already so it wasn't like the whole newlywed thing was happening. I'd wanted to be married by a priest who was a good friend, who happened to still be in Wisconsin (we're in Washington state). So, the plan was to go on a vacation and have a small ceremony in said priest's parish with my parents and her parents present if they desired. Went great except that her mom and sister had hissy fits and demanded that only equal numbers from each side be at the ceremony, meaning my sister couldn't just fly in an attend. Ended up pretty nice and the way we'd planned it, except for that part.

We had a Saturday afternoon get-together at my parents' house the next day (a Saturday) for my friends and extended family in Wisconsin. Nothing formal, just a BBQ and drinks and told everyone to stop by whenever. That was in September. Then when we got back to WA we had planned a bigger par-tay at the University Faculty Club to which we sent out the formal invitations and what-not. It was on October 30 so we decided to make it a Halloween costume party, which turned out to be an absolute blast.

It doesn't necessarily have to be about attention-grabbing although some brides (maybe grooms, too, I don't know) tend to think of it that way. It's something people like to celebrate with friends and family. And it's a second wedding so you don't have to worry about wedding gifts or anything; you can just treat it as a celebration for everybody to partake of.

Would you like to know what we did on our wedding night?

. . . .

. . . .

Spent a couple of hours making potato salad for the next day and then collapsed and went to sleep. Yeeha.

Anthony said...
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Anthony said...
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fcai said...

The parks and rec story reminded me - we played at two weddings last year. The first was held in a nearby state park on a hot July day and the theme was Dungeons and Dragons. Or Star Wars. Who freakin' knows. Guys in dresses, or leather kilts - what the hey - and women dressed like a bad costume movie about the middle ages. The morbidly obese bride wore tons of brocade material and nearly passed out in the heat. That was funny.

The second was an Indian wedding that took two days. I barely made it through the first day. Bride was beautiful. The dancing was good. It was indoors, so no one passed out. Much food was served. Gold was the theme. Gold should always be the them. Cue Maxine to go nuts...

Find a path that suits your tastes and sensibilities - dancing and food help every occasion. Live music is best. The photographs - meh - get one or two good ones, the rest are dross in any case.

chuck b. said...

Weddings are rituals for young women, loaded with archaic symbolism that invariably seem pointless and absurd when applied to other types of couples. An already semi-ridiculous ritual becomes thoroughly so. And then a reception, with gifts? So, so tacky.

On the other hand, doing the civil union thing at City Hall may feel mechanical and cold, reducing the romantic specialness of the moment to a bloodless, legalistic exercise.

Janis Gore said...

Third marriage for my husband, we were married by the city judge in his library with his secretary as witness at 3:30 in the afternoon.

That evening we joined a group of friends at a local bar for an evening of food and drinks and bourre (a betting card game).

That was fifteen years ago this past January. I won $42.

For several years we threw an anniversary-all purpose party for friends within a month or two of the date.

Pat said...

Ann said: I waited 20 years! Isn't that enough? Am I not absolved at long last?

No. I'm sorry Ann. In our society these days, you can be forgiven (or not even need forgiveness, in most cases) for ANYTHING -- except having a failed marriage. At least it seems that way. Such bullshit.

And, yes, of course you are absolved. As long as YOU feel you are.

As to wedding plans -- do whatever feels right to both of you. It's not about being "pretty old" or "putting on a good enough show to justify forcing people to travel" and it's certainly not about "fretting" or any of that other nonsense you spouted.

It's about you, and him, and those you love and want to share your happiness with. Like it or not, marriage is not just about the two of you. Marriage carries with it a bit of an obligation to help those closest to you think "I want what they got".

Anyone who loves you guys and cares about your happiness is going to want to share that love and happiness in whatever way you feel good about letting them share it. Nobody (I hope) travels to a wedding in "exchange" for a good time. So lighten up, for heaven's sake.

Do what feels right. For you. For Meade. For those who are important to you. And quit worrying about it so much. The sparkle in your eyes says all anyone needs to hear. Peace, already.

Christy said...

Bearing in mind I'm an any-excuse-for-a-party girl, I think a dear friend did the 2nd wedding at middle age perfectly. In the resort community where her husband lived, they took over an inn for a weekend house party. The guests numbered 30 or so.

Friday night began with a cocktail party hosted in the home of the Groom's oldest son and his wife. Early Saturday afternoon the couple hosted a crab feast at the Inn.

The wedding was a black tie affair that began with cocktails in the lobby with the Groom. Then doors to the Wedding Hall opened, every guest handed a flute of champagne, and we flowed in to greet the Bride who was flanked by Parents, two in wheelchairs. We stood for the short ceremony, back-dropped by the sun setting over water, and then toasted the Happy Couple.

Food stations were arranged in the garden, a guitarist wandered among the guests, a DJ set up in the Hall for dancing. They did none of the cute reception ceremonies and simply enjoyed the party among friends. Instead of a wedding cake, they had custom labeled bottles of Mead in a tiered arrangement for the guests. Wonderful weekend, if perhaps a little boozy.

The Crack Emcee said...

Dan From Madison,

"Michael Lopez said "it represents two selfish lovers telling their community that their opinions don't matter."

Well, that is your opinion of it Michael, and you know what they say about opinions. Your family celebrates things differently than mine. So what. Over half of these celebrations end up in ruin down the line anyway (according to most divorce stats) so what is the diffence?"


What a marriage is isn't an "opinion" - look it up. That's what I mean about selfish and shallow: just because you want to redefine it doesn't mean you can. And what? Your family "celebrates' an elopement? How exactly does that happen? Or are you just defensively making that up (as I suspect)?

