May 1, 2009

"Am I the only one who thinks a big wedding is inappropriate for two people who have been living together?"

A post I wrote exactly 4 years ago — when, unlike now, I had no thought of getting married myself — reread this morning — after someone left a new comment. I still agree with what I wrote there and am still amused by all the pushback I got in the comments.


Joaquin said...

Regardless of living together or not, I'm not very fond of BIG weddings. Why? I have no idea. I just think that an intimate gathering of family and close friends is more appropriate.
60-80 people max.

The River Otter said...

Weddings (and receptions) are about the party! They have nothing to do with "marriage" whatsoever, IMHO.

knox said...

Hmmm. Not sure what constitutes "big," but if a close friend of mine got married and didn't have a wedding/ reception, I'd be a little disappointed. For a second marriage, I agree, a big wedding is weird. But I would have no problem if a couple had a private wedding, but a big party with NO GIFTS.

I recently found out what it's like when a bride decides to register for luxurious items. I had to choose amongst many very expensive things from Williams Sonoma. That was no fun. Listen, we all want a kitchen full of All-Clad, but we can't all have it. I felt like I was being extorted.

Ron said...

Can you invite Sullivan and Palin so she can kick his butt over by the chopped liver swan? 'Cause the blogosphere wants to see that!

Hoosier Daddy said...

I had to choose amongst many very expensive things from Williams Sonoma. That was no fun. Listen, we all want a kitchen full of All-Clad, but we can't all have it. I felt like I was being extorted..

That's when you bring a check for $50 and call it a day.

Mrs. Hoosier registered at LS Ayres (when they existsed) and I think Sears. Unfortunately my preferred place, Liquor Barn didn't do gift registration so I was shit out of luck.

knox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Can you invite Sullivan and Palin so she can kick his butt over by the chopped liver swan? 'Cause the blogosphere wants to see that!"


"That's when you bring a check for $50 and call it a day."

$50? How about a set of matching napkins from Target, on clearance?

knox said...

the chopped liver swan

LOL! gross!

MadisonMan said...

We registered at Marshall Fields, and also Ross Simons. But we were careful to add very thrifty things -- kitchen towels, measuring cups, that kind of thing, mostly because I was in grad school as were most of my friends. I usually give cash as a gift. The nice thing about giving presents, though, is that I still remember who gave us all the wedding gifts that we're still using. Some of the givers are dead now, and it's a nice way to remember them.

I don't really like big weddings, mostly because I'm not one to work a crowd. It is fun to observe others there, but I'd rather have something smallish with family, and get all caught up on what the cousins are doing.

k*thy said...

I think I advocated for some kind of celebration for your wedding, because I think it's important to share the day in some fashion, with your loved ones. Big? That's up to the couple.

rhhardin said...

Back at the beginning the point of a wedding was that you two marry each other and everybody else is a witness.

If you're living together that has sort of already been done.

Issob Morocco said...

How selfish of you to deny friends, relatives and business associates the opportunity for free food and drinks!!


Hint:Kashi Frozen Pizza makes great Hors D'Oeuvres!

Peter V. Bella said...

Look, get married, and either have a party or just go on vacation. Big weddings are a waste of money, time, effort, and stress- the bridezilla complex.

Some years back there was a stroy floating around about a bride's father. He looked at the coast of a wedding, pullled his little girl aside, and told her she had two choices; the big wedding or elope and he would use the money for a down payment on their home.

That is one sensible dad.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Nope...You aren't the only one and especially for a second wedding.

A big formal wedding, white dress and all the traditions is just silly. Actually it is foolish for a first wedding as well. The money spent could be put to better use: downpayment on a house, pay down debt, investments for the future, even a nice honeymoon for a memorable trip the couple will probably never take again.

A party, of course!!, is in order to bring together friends and family to share in the happiness of the marriage. No gifts should be expected or requested. Just everyone getting together for a good time.

MadisonMan said...

That is one sensible dad.Hardly. The sensible Dad would save his money for his retirement.

class-factotum said...

I wonder how many brides and grooms pay for their own big, expensive weddings. I'll bet most of the blowouts come out of daddy's pockets, which makes me wonder what daddy is thinking.

I wanted to elope. I had no interest in funding a big to-do. I'd rather have a paid-for house. I also had no interest whatsoever in having my outlaws attend, which almost happened anyhow, as they called two weeks before the wedding to tell my husband that not only were they not coming (don't let the door hit ya!) but that he shouldn't marry me.

We ended up with a very small, immediate family only deal, with a 15-minute ceremony, supper at a nice restaurant after, and then a weekend at our house with some nice meals cooked in and hanging out. His parents drank a gallon of booze in six days plus wine every night.

former law student said...

I like going to big weddings, so for me they're always appropriate.

The daughter of a friend of mine had a hurry-up civil ceremony in Reno so her fiance could stay in this country.

Four years, and two kids, later, they decided to have a church ceremony. In their tradition, they had enough attendants to make the wedding program look like a prep school graduation.

It was a lot of fun for all concerned, and solved the problem of "the bigger the wedding the shorter the marriage." One of the reasons it went so well, I think, is that the couple were used to working together.

goesh said...

- find the nearest Justice of the Peace and get it over with, better to put the money on the mortgage, well, get a few friends drunk, what the hell.......

PatCA said...

For a young couple that has been living together, yes, it's silly. Especially if they go through with a religious wedding ceremony! Come on, they are not beginning their life together in accordance with their religion, so just have the dang secular party and skip the showers, etc. It becomes a dramatic reenactment, not a sacred event.

