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Wedding Belles

Since wedding season is here, I think about my wedding and others I attended in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. They were modest affairs, barbaric by today’s standards, I’m sure. As weddings go, they were Ford Pintos compared to the Cadillacs and Mercedes of today.

Young bride and groom

My no-frills wedding in 1966 was a perfect example. My sister made my wedding dress and veil, plus her own dress since she was the Matron of Honor. I had two other bridesmaids: my best friend since Eighth Grade and a sorority sister.

When my mother and I bought the fabric and pattern for the wedding dress, we also bought patterns and fabric for the other dresses and gave them to the girls. Mom made the dress for the local girl and the other bridesmaid’s mother created hers. We felt it shouldn’t cost the girls to participate.

After the wedding in our church, there was a punch and cake reception in the meeting hall. Everyone sat on folding chairs, scarfed cake, watched me unwrap gifts, and called it a night. Keeping her meticulous records as always (which I still have!) my mother was horrified that my wedding cost $359.71.

Today it’s a whole different ballgame. Many are “destination weddings,” so the attendants not only must buy a dress and pay for a preparation salon trip, but