As far as the divorce rate goes, if you don't take these things seriously, then, yea, there's nothing serious about it. A wedding is really a party and a marriage is just a long date that peters out because you saw somebody else.

Like I said, some of you guys don't think too much.

It's weird, really.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Yes, of course you are absolved. As long as YOU feel you are."

Because (narcissism alert) it's all about you! Screw society and anything else, "professor". What you want, think, feel, desire, comes above all else, right?

And then we wonder why the country's going to shit.

BTW, Ann, this is just banter on my part - food for thought, etc.. Sorry, but you brought it up.

Trooper York said...

My wedding was held in Fraucnes Tavern in the shadow of the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center soon after 911. A friend of mine was the manager at the time and I ran into him at a bar and he told me to think about them since they were hurting for business at the time.

So we had a patriotic wedding to the max. Before the cocktail hour I arranged for the guests to go upstairs to the Fraunces Tavern Museum which is a great landmark in downtown Manhattan. You see Fraunces Tavern is one of the oldest restaurants in the United States and it was where General Washington said farewell to his troops after the end of the Revolution. They have a treasure trove of artifacts. They even have one of his wooden teeth!

I hired an actor to dress as General Washington to act as the greeter where the guests would sign a guest book with a quill pen. The seating cards where enclosed in a copy of the Declaration of Independence. But one of the best parts was the fact that the cocktail hour was in the Tavern part while the reception was in the main room. Since it was a real bar everyone got wasted as the staff was pouring with both hands. Pints of Guinness, double dirty vodka martinis and top shelf single malt went down really smooth. You see the wife and I had gone to dinner there every week leading up to the reception so we got to know all of the wait staff and a lot of kitchen guys. And I always tip over the top. So they did an unbelievable job. Also the food was superb. It was an early American colonial feast with some great steaks and lobster. People still come up to me at other family weddings and say it was the best steak they ever had.

So to end this long winded story, pick something that is meaningful to you guys and go for it. It doesn’t have to be at traditional wedding or catering halls. Pick a great restaurant and have it there. Maybe some cool part of the University. How about a courtroom? Or the bike shop where Meade lubes up his wheels. Pick something that will mean something to you and start off your journey with a bang.

Oh and I am still negotiating but there is an outside chance that I can get Betty Rubble to come to the bachelor party.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Weddings are rituals for young women, loaded with archaic symbolism that invariably seem pointless and absurd when applied to other types of couples

Agreed. For us being in our 40's and second marriages we felt the event was more about getting our different and geographically scattered family and friends together to meet with each other and get to know each other and to be happy for us as a couple.

Many of the people were lifetime and childhood friends about whom my husband and I had talked about to each other and who are friends that played important parts in us becoming the people that we are today.

Ooooh boy....the embarrassing stories about the dumb and funny things we did as children and young adults. The sweet anecdotes told by Grandparents, Parents, Aunts and Uncles. /blush and /laugh. The cool things that the people we love found out about each other and how much they have had in common that they and we never knew.

Our families live in different States and while we had been to visit each other's families separately; we felt that a wedding celebration party would be perfect for all of us to get together at one time....maybe for the only time we would be in one place at one time for a HAPPY occasion. Quite often families only gather in a sad or disaterous situation....funerals come to mind.

The poster who said the wedding and celebration are more for the community than for the married couple, has it right. The day for us was all about our friends and family and not so much about us as a couple.

Oh.... and about the food and drinking too, of course.

BJM said...

I'll offer my two cents, not that it matters a fig; do whatever makes you and Meade comfortable and happy.

We eloped and had a civil service at Reno City Hall. All I recall (it was 43 yrs ago) is how funny the judge was and the cheesy honeymoon suite, it was perfect for us.

I've many friends who have remarried over the years and they've had all manner of weddings. Most elect for a personalized, intimate ceremony, with a casual party after.

In the spirit of fun:Makin' Whoopee

mcg said...

I am sympathetic to The Crack Emcee's position. A marriage, properly considered, is not simply the union of two individuals, constructed in whatever fashion they see fit, with no consideration of tradition or the opinions of others. If that's the kind of relationship you want, that's fine---just shack up and call it a day. It can be a lifelong relationship or a fleeting romance.

But marriage has always been more than the private decision of two lovers to unite, it has always involved the larger surrounding community, whether that community is a pair of families, a religious order, or a secular civil institution. It is not just a promise made by the two lovers to each other. It is also a promise made by that community to support and nourish the union.

Our society has taken concrete steps to undermine marriage over the last several decades. We have made it almost as easy to exit a marriage as it is to enter into one, and diminished the social stigmas surrounding infidelity, divorce, and illegitimacy. We've done so for entirely logical-sounding reasons, but I think overall it has been to society's detriment.

madawaskan said...

chuck b.

On the other hand, doing the civil union thing at City Hall may feel mechanical and cold, reducing the romantic specialness of the moment to a bloodless, legalistic exercise.

Wow, chuck b.'s got a way with words.

Yuck!

Althouse has waited twenty years?

Why not make it special.

Just remember I think members of Trooper's crew are professional drinkers.

I wouldn't want to see law prof types drunk.

Holy hell...

Kirk Parker said...

"and we're pretty old"

I'm with madawaskan: there are few things that age you as rapidly as that kind of thinking!

Bissage, did you somehow get your wedding confused with Fiddler on the Roof? Wow, that sounded really terrible.

Michael Hasenstab said...

My wife and I had a lovely and simple wedding and reception.

We were both in our thirties and didn't want the stereotypical wedding and reception. We rented a room at the Milwaukee PAC for both the wedding and the reception.

