I’ve been watching quite a few TV reality shows about weddings lately, and all I can say is weddings certainly have changed since back when I got married.
First of all, most of the brides-to-be on TV hire professional wedding planners to handle their weddings. These planners basically take care of everything from scouting venues for the wedding to picking out the color of the bridesmaids’ underwear, to make certain it matches the bride’s selected color scheme. In other words, the planners do just about all of the legwork and make wedding planning a whole lot easier for the bride.
I sure wish planners had been in vogue back when I got married. My mother and I were the only people planning my wedding. My husband-to-be couldn’t have cared less about things such as whether the bridesmaids’ bouquets should contain red carnations…or poison ivy. His favorite answer to my questions during the entire wedding-planning process was, “Anything you choose is fine with me, sweetheart,” which translated into, “If I had it my way, we’d elope to Las Vegas and be married by an Elvis impersonator.”
The main problem my mother and I encountered was we were clueless about how to plan a wedding. We became intimately acquainted with the yellow pages of the phone book as we looked up everything from rental halls to caterers. Basically, we used the “eenie meenie” method.
On TV, most weddings nowadays have themes. One wedding was called, “Christmas in July.” Another was, “The Fairyland Forest.” And then there was the really strange “Nuptials of the Living Dead,” where the happy couple dressed as zombies, served punch that looked like blood, and had a tattoo artist set up a booth to tattoo guests, free of charge.
The theme for my wedding was…A Wedding. I mean, back then, that’s all weddings were…just weddings. And the decorations usually didn’t involve bringing in hundreds of live trees to make a fairy forest, or using fake coffins for tables. No, decorating for a wedding in those days usually meant heading over to the popular Art Novelty store in Manchester and stocking up on paper streamers, paper bells, and wedding favors that consisted of white netting filled with those pastel-colored candy-covered almonds that were guaranteed to increase dentists’ business, because they were hard enough to crack diamonds.
The tables at my wedding were long, school-cafeteria style tables covered with white paper tablecloths that resembled something butchers used when wrapping rib roasts. Today’s tables have marble tops, gold claw-foot legs, and are draped with so many different shades of silky material, they look like the clearance counter at a fabric store. And even the chairs have to be draped in fabric. They kind of remind me of those chairs covered with sheets in the old haunted houses in horror movies.
Also, according to the TV weddings, the bride and groom have to meet with a professional “mixologist” (a.k.a. “bartender” back in my day) to come up with a special drink for their wedding. This involves sampling and tasting such weird combinations as blackberry brandy and tequila, or pomegranate juice and peppermint vodka until they finally select their signature drink…or they get so drunk, they don’t care.
At my wedding, our signature drink was cheap champagne, which, if you closed your eyes while drinking it, tasted very similar to fizzy vinegar.
I’ve noticed that nowadays, many of the brides and grooms go all out for their first dance at the reception. No longer do they slowly waltz, gazing up lovingly into each other’s eyes. No, now they are doing everything from synchronized cartwheels to tap dancing. One groom on TV even lifted his wife over his head while he twirled all around the dance floor. If my husband and I ever had dared to try something like that at our wedding reception, we’d have spent our wedding night in separate beds – in the emergency room.
Many brides are choosing to buy two wedding gowns now – one somewhat modest style for the church ceremony, and a “va-va-voom” style for the reception. A bride on TV the other night spent over $12,000 on her two gowns.
My wedding gown cost $300, and afterwards, two of my friends borrowed it for their weddings.
The wedding menus also have changed over the years. Now, there are hot hors d’oeuvres, followed by appetizers, prior to the meal. Then for dinner, guests have a choice of meat, fish or poultry. After dinner, there is a dessert bar with enough cookies, cupcakes and pastries to supply a bakery. Many weddings even feature an area where you can select and bag your own candy to take home.
At my wedding, the only appetizer was fruit cocktail, the only dinner choice was roast beef, and the dessert was the wedding cake. The only candy was the aforementioned tooth-destroying candied almonds.
Now that I look back at how simple my wedding was, I fully can understand why professional planners are needed for today’s modern nuptials. I mean if my mother and I were so overwhelmed planning a wedding as basic as mine, I can only imagine how stressful it would be to plan one of the fancy, multi-faceted ones like I’ve seen on TV.
But my husband was lucky. Not once throughout the entire planning of our wedding was he even the slightest bit stressed. Nope, he just continued to shrug and say that anything I wanted was just fine with him.
Which was why I bought him a pretty pinkish-colored shirt to wear with his going-away suit.
Time still remains to enter! Back in August of 1994, “My Life” was born. To celebrate the anniversary of this column, I’m holding a prize giveaway in honor of my readers. The top prize will be a $50 gift card good at any Applebee’s restaurant. There also will be several runner-up prizes. To enter, simply send your name, address and phone number to: Sally’s Anniversary Contest, PO Box 585, Suncook, NH 03275-0585. You also can enter via email (please use the subject heading, “Sally’s Anniversary Contest”) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enter as often as you’d like to increase your chances of winning. All entries must be received by September 15, 2015. This contest is not affiliated in any way with Neighborhood News.