Kirk Parker said...

But Hoosier, at least with Liquor Barn it's not a problem when 10 guests all bring you exactly the same gift, right?

"I'd rather have something smallish with family, and get all caught up on what the cousins are doing."

Note that for some of us, including all the cousins and having a small event are mutually exclusive.

Trooper York said...
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mcg said...

Oh yeah, I remember that thread. I deleted a couple of posts that I had made, thinking that I *must* have misunderstood the point. Then it turns out I might not have :)

Why would someone spend a year or more and thousands (or even tens of thousands) on a wedding---a ceremony that lasts an hour tops and a reception that lasts just a few more? I argue that's no big deal if those doing the planning have in view the tremendous value of what is to come for the rest of their lives. Traditionally a wedding was a big deal because marriage is a big deal.

Now that society has cheapened marriage, I'm thinking maybe an audience in front of a judge and a round of drinks at TGI Fridays is probably par, and anything more is extravagance. Not that I have anything against extravagance, I truly don't. I like big weddings and I had one myself! I'm just making a comment about the disproportionality.

And of course there are still plenty of rulebreakers that truly do live and practice the "for better or worse til death do you part thing". (I'd like to think I'm one of those people. We've had a couple of worses to go with our betters, so I'm doing alright so far. But I estimate I'm about 54 years away from actual proof. ) Alas, as proportional as their weddings may be, they do look the same as everyone else's...

Ron said...

Is there an Official Twitterer for the Althouse Wedding?

Rose said...

It will be impossible for you to have a small wedding - I'm guessing - your friends list alone will decide it - and there's nothing inappropriate about celebrating two people deciding to spend the rest of their lives together. IMHO

Wish you the best.

The Elder said...

Perhaps when you attend a particular wedding later this month, you will see why this particular bride and groom want so much to have a wedding.

Today, it seems that families, scattered and disjointed as they are, only gather for funerals. This couple got married in December, but want to bring each of their families together for joyous reasons. (Meeting you will be one of them!)

By the way, nice turkeys! Do they run?

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

@The Elder Yeah, it will be nice to meet the family.

@Trooper The quest book? Sounds too difficult!

The Elder said...

For Trooper:

Quest book? Great idea! Making a life together is certainly an adventure. It must have been filled with the wisdom of your guests.

It sure sounds to me like you weren't overdoing anything. Just a low key celebration.

Paddy O. said...

Well, as among the more recently married of the Althouse commenters, here's our story.

Big church wedding. She worked at a church, and had all kinds of family and friends in the area. She was also going to be moving from the area, so the wedding was the last big event she might see a lot of these people at.

Bout 300 people or so. Pastor was her pastor from her childhood, and the father of her best friend.

The church was not her church but a nearby much bigger church that had ample seating and a pretty big foyer. In that foyer was the reception.

Cake was made by a church friend who does wedding catering. She also did all the catering. Cake was donated, catering (no sit down dinner, just fancy hors d'œuvreof manifold varieties).

The setup and arrangement was done by family and family friends (some of whom are wedding coordinators). Hair done by a friend who is a hairdresser.

Wedding dress and photographer were the big costs. We paid for the groomsmens' tuxes.

Total cost: about $6500. Mostly paid for by her mother.

Real trip coming up later, so a drive down the 101 from Portland to Pasadena was the scenic drive to our home.

That was mostly for her side of the family who lives in Oregon.

Three months later we had a California reception at a local restaurant--rented out the place for the afternoon. Wonderful dinner, dessert. Overlooking a lake. My wife wrote a song for me and sang it for me for the first time. Very amazing.

Wonderful, classic celebration in Oregon, and a wonderful, delightful, good ol' fashioned feast in California. Just the way humans have celebrated for a whole long time.

Honoring a key moment of life is good for the soul and mind. It magnifies the moment in a time of celebration with family, friends, and whoever wants to come.

It's a time to laugh loudly, drink bountifully, eat freely, and just plain celebrate the goodness that is life.

The rest of life is filled with concerns, security, privacy. Feasting for a wedding is a symbol of being free to truly live.

Of course, from the beginning we made a pact that our goal at every step was to "have fun". We defied expectations and conventions when we wanted to, and we did a lot of things our own way, even as we kept a lot of traditions. Some people get so burdened with the expectations that it's a whole lot of money for little actual fun.

Our wedding was a perfect day, going right from beginning to end. Even the sun came out, and Mt. Hood was visible all afternoon--a rare moment in the midst of one of the most snow filled winters in Portland history. It rained and snowed the week (more like month) before and the week after.

But on our day there was wonderful sun.

I took it as a sign.

Loved the wedding. Wonderful memory. Totally worth the money.

Love being married.

Paddy O. said...

oh, and we used an Andy Goldsworthy book called Passage for our guestbook.

No wooden teeth, unfortunately. Almost had a Conestoga wagon, but unfortunately the End of the Oregon Trail museum was booked up for the reception.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph said...

My parents had a 3 week engagement and a large but low-budget wedding, yet still raked in lots of booty.

Penny said...

No you are not the only one that thinks the way you do, Ann. Have a dang party AFTER some smaller private ceremony. Further, don't ask your parents for any money for this party. Many kids who are making more money than their nearly retired parents are still expecting their parents to foot part of their wedding expense, and that's just WRONG. I've had too many conversations with parents on this very topic. The ones who pay or help to pay for the wedding are really angry about the position they've been put into and the ones who don't pay or contribute feel guilty. It's sad really.