Monday, August 02, 2010

Chelsea and Me

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Today some stranger sent me an email that said, "You are a nut case." Well, I must admit this never would have occurred to me. Everyone else is a nut case. I'm the sane one. I think.

With a Lughnasadh observance and a little prayer to Faerie Aine in between, I will now continue to explore the pitfalls of lavish and expensive weddings. Frankly I'm superstitious about them. I've seen many that have crashed and burnt, a few more where that day was the highlight of a long and soggy marriage, and a few that have gone awry due to participant intake of alcoholic concoctions.

It's not fair to disrespect big weddings in a vacuum, though. What if I, Anne Johnson, had a largish, expensive, scrupulously-planned nuptial? Then I would be a hypocrite.

I'm not a hypocrite. Let me, in a nutshell, describe the Johnson marriage ceremony.

Mr. Johnson and I had been living together, on and off, for about four years before we tied the knot. I therefore felt it bad form to plan and execute a lavish wedding. I know, I know. How 20th century of me! Besides, my dad was a school teacher in Appalachia, earning something like $35,000 a year at the time. I had paid my way through college, and I wanted to keep the independent streak going.

Quick Facts about Anne's Wedding

1. Contacted minister on Tuesday, scheduled wedding for Thursday ... but only after minister cleared it with Anne's notoriously temperamental mom.

2. Went through wardrobe, found white skirt and top. No white shoes. Wore brown ones.

3. Applied for marriage license in home town. Picked it up the next day. Ordered a corsage from a local flower shop.

4. Loaned my sister a dress that sort of matched mine.

5. Made a luncheon reservation at hometown's upscale-but-not-at-the-top eatery.

6. A few phone calls, inviting family and arranging carpools.

The Ceremony

1. Held in small chapel of one of the smallest country churches in the county. No video. No professional photos. No music. No sermon. No scripture. No fancy personalized vows. No tears.

2. Fourteen guests, plus pastor makes 15 in attendance.

The Reception

1. Fourteen hosted for lunch at the eatery. No booze. (I let Dad foot the bill for this. It was less than $150 with tip. He was pleased.)

2. About 60 hosted at the home of Mr. Johnson's mother a few days later. She made all the food. We reimbursed her for costs, using money our family members had given us in congratulations cards.

You would think, wouldn't you, that many a trailer park gunshot wedding has more flair than this. True, very true. But this little teeny tiny wedding has stuck for a quarter century.

I'm superstitious about big weddings. If you had one, and it was fun and the beginning of a great life filled with love and happiness, please challenge my superstition. But do me one favor. Wait a few years, until my daughters are married, before you sing the praises of a high-ticket nuptial!


miakoda said...

That sounds like a perfectly good wedding to me -- when my boyfriend and I finally get around to it, I imagine we'll just sign the paperwork and host a barbecue to celebrate. (Much to Mom's chagrin ... but I think she's finally given up hope for a prissy church wedding for me. I'm leaving that up to my brothers!)

Congratulations on 25 years with Mr. Johnson!

Intense Guy said...

Congrats on the quarter century - I hope the fates bring you at least another quarter.

Your wedding seems a ... tad minimal - but it's the outcome that matters. Any bets on Chelsea's not lasting 5 years? I know that's crude, rude, and mean - but I'd put $20 on it not making it 10 years.

greekwitch said...

Oh my Gods! I can't believe that. My wedding was exactly like this without the minister(civil) and the sister(only child).

greekwitch said...

Oh but our handfasting was a whole different story. Although we were totally alone, it was a lot of work, a lot of fun, very romantic and cost us (a lot of) money(considering we were just the two of us, in our summer house for just one day). How much can two people eat you ask? A lot!!!

Janis Bland said...

My first wedding was more of a splash, but not really overdone. However, when David & I married in 2005, we had the ceremony at the Episcopal Church I was raised, had maybe 40 family and friends, former colleagues, and had a party at my parents' house. The food was all cooked by myself with a hand from Mom. Coolers of beverage. Really, just like a big ol' BBQ.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've often noticed, among my friends and family, that the most lavishly expensive weddings end up in divorce court fairly quickly and the cheap "do it yourself in the backyard" ones endure forever. Perhaps the ones who have the lavish weddings are too much into the surface appearance of things and can't go the distance when reality sets in, I don't know?

