When my mom got married in the 50’s, weddings followed some simple rules and formulas. Most weddings looked and felt pretty much the same, and the only real pressing question was whether to follow conventional religious tradition, meaning at the time to have it in the morning and skip the alcohol. Often the church ladies would prepare food and the simple little reception featured punch, tea sandwiches and cookies. Sometimes the wedding and the gathering afterword took place in the bride’s home, with the mother of the bride taking great personal pride in the occasion. This was not considered unusual or disappointing as likely it would today, and as decades passed, folks would simply head out afterward to keep the thing going. The most popular option was to get married in a church or temple and party it up afterward at another location. Variations of this style lasted into the 90’s, with a few changes, but the idea remaining the same, that a wedding was about the marriage with some polite social observance of the event to follow. Somewhere along the line, couples started having evening weddings, which led to more instances of parties lasting into the night, and a feeling of including guests in a more personal way. This was a big change and the tone was set for the reception rather than the ceremony to become the main event. Another change took place when couples started opting for having the ceremony and reception at the same location.
Fast forward to 2011, and couples are finding ways on top of ways to make their wedding and celebration stand out. Good-bye satin dresses, three attendants on each side, rice and bird seed, red or pink roses, and white pew bows and wedding cakes with white frosting. Hello burlap, pink with green or green with purple, chandeliers, uneven numbers of attendants, short bridesmaids dresses, and photo booths. What’s next? You can bet it will swing away from all that was new just a few wedding moments ago. What an exciting time to be in our profession and what a fun time to be dreaming of a wedding. This will be remembered as the time when couples were given permission to have their wedding, their way, with lots of thought given to how to involve guests in memorable ways. Some will no doubt become cliches, and disappear into memory.
Meanwhile, I will continue to ponder the question as to why I once fell head over heels in love with a white satin dress with poofy sleeves and a three foot wide bow in the back. I wonder if it is too late to trash the dress?