The wedding was held at noon, the reception (shrimp, champagne, a few other appetizers, wedding cake)immediately thereafter. We found a wonderful minister to perform the ceremony, and the only other participants were my children (I had been previously married) as flower girl and ring bearer.

We hired a string quartet to provide music for the ceremony and the reception. It was finished by 3 PM, and we were on our way.

What actually happened was that the guests arrived early and drank most of the champagne before the ceremony, we joined in, as did the minister, so everyone was especially happy during and after the ceremony.

No DJ, no toddlers, no long dinner. Our guests commented about how much fun the wedding and reception were compared to the usual schema.

We decided on Thanksgiving Day to get married before Christmas, and it took less than two days to make all the arrangements, except for the wedding dress. It was all very easy, very simple and very lovely.

John Lynch said...

Generally, the bigger the wedding the shorter the marriage. It shows insecurity.

A hundred years ago only the wealthy went in for big ceremonies. A poor couple went to the courthouse and changed their lives forever.

I enjoyed my wedding, but it didn't need to be such a big deal. I went along with it to please my wife, and she really enjoyed it.

That said, it's your life and we're just people with enough leisure time to waste it on it the internet.

fcai said...

Aw crap - I am sitting here remembering how ugly my wedding was. It was 40 years ago and I really hadn't given it much thought. The memories had grown callouses that I really don't want to peel off - ugly people behaving badly. No wonder I react to the word "wedding" like Maynard G. Krebs did to the word "work". WORK!

Now there was a beatnik one could respect...

Went to another wedding, well, two weddings, actually, with a girl friend I thought very highly of. Thank goodness we didn't get married - she has gone around the bend now. Not a pleasant person to talk to.

Does any of this mean anything? I had a long time girlfriend who kept saying that it was possible to have a decent marriage. That a couple could truly be happy for a long time. I have never seen that, but am open to learning if anyone knows of any such unions.

I imagine that if one choses wisely that one might just do well. How's that for the triumph of hope over experience? Ha!

Joe said...

Due to religious reasons, my wedding 24 years ago was horrible. The reception was almost as bad. Were I to do it over again, I'd go to the justice of the peace. (My wife's view isn't as negative as mine, but looking back she agrees that it was all pretty bad.) But, we were both believers in our religion then, and just followed custom.

One thing we both seriously regret that we could have changed is not insisting we have a Wedding Apple Pie instead of a vile cake.

Pogo said...

the two
no longer boy and girl
but learned in time and
no fools, they

still

they meet and dissolve their eyes and breath and even their walk
through spring's first green
knowing tolstoy was wrong
every new couple
is happy in its very own way.

Janis Gore said...

Well, fcia, my in-laws have been married for 67 years.

Two of their children have been married for over 30 apiece, three of my brothers have been married for over 40 years.

My parents were married until my father died. That was over 50.

Then the young woman up the street had a bridezilla wedding that cost well over $50,000. That marriage lasted until the third day of the honeymoon.

I'm not nosy enough to have the story on that one.

Joan said...

My first wedding, I was 20 years old and still in college and did the whole white dress, big reception thing, I think we had 120 people which to me was big. The service was performed by a Unitarian minister at the MIT Chapel.

My second wedding, my husband's first, was in the Catholic Church just after Christmas 14 yeas ago. We had completed the church's pre-marriage course and had all our paperwork done. We had planned to get married in the fall, but one of the priests mentioned that now we had everything in order, we didn't have to wait that long if we didn't want to.

We decided to forego the whole big wedding thing and put together the whole thing in two days: his parents came in from CT, mine came up from the Cape. I rented a limo so no one would have to drive, and I ordered flowers for everyone. We had a lovely service -- the church looked wonderful with all the poinsettias and Christmas decorations, then we went out for dinner, then the parents retired and my husband and I, the best man and maid of honor went out on the town for a bit.

Months later we had a belated reception which was a blast. We ended up having it in the hotel that was right across the street from my office, which didn't thrill me because of the proximity, but the food and the atmosphere were great and the DJ was excellent at reading the crowd.

A marriage is about the two people in it, creating a new family. A wedding is about the community. There's no need to stress yourself. I think it's lovely if you can have the people you are closest to there to witness for you, but other than that? There are no rules.

And ITA that worrying over the honeymoon is just silly!

mcg said...

I had a long time girlfriend who kept saying that it was possible to have a decent marriage. That a couple could truly be happy for a long time. I have never seen that, but am open to learning if anyone knows of any such unions.

Of course. My favorite great-aunt, a sort of third grandmother to me, passed away a couple of weeks ago, leaving behind her husband of some 70 years. Loved and served each other dearly to the end. (Actually, that's redundant, or it ought to be.)

Perhaps the problem is an undue conflation of "decent marriage" with "happy marriage". All good marriages are sometimes happy, but no good marriage is always happy. Indeed part of what makes a marriage good is how it holds together during the difficult times.

pj (not PJ) said...

Ann and Crack Emcee. My aunt married a hardnose Catholic and did her "waiting" still in the marriage due to vows - while it destroyed her kids psychologically. Absolutely Destroyed.

She got married immediately after the divorce which only happened after she dropped the faith and it's supremely happy. She still feels guilty about the marriage/divorce, but her happiness in her 2nd marriage is the best message she could ever send.

You're right though. Moms mostly get all the breaks in the blame/guilt area over the Dads. Traditionally it was the Dad cheating, boozing, abusing whatever while Mom changed the diapers. Now someone like your hypothetical comes along (What, it's not a hypothetical?) and the perceptual patterns are already set and can't see any other way.

Synova said...

Ceremony and tradition aren't necessarily for the person or people it supposedly centers around but for the guests. At a wedding or funeral we touch those people who are at the edges of our pattern of human connections... a cousin we haven't seen for several years, an aunt, the close friend of a parent...

