Old Wedding, New Website

Well, according to Salon.com’s Broadsheet, wedding websites are the latest rage.  Why, I asked myself, did my husband and I miss yet another significant social trend?

Oh, that’s right.  The Internet hadn’t been invented when we got married 35 years ago.

But why quibble?  It’s not too late.  I’ll use this space to recall the small, tasteful (read: cheap and hippie-like) wedding we had in 1972.

WHERE:  It was at the bride’s parents’ house, in the den, in front of the fireplace.  The bride’s father, who never had been mechanically inclined (kind of like the groom, now the bride thinks of it) was ordered to reset the family’s collection of bonging clocks so they wouldn’t make a racket.  Unfortunately, he miscalculated.  During a small period of silence — which was used to replace a prayer, since the bride and groom were both agnostics — one clock began to gong enthusiastically.  It sounded, roughly, like the bell of doom.  Had the bride and groom not been so hungover, they might have heeded the warning.

WHO OFFICIATED:  A minister from a local church who was quite sweet and heavily West Texas-accented.  He had tried, the week earlier, to instruct the bride and groom about making annual lists to chart the progress of their marriage.  Unfortunately, in the years that followed, the minister’s own annual list included a stay in the state penitentiary, after he was convicted of embezzling church funds to support his mistress.

WHO ATTENDED: Mostly family members.  As the groom’s brother mentioned later, he only learned he was the best man at the wedding after reading it in the newspaper.  Almost nobody cried, except for the groom’s mother, who was overcome with grief at the point of no return.

WHAT THE BRIDE WORE: A pink dress.  Many in attendance probably thought the rather loose dress served to mask an advanced pregnancy.

WHAT THE GROOM WORE: Nobody remembers.

WHERE THEY HONEYMOONED: At a cheap, West Texas motel.  The all-inclusive night included free breakfast the next day.

HOW THEY MET:  In the high-school band, which is a source of great embarrassment to their children.  “Just don’t tell anybody that,” they plead.

MUSIC DURING THE CEREMONY: Provided by a nice, rather tone-deaf pianist who played both Beethoven and the Beatles to the same rollicking beat.  She was so enthusiastic she had to be begged to quit playing at the reception.

PROPOSAL: Participants strongly suspect illegal substances were involved in this endeavor.  In any event, bent knees were not involved.

WEDDING THEME:  “Well, we’ll just see if it works.”

NOTABLE PRESENTS:  Ashtrays, quiche pans, waffle irons, small checks — all of which were delivered to the lobby of the apartment building where the bride and groom had already lived for six months, claiming they were already a married couple.  The apartment manager, who strongly suspected the couple was behind a series of gallon wine jugs being thrown down the fourth-floor trash chute and crashing loudly on the ground floor, did not appear surprised.  He remained embittered as the couple pulled other occasional, harmless tricks such as signs in the elevator announcing that fat people on the second floor were ineligible to ride the elevator and should take their objections to the manager if they felt offended.

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

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