"Helping people who help people"

I just spent an evening first visiting a used book store in search of ‘old’ wedding books. I found what I was looking for – an old Emily Post Wedding Etiquette book written in 1982 (really the dawning of the weddings of today as contrasted to our parents weddings (unless this was your parents wedding years which makes me feel old!)

The few things in Emily Posts wedding etiquette book that most fascinated me:

Get married no more than 3-4 months after the engagement. The idea of making it fast to not only get “on with your life” but really because you will want to be spending every waking moment with your fiance(e) and yet you’ll have a very busy life planning the wedding, having a job, and setting up “house” through all the things you need as a married woman. She even has examples of the bridal trousseau. (I can’t believe I actually spelled that right – just had to google it.) This was similar to what is now called the wedding registry checklist – things you need to make a home, from the quantity of bed linens to just the various things you will want to own to make your home complete.

This era, early 80’s was the beginning of not having your wedding at home but somewhere like your parents club or a hotel/restaurant. This of course meant things were much more expensive so great care had to be put into thinking this through – as today one has to really think about the budget and what is important to you.

This etiquette book says that wedding etiquette applies no matter the wedding size, but another wedding etiquette book says that size does impact whether you have to really follow the formal wedding etiquette norms or not. Huh. Emily Post’s book also says the bride pays for the flowers but acknowledges in some parts of the country the grooms parents pay for the flowers (answers that question – regional wedding etiquette so I haven’t encountered the grooms family paying except in a CRAZY story in the papers recently about a bride suing her florist for $400,000 because the flowers weren’t the right tone/color. In her case her mother-in-law actually paid for the flowers, at a whopping $27,000.)

So I then head to a great ice cream place and read the latest Minnesota Bride magazine top award winners issue of local Minnesota wedding vendors. I read every article, every ad, and just get enraptured with it all – the feel, the colors, the tone. I had some similar feelings while wedding planning but if I can admit this – I felt more sadness this time. Any particular ad or story was great but just finishing this ONE wedding magazine made me feel lucky that I’m already married. Here’s what goes through my head:

How in the world can any of see all these amazing ads and high cost vendors and then turn around and chose a less costly, less beatiful/amazing wedding option without feeling slighted or frustrated?

Why am I having a bit of a reaction to a VERY, VERY new wedding trend of offering guests late night snacks at the end of the reception? At face value, and as someone who needs to eat small meals every few hours, I’d LOVE to be a guest at one of these weddings. Basically couples are now adding an element of food at the end since many of us eat dinner at 6:30, dance for a few hours then are starving by the time we leave a wedding reception. Witht his new trend you can order a bunch of pizzas for your guests, or fast food, or have a taco bar, or really anything-goes, no matter how formal your own wedding was. My cynical side is saying, “is this just another way for caterers to eek out more money from brides?” My inquisitive side says, “have weddings just gotten so darn long anymore that there is an actual need for a 2nd meal?” And the part of me that gets sad things, “wow, the average bride is already spending $27,000 for a wedding, I really don’t, as a guest, need her to spend another $300+ to feed me a SECOND meal!”

Lately I think I’m just sad for all the newly (and not so newly) engaged brides who are so overwhelmed with the logistics, and overwhelmed emotionally with the wedding planning, that they don’t know what to do but fantasize about eloping. While eloping is a valid option, I think any family reunion and bringing together everyone you love you is a fabulous thing – and to not do that simply because the wedding world seems too hard to manage… it just frustrates me! There is nobody to blame. We’re all in the roller coaster together – brides/grooms, wedding vendors, parents, guests.

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