However, I think these ridiculous huge affairs with flown in endangered sea bass (as well as financially ruinous engagement rings and honeymoons) are sorry attempts to prove to one's self that the marriage is something profound. Standing in front of a judge with a stranger as witness is every bit as good.

A honeymoon, though... I've heard that experiencing new things together works different chemicals in our brains and a good way to keep interest between two people. Stressing about it all being romantic and perfect seems like a good way to be disappointed, but taking a trip to someplace neither person has been before seems a good idea.

I used to think that if someone has a house or apartment it's really silly to get a new one, but now I think that it's hard enough to start "our life together" when someone is used to making decisions without considering anyone else's wishes, that moving to a new physical location, a new home, probably helps a whole lot.

Allison said...

My 6th anniversary is this weekend. I adored our wedding. A total of 68 people, with one witness each, and wonderful lovely party and time to spend with our guests.

We loved it because we wanted to say in public and say how different this made us, how permanent we wanted it to be, how uniting it was, how we were moving into a different view of life and its meaning. we wanted to welcome our friends and family into this new life of ours, and we wanted them to welcome us.

on a second marriage, maybe it doesn't mean those things. maybe it means others. but it still isn't about the couple; a wedding is about everyone else--family, tradition, community, uniting the past and the future. to not have a wedding is unfair to the rest of the people in your life. They deserve to have you there, showing them that you are serious about this undertaking, and that you value their support in it.

i'd do it again, almost exactly the same way.

the honeymoon -- we chose to drive a couple hundred miles in a rented porsche boxster (which had been totaled, looking back on it) on some winding roads to a nothing-special-hotel. it was a lot of mixed emotions--so much pressure! so much desire for perfection! and yet the best part was the random beer and pizza joint we found on a rural winding road. We didn't need that "it's so special" part, and we didn't need a vacation to acquaint ourselves with our new spouse. We actually came home early, and enjoyed that more. I highly suggest a similar kind of low key honeymoon.

Allison said...

Let me add this:

a wedding is the only reason i bother to go through the pain of air travel with husband and two kids. I will go to weddings of dear friends i've not seen in years. And it's not a "the old gang get together" thing, it's just that's how important i view weddings since I got married.

so don't let the "gee, why make people bother to come?" argument. lots of them want to come and would come for nothing else.

Ralph said...

My parents had a 3 week engagement in 1955,because my dad had to go back to sea. Hand-written invitations and a borrowed wedding dress (taken up 6 inches in the waist). They still got a lot of loot.

I ended up catering my dad's second wedding reception, at my parents' house, to a shrewish, pill-addicted, neurotic lemon tart in 1988. Wish I'd poisoned her food.

Big Mike said...

Professor Althouse, you and Meade are too what??? Why you punk kids, you.

@fcai, the secret to a happily married life together is a four letter word: work at it. I know she cuts me a lot of slack -- probably even more than I notice -- and I do my best to be the best husband she could possibly have. She tells me that she's gained weight, and no doubt the scale and her old clothes confirm that, but when I look at her all I see is my delicate raven-haired beauty. We'll celebrate #35 in January, so something's working.

Back to you and Meade, Professor. Please yourselves about the ceremony and the reception, but do plan on a honeymoon. Even if you had lived together for years -- and I gather you lived 500 miles apart -- the two of you have a lot of adjustments to make. Besides, you're positively glowing already and it could get kind of treacly for your friends and colleagues there for a while.

May the two of you live happily ever after.

Meade said...

The September morning wedding ceremony my former wife and I shared was beautiful, in a park called Eden, at a spot known as Presidents' Grove, under an Oak tree named Eisenhower. Friends and family attended and we all celebrated with a champagne luncheon. The wedding began a long successful marriage that eventually ended.

I'm glad I didn't skip that wedding.

I will be overjoyed to begin our marriage in any way you and I find meaningful and with a spirit and style similar to what HelenParr describes in her 9:34 comment.

former law student said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Second marriages for the both of you? You are probably insane, Ann Althouse. How can you repeat the vows ("To have and to hold, for richer or poorer") with someone else, Professor?"

I waited 20 years! Isn't that enough? Am I not absolved at long last?


To be sure. Christianity is all about the forgiveness of sins, and America is all about second chances. You are required to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

Engaged couples are not prescient, not clairvoyant. As long as the married couple has made a good faith effort to make their marriage work, "only him without sin" can criticize them.

I fear that The Crack Emcee is both unchristian and unamerican.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, Meade put his real picture up! Ha ha. Take note!

Anyway... wow... that was distracting!

"The September morning wedding ceremony my former wife and I shared was beautiful, in a park called Eden, at a spot known as Presidents' Grove, under an Oak tree named Eisenhower. Friends and family attended and we all celebrated with a champagne luncheon. The wedding began a long successful marriage that eventually ended. I'm glad I didn't skip that wedding."

Yes, because you figured out how to do it well. My mind is completely empty on the subject of weddings. I mean, how do you come up with stuff like that? Eden, Presidents, Eisenhower... "luncheon" (what makes a lunch a luncheon?).... I've got nothing....

"I will be overjoyed to begin our marriage in any way you and I find meaningful and with a spirit and style similar to what HelenParr describes in her 9:34 comment."

Spirit and style. That's a tall order. Let me read what HelenParr said:

"I'm told that the Jewish tradition is to spend the first month as close to the community as possible--eating at friends' and relatives' homes--and not going away for seclusion but becoming immersed in community. 30 days of dinner with friends? Could be fun."

Oh, you mean the road trip?....

Janis Gore said...

Now that's the kind of face I like. My husband has one similar.

