Dating Then and Now – Part V
Weddings and marriages then and now
Weddings have changed dramatically. Many of us had very simple weddings – austere, really by today’s standards. There was very little expense. Acapella music. Congregational singing. Few flowers. Modest clothing. No tuxedos. No gowns. No coordinators, no fancy cakes. No expensive photography. Sound too simple? Emphasis was on the marriage, not on the wedding. Guests were congenial. Fellowship was good. Family was there. We were getting married. What more could we want?
We were so eager to be married. We were in love and wanted to live together in holy matrimony until “death do us part.” Come whatever, we knew we had tied a permanent knot. Were there struggles? YES! Mostly we told no one about our struggles! We just toughed it out. There was no pre-marital counseling. There was no post-marital counseling. We married young and learned to live and learn and love together. Not all was wedded bliss but we did not give up. We stayed together through thick and thin. For better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health….
Expectations were more modest. Energy was high. Work was hard. That was life. Many of us started with no money. Rent was reasonable and we worked our way up the ladder of life. Children came. Families grew. Family “planning’ was not a commonly known term. Life was good. Farming, building, fixing, canning, sewing, diapers – on and on – Life. Went. Fast. Now we are old. Times have changed.
The wedding trip (honeymoon) was brief and simple. We went to Niagara Falls or maybe even to Florida. We drove our gas guzzlers (at 27 cents a gallon). No trips to exotic islands. (That idea would never have occurred to our minds.) There were seedy motels for 7 dollars a night. Nice motels for 10 dollars a night or luxury motels for 15 dollars a night. Times were tough. My first job paid 1 dollar and 90 cents per hour. That was a huge improvement over working hard for a farmer for 1 dollar an hour and working at the hospital for 42 dollars a week. (It was better also than my Dad who worked for 10 dollars a month.)
Weddings seem complicated today. Everything has to be timed just right. Fancy clothing for bride and groom, and mothers. Expensive bills for flowers and cakes and wedding trip. People are nervous or so it seems. Fathers just seem to be there to pay the bills.
Exhortation – We could invest less in the wedding and more in the marriage. Pre-marital counseling with a wise pastor is a good idea. There are some good books on marriage and family. Age can prevent some the repeatable mistakes of youth. It is possible to live well and live good and bless your world, have fun and keep your sanity all at the same time. Keep life simple, including dating and weddings. Focus more on the friendship and the marriage, not as much on the wedding or the wedding trip.
A short honeymoon at a quiet get away may be the best investment. Save some of the fun for later. Take a longer trip after you know each other better when you will have energy to share without the pressures of early marriage.
There are simple weddings today. They always feel like a breath of fresh air. Not so much pressure and not so expensive and/or ostentatious. The couple looks happier and ends the day refreshed instead of exasperated and exhausted. Friday evening weddings are becoming more common. Keep it simple. Leave for the honeymoon and have all day Saturday for yourselves.
Moms and Dads should relax a bit also so they can enjoy the day. If there are a couple of wrinkles in the dresses, trousers or the program, you will still get married. Keep the wrinkles out of the relationships and the keep the expectations low.
Let’s move toward simple. Simple gifts and simple joys are best. Enjoy the day and the days to follow. Life gets intense quickly enough without starting out in marriage that way. Maybe retro weddings could come back in style and the next generations of marriages could experience the simplicity of the past.