Alex Pendragon said...

What Debra She Who Seeks Said..........

Lori F - MN said...

My gown cost $200, including the veil and crenolins. The reception was in the church basement and served by friends of my MIL. She called in her favors. The food was either made by me, MIL or SIL. The cake was a gift from a family friend. The Photographer was paid for by my in-laws. Been married for almost 25 years. [next year]
flip side? My sister got married in a 2nd hand dress in a park with just a few guests and got divorced. 2nd marriage - civil ceramony. only witnesses. marriage lasted over 10 years but still a divorce.
It's more how the couple works together on the planning that makes the difference - i think.

Lavanah said...

hmm, I guess, Anne, you won't want the details of any of my families weddings until your daughters have had their nuptial celebrations (and may they be after the graduation/degree received celebrations!), but my family experiences are pretty much counter to all of the other commentators experiences...

nettle said...

One morning many years ago, at Starwood festival, I was lazing in a hammock in the trees feeling content with the world. The future Mr. Nettle (with whom I'd already been cohabitating for a few years) found me there and said, "You're so pretty, I ought to marry you." I opened up one eye and said, "Okay, sure." He said, "today?" and I said, "if you like."

So he went and talked to our priestess, and she talked to everyone else. A few hours later a group of lovely maidens came to my tent, bedecked me with flowers and dressed me up, and led me to a sacred grove where my beloved awaited, along with a priestess and a large and motley gathering of friends, family and total strangers. She handfasted us before the Gods and everybody.

We did another, more legally binding ceremony a few months later, but the one that counted was the one we did that day at Starwood, for free.

Lori F - MN said...

Nettle, sounds wonderful. I sort of wish mine had been like that.
I think so many brides are brainwashed into thinking what they want is a big wedding. By their mom's [who may not have had one] and society. Bridezilla anyone?

Kimberly in AK said...

As a recent bride- married 23 day's ago I can say that the wedding industry almost gave me an ulcer.

I then went to the blog-o-sphere and found some great sites like "2000 Dollar Wedding" and "With This Ring" these blogs helped me keep my head on straight.

Mama Kelly aka Jia said...

Hubby and I had a teeny tiny wedding ourselves and 16 years later are still going strong.

Most of the lavish weddings I attended as a guest have not been nearly so lucky

Rick Loftus, M.D. said...

Anne, you *are* a nut. That's why we love you.
Seriously, your wedding was sane and human scale. My most sane friends all eloped, now that I think about it...

kimc said...

My sister has been married four times: the first had 350 guests and the marriage lasted two years, the second had 50 guests and lasted nine years, the third had 14 guests (and I married them, with my Universal Life Church license) and lasted twelve or fourteen years, and the last was a Baha'i wedding with about fifty people and they seem to be still going strong -- about five years.
My one and only wedding was when I was a week shy of 49, and we tried to do it cheap, but ended up spending about $5,000 total. Sixty-five guests, pot-luck food. Where did all that money go? We are still happily married 11 1/2 years later.

Anonymous said...

Big does not necessarily mean high ticket.

We had 2 ceremonies - the official one in the judge's office with about 6 people in attendance, everybody in blue jeans, & lunch after in a nice but not expensive eatery. 2 days later, the wedding "for everybody", with about 200 people in attendance. I made my wedding dress and my friends & I made the clothes for the wedding party (medieval, not traditional). Friends catered the food for cost, & friends created the cake as a gift, & friends helped me make all the silk flower decorations.

I made the invitations with inexpensive software I found online.

The only thing I paid a professional for was the photographer, because we are both unphotogenic. Sadly, it didn't help.

The total bill for both weddings was around $3000, mostly for fabric and various supplies at craft stores. And everybody had a fabulous time.

I have great friends.