No use here for the Matthew Brodericks of this world.

peter hoh said...

do you wish you'd skipped it? Do you wish you'd scaled it way down?

Glad we did it. I suppose it helped that it wasn't scaled up to begin with. We had around 70 guests, iirc.

When my wife and I married, we had the problem of our hometowns being rather far apart. Since we were paying for the wedding, we got to call the shots.

We chose to be married at the church where one of my uncles served as minister. Among other factors, it was a location convenient to several of the oldest people we expected to invite to our wedding.

My uncle was also one of the few points of connection between our two families. He had worked briefly with my father-in-law some 25 years earlier.

Following the wedding, we had a simple reception in the church basement. I think we spent two or three thousand for everything. And by everything, I mean everything: the bridal gown, hotel for some out of town guests, flowers, cake, photographer, and trumpet soloist.

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute, that's Aldo Ray.

You can't fool me.

Dan from Madison said...

The Crack Emcee - Yes, my side of the family are not party people. They are quite reserved and they were very happy that we eloped. They also very much enjoyed the party we had a few months later. Her side wasn't so happy with the elopement, and also enjoyed the party very much. So what.

Trying to tie the fact that my wife and I eloped to not taking our marriage seriously is, of course, ridicuolus - and says a lot about you.

I would imagine that the rate of divorce for those who eloped vs. those who had the big bash is probably pretty close - what is is, 50% these days? But I am not smart enough to figure it out. Nor do I care to invest the time into it. I would rather go on a date with my wife, which I will do tonight. My wife of 14 years.

former law student said...

that's Aldo Ray

Woody Harrelson's big brother.

class-factotum said...

I wanted to elope and even had my mother convinced. The main reason I wanted to elope was I wanted my outlaws nowhere near us. But they said they wanted to be there so we had to have them. (As in, I did not have the guts to insist, although in retrospect, I was an idiot.) We arranged everything so they could come. My husband even got them a direct flight to Chicago (we live in Milwaukee) so they wouldn't have to change planes and drove 180 miles round trip to get them.

Two weeks before the wedding, they told him not only were they not coming but he shouldn't marry me. OK, that wasn't a surprise -- they had told him that before. How could he marry someone of my religious and political beliefs? Where had they gone wrong?

He convinced them to come (unfortunately) and they came and stayed with us for nine days. They slept in our room because they cannot take stairs. They drank a gallon of bourbon in six days and supplemented it with wine in the evenings. They were drunk at the wedding supper.

At least they did not insult my husband's pastor or the priest or anyone in my family, although when my mother sent out photos, they complained that they were not in any of them. Oh. Could that have been because instead of going to the lake to take pictures, they went back to the house to drink?

For my Christmas present, my husband told me I did not have to accompany him to see his parents at all this year. Fortunately, they are in poor health and they drink heavily.

Elope. That is my advice to you.

HelenParr said...

He looks a little like Cary Grant.

Crushed that Elder Brother is offoffofffoffoffoffoffoff the market.

Go Team Meade.

MayBee said...

Ann Althouse:Hey, Meade put his real picture up! Ha ha. Take note!

Anyway... wow... that was distracting!


You are so so so in love with this man. How wonderful.

HelenParr said...

Now that I think of it, and not to go all Electra on you, but your intended looks a LOT like your father.

Meade said...

Yes, the road trip where we tour our beloved country in your little sports car and break bread and spill wine at meet ups with the readers who love Althouse.

Still want to do that?

(Thank you, HelenParr. Such flattery. Cool!)

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, Meade-ups!

chuck b. said...

A friend's gay brother had a pair of synchronized swimmers perform at his wedding reception. You could do that. You could be the synchronized swimmers and perform for your guests. That would be awesome. Then you really would have to fly out ZPS to blog it.

Joan said...

Meade-ups? I love it. That sounds like a fantastic honeymoon to me.

I'll stay tuned in case any of 'em are within driving distance...

Tara van Brederode said...

Liz Taylor here...I've been "down the aisle" three times.

First time was at 21, huge fancy affair, white Cinderella dress, prime rib. Ugh. Don't even consider that.

Second time was by a lesbian Baptist minister (seriously!) at 8:30 a.m., just before a flight to Italy. Family and two friends present. Great wedding, not-so-good marriage.

Third time was by a notary public (they can do weddings in Florida) on my childhood beach, with parents, sibs, and our kids. Perfect. It was December, but warm enough for everyone to splash in the ocean in our pretty dresses and suits. We honeymooned months beforehand, in Spain. We went home to my parents' house, ate appetizers, had champagne, and ate a custom-made ice cream wedding cake. We spent our wedding night in my parents' guest room, with our kids in the room down the hall.

I don't plan on doing it again, so those are your options. ;-)

Go small, with something that feels right to you two. Include anyone who wishes to be there. Don't invite people who would come out of obligation.

My two cents. But most importantly, congratulations and best wishes.

Iapetus said...

I'd hold off on the wedding and go on a trip first, to some place where the two of you have always wanted to visit. Santorini? Cinqueterre maybe? While you are there, if the mood strikes you, get married. Otherwise, hold an intimate, low-key ceremony after you get back. There's no reason to rush, is there?

And don't forget to file the pre-nupt.

mcg said...

a pair of synchronized swimmers

Oh my, how can you set up such an easy pick.

But just to make amends here's the U.S team taking the crown in 2006.

OhioAnne said...

Ann,

Thanks for following up on the suggestion. The comments were varied and interesting. As I was reading them, I could imagine some of the moments and could see why the memories were so fond.

As to your comment about honeymoons .... I can see why you would take that view and I share it to some extent. I think it would depend somewhat if the couple were starting out in a new place that was "theirs" versus the old "his" or "hers".

This comment somewhat captured what sounds like the perfect honeymoon to me - although Maui is not a prerequisite:

"The best gift we did get was one of my hubby's clients gave us 2 weeks use of their vacation home in Maui. It was great to just get away and be us.... alone.... with no jobs intruding, no family, no responsibilities, no telephone!!!! Nothing to do but be with each other with zero distractions. I highly recommend it."

Wendy said...

Well, Anne and Meade, how do you want to celebrate?

It does seem to me that the moment should be guest-blogged on Althouse. One or two interesting if unrevealing pictures - hand with pen and new ring signs certificate sort of thing.

This maybe raises the larger question - should a blogger blog her own wedding day? I'm torn. On the one hand, you love to blog, and to NOT blog seems restrictive. On the other hand, ewww. Weird. An inappropriate division of focus.

It will be interesting to see what you do.

KLDAVIS said...

We got married 'on top of a mountain' with all of 12 people in attendance (parents, siblings and one friend each)...we planned the entire thing online, from choosing the location to the officiant. It could have gone horribly wrong (they had a foot of snow the weekend before), but everything was perfect (70 and sunny). I would do it again in a heartbeat.

KLDAVIS said...

Afterward, we drove around Colorado...Steamboat and Aspen are a lot of fun in the off-off season. They resemble actual functioning towns, not just hoards of tourists. The St. Regis in Aspen has an absolutely ridiculous AAA discount...

downtownlad said...

I've never thought about it, since it is illegal for me to get married in the first place.

The Crack Emcee said...

MGC,

"I am sympathetic to The Crack Emcee's position."

Whew! O.K., so we haven't all been brainwashed by the selfish narcissistic hippie ethos of the '60s. Still, we're outnumbered, and the divorce rate sours and the country crumbles, but, as Rome burns, they press on playing fools none-the-less.

pj (not PJ),

"Ann and Crack Emcee. My aunt married a hardnose Catholic and did her 'waiting' still in the marriage due to vows - while it destroyed her kids psychologically. Absolutely Destroyed.

She got married immediately after the divorce which only happened after she dropped the faith and it's supremely happy. She still feels guilty about the marriage/divorce, but her happiness in her 2nd marriage is the best message she could ever send.

You're right though. Moms mostly get all the breaks in the blame/guilt area over the Dads. Traditionally it was the Dad cheating, boozing, abusing whatever while Mom changed the diapers. Now someone like your hypothetical comes along (What, it's not a hypothetical?) and the perceptual patterns are already set and can't see any other way."


Sounds like the husband - your uncle - is getting the short shrift in this story too. Who cares if she's happy? They got married - and now feels guilty. She must feel that way about *something*. Probably a lot she's not telling. I see it all the time. Really: the selfishness of people floors me. Are we really all disposable - the people who work for you, care for you when you're sick, and love you? Flawed? Sure. We all are. So what makes one person's singular idea of happiness so important? Marriage ain't about one person - it's two as one. If you don't get that when you're in it, then all you're doing is destroying another person's life. And that's worthy of a lifetime of guilt.

My story ain't hypothetical. My wife has killed people and it's now making the news in France (Click the tag for "Karine Anne Brunck" and "Dr. Robert Wohlfahrt" on my blog and, eventually, you'll find them). I was a well-respected "good guy" who did everything I could to help my wife - even after my marriage had crumbled from discovering all she had done - but I was blocked by everyone in the name of stupid feminism: her friends, my friends, the police, doctors, lawyers - you name it. (Hell, I still am because - seriously - nobody gives a damn about anything. I'm talking murder here and the reaction, still, is ho-hum - what's on American Idol?!?)

When the news finally broke of what was going on, just as I said, then I was rejected because none of the delusional cowards could look me in the eye after the way they treated me. That, to me, is the lesson here: Keep on insisting you can (as Oprah says) "make your own truth" and all you're doing is demanding that the "good" of this world (in the Jewish sense) be be damned.

There are no shortcuts, people, and life in ruthless. Keep up this sinister way of thinking - and that's what it is - and no good can come of it. You may find your "happiness" for a while, but practice makes perfect, and practicing to be an asshole will only make you a perfect asshole. Eventually, those around you get hurt - or, as in my ex-wife's case, killed - and that's when you realize the trap you've laid - for yourself.

Meade (Congrats - and you look like a "guy's guy" - now excuse me:)

"I'm glad I didn't skip that wedding. 

I will be overjoyed to begin our marriage in any way you and I find meaningful and with a spirit and style similar to what HelenParr describes in her 9:34 comment."

How many times you planning on repeating this process, Boy-o? Each time declaring your undying love for a lifetime? If this one doesn't work out, you gonna do it again? Gather everyone together to hear you lie your balls off?

Does anyone here understand what the word "delusional" means? I mean, really? Do you seriously think any of this talk you do is rational? What in the fuck does "I love you" mean to you people? Until it becomes inconvenient? Until you get bored? Until you meet someone else? How many times can you get away with this and still claim you have dignity? As the Gay Patriot said the other day, in a different context:

When are the Grownups going to get home?

Former law student,

"I fear that The Crack Emcee is both unchristian and unamerican."

Bullshit. Well, you're half-right: I definitely ain't Christian - I'm an atheist. But Un-American? Ha! I'm a vet who kisses the ground every time I get home. I can see four American flags, from where I'm typing this, right now. It's the abandonment of America - an abandonment that's lasted since the '60s - that disgusts me. I haven't heard one black person declare the Civil Rights Movement was a fight for hippies to betray what those brave black people died to gain. As Paul Mooney (Richard Pryor's racist joke writer) said - and I'm paraphrasing here - "Everytime black people get into a position to get somethin', white people figure out a way to fuck it up. Like I can finally afford a fur coat and now they're outlawing fur!"

I don't know what you people think you're doing but you're only making things harder for others. You can see it all around you: Your kids don't respect you. Babies are born out of wedlock, only to cause trouble when they're teens. We're going broke, and have no "community" from so little (real) concern about others - or what holds a society together. I'm sorry, but even now I'll say it, and say it loud: it's all just talk to you, that you'll abandon when you "feel" like it. You're simply not credible as adults. You're children. Immature children, and you're destroying your country.

I'm Un-American? Shit. I'm probably the last one left.

Dan from Madison,

"So what."

Like I said, immature. Who are you, Werner Ehrhard teaching est? "It may be what's so but it's also 'so what'"? Pure fucking gibberish. You people are so caught up in the selfishness of NewAge thinking it's scary. You pissed off her side of the family - with your first act as a couple - and it's "so what"? That's selfishness. Why would you do such a thing to them? What had they - they - done to you? Probably nothing but they were still worthy of the back of your hand, because you're the great "Dan From Madison" and you dismiss who you feel, when you feel, correct? That's your choice? To demoralize an entire family because you couldn't be bothered to treat them with respect? Please. Listen to you:

"Trying to tie the fact that my wife and I eloped to not taking our marriage seriously is, of course, ridicuolus - and says a lot about you."

Dan, I'm sure you take yourself very, very seriously. It's other people I'm talking about. You guys love to tout that 50% divorce rate but what's brought us there?

"I am not smart enough to figure it out. Nor do I care to invest the time into it."

I'd agree with that first sentence, and know why the second one reads as it does: because one look in a mirror, with the words "So what?" written on it, would not only be too revealing but too much of an effort. That's what people such as yourself are about now: Admittedly not being very smart, but speaking loudly anyway, while avoiding the implications of what you say. You go, you NewAger, you.

And, BTW, I was married for 20 years, so nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah Ptttthhhh!!!

Downtownlad,

Maybe if gays hadn't spent all those decades hating on "breeders," telling wives to leave their husbands, dissing marriage, and basically being pains in the asses to the institution, more people would take you seriously in the post-AIDS years? Did you ever think of that, instead of trying to guilt trip us, constantly, now? Sorry but I grew up in foster homes and too many gay people tried too much bullshit - usually revolving around sex and subversion - for me to have much sympathy without seeing some remorse for your own role in things. It's the same point, over and over, about maturity:

It ain't all about YOU,...

Dan from Madison said...

Crack Emcee - Hey, it is probably a nice day where you are, go out for a walk and get some fresh air. The name calling, junior high debate techniques and strawman arguments are not good for you. And it is below you anyway. Isn't it?

I have to admit, this is the very first time I have been called a "New Ager" - if you knew me you would have laughed as loudly as I did at that one. So I thank you for getting my morning off to a humorous start.

mcg said...

I've never thought about it, since it is illegal for me to get married in the first place.

No it isn't. You're welcome to marry any time you wish. Of course it's hard to find a woman to marry when you're gay, but it isn't illegal.

mcg said...

Crack, when I said I was sympathetic to your position, it was the general point that I made in my post: that marriage is not solely about the couple engaged in it.

But to be honest you've got a pretty twisted family and marital history, one few people have ever had to endure---I'm sure you'll agree, thank goodness for that. That history doesn't necessarily give you a more enlightened perspective though; on the contrary you ought to be more self-skeptical, not less.

I sure as hell wouldn't take marital advice from someone whose only experience with the institution was yours, and nobody should. Now, if it were confirmed by people who have had lifelong success in sustaining a healthy marriage and raising healthy children, that's another thing. I suspect some of your general principles might very well be. But you personally could use a little more humility about it, because you've not experienced it done right yourself.

Omaha1 said...

"pretty old" - I don't know why you would feel that way, you don't seem to have given up on life just yet. And love makes you young again!

As far as weddings go, I have had, sadly, three (but I intend for the third one to last). Don't want to go into all the details, but the first one I was a mere child (he left me for another woman), and the second was an ill-advised rebound thing with an intelligent but rather violent person who had a tenuous grasp on reality. The third was to my best friend, someone whose companionship I cherish with or without "sparks" (although there's nothing wrong with sparks)!

Really, you should just do whatever the two of you feel like, although I suggest there be at least a flavor of ceremony to it. Don't go to a courthouse, find a member of the clergy with whom you are comfortable, and have him/her conduct the vows. Nothing can compare to standing before a man of God with your betrothed and hearing him read those majestic words, "Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today..." Even if you aren't particularly religious yourself, the thought of the Creator blessing and recognizing your union is a great comfort.

For my best (and last) wedding, once we made up our minds to do it, we called up our pastor and made an appointment for later in the week. We invited four of our closest friends, and bought new clothes for ourselves and our children. My husband had to coach his daughter's softball game that afternoon, but after that we had a nice dinner cooked by our friends, and a cake decorated with fresh flowers from my neighbor's garden. We thought it best not to tell our family until after the deed was done, since it was a third marriage for both of us, and they would have felt obligated to spend a lot of money traveling to the wedding. We were planning to have a big reception later but we were married in 2001 and the darkness of September 11 made that idea seem inappropriate.

Crack Emcee, I do sympathize with your dismay at the apparent meaninglessness of today's wedding vows. It is very painful for the couple and their children when such are forsaken. However, I think it better to make a new covenant in that case, than for someone to condemn themselves to a lifetime of loneliness. Man was not meant to be alone.

Diane Wilson said...

C. and I married over a Korean dinner. Just us, the minister, two witnesses, and a guest of one of the witnesses.

The minister found that kim chee was too much of a shock for him.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"I've never thought about it, since it is illegal for me to get married in the first place."

Dang, what is the satisfaction in being the skeleton at the feast? Seriously?

I agreed with the gay bar people who didn't want to have their bar taken over by bachelorette parties. By the same token, this is Ann's blog and the header on the post is accurately indicative of what the comments will be about. She doesn't deserve to be smacked in the face for daring to be happy.

I'm sure there's 1000's of blogs out there where you do not have to read about heterosexuals getting married, if it causes you pain. Since you are no doubt aware of this, I conclude that either you're enjoying eating worms or you resent others' pleasure. How attractive, either way.

Tari said...

My husband and I still believe we had the perfect wedding - so I guess we did for the 2 of us. We took 2 good friends about an hour into Hill Country (we were in Austin at law school at the time) and were married by a JP in Blanco, TX. A 4 minute ceremony. Afterwards we tailgated on the maid-of-honor's Tahoe (with champagne, of course) and then drove back to Austin to have dinner at the Shoreline Grill. We had to go back to class that next Monday, and my husband had a summer clerkship that year, so we waited until August to go to BC for the honeymoon. Oh, and my MIL threw us a small party that June when we got home to Houston - maybe 30 friends. A perfect way to begin 13 (and counting) years together. We highly recommend something similar! After all, how can you pass up on something like this?

http://thegrasswidowsdiary.blogspot.com/2009/01/happy-anniversary-to-us.html

The Crack Emcee said...

Dan From Madison,

"The name calling, junior high debate techniques and strawman arguments are not good for you. And it is below you anyway. Isn't it?"

Dan (my man) where I come from, if you whip out the old "strawman" gambit, you'd get your ass kicked. People debate using words like this:

That Madison kid? That fucker wouldn't know his head from a hole in the ground."

"Um-hm"


You're not as smart as you think, Dan. You want certain behaviors enforced as a blind for you to hide behind. That "so what?" reveals you have no principles:

Prin⋅ci⋅ple   [prin-suh-puhl] –noun
1. An accepted or professed rule of action or conduct:
a person of good moral principles.

Not having principles says you're a NewAger. Like most who have bought into the NewAge belief system, you're ignorant of it. You missed the movement (seen best in publishing) from the "occult" to "NewAge" to "Mind/Body" as this thinking has advanced in our culture. Since the joke of the "Harmonic Convergence", even total NewAgers deny they're NewAgers now. They're "progressives" or "spiritual, not religious" or *something* - anything but NewAgers.

And, no, I'm not laughing.

Mcg,

"Crack, when I said I was sympathetic to your position, it was the general point that I made in my post: that marriage is not solely about the couple engaged in it. 

But to be honest you've got a pretty twisted family and marital history, one few people have ever had to endure---I'm sure you'll agree, thank goodness for that. That history doesn't necessarily give you a more enlightened perspective though; on the contrary you ought to be more self-skeptical, not less. 

I sure as hell wouldn't take marital advice from someone whose only experience with the institution was yours, and nobody should. Now, if it were confirmed by people who have had lifelong success in sustaining a healthy marriage and raising healthy children, that's another thing. I suspect some of your general principles might very well be. But you personally could use a little more humility about it, because you've not experienced it done right yourself."

Ah, yes: humility. What? Are you the fucking Buddha? Demanding we all crawl around acting shy? Fuck that noise. (Is this whole blog filled with NewAgers?) I know what I know and I'm not ashamed of it. Do you demand Rush Limbaugh act shy on his show? Even he says, when you know something, the first thing NewAgers will do is try to shut you down, make you act humble, etc. - and he rejects it, just as I do. You guyas really don't know what you're about, do you? That's bizarre on a so-called "conservative" blog.

As far as my marital history goes, what am I to do with mental illness? For 20 years I held a marriage together. As far as giving advice , that's all that matters. I didn't kill anyone, so why would you cast aspersions on me? What, in my marriage history, makes me a bad guy to get advice from? I did my part, played my role, and still got placed in a shitty position by a woman who was sick and led astray by NewAge - nothing I could do about it but accept reality: she's crazy - and other people being dead proved it.

You're wrong: I did it right - and for a long time, under highly unusual circumstances. Most people couldn't endure what I have, making me more than able to say how it's done.

Omaha1,

"Crack Emcee, I do sympathize with your dismay at the apparent meaninglessness of today's wedding vows. It is very painful for the couple and their children when such are forsaken. However, I think it better to make a new covenant in that case, than for someone to condemn themselves to a lifetime of loneliness. Man was not meant to be alone."

Agreed. O.K., now I'll show my own ignorance:

Is a "new covenant" another marriage?

I'm asking; I really don't know.

amba said...

@Bissage: for three and a half minutes, the world seemed right.

I used to envy the Hare Krishnas. They seemed to be dancing all the time. Except when they were washing dishes.

The Crack Emcee said...

"I used to envy the Hare Krishnas. They seemed to be dancing all the time. Except when they were washing dishes."

Bwwwaaaahahaha!!! Whew!

mcg said...

Crack, your own history betrays you. You married a sociopath. That either means you made her into one---or, far more likely, she already was one.

So no, you didn't "get it right", as you claim. You blew the *start* by failing to see who she was. You got snowed, MC. That makes you *particularly* ill-suited to comment about whether Ann picked right with Meade or vice versa.

I don't even concede that you did the right thing after that. I've read enough of your first-hand accounts on your blog. She played you for years in ways even the most conservative anti-divorce types would blanch about. Divorce is not the only disciplinary option within a marriage you know.

Sure, fuck humility if you insist. But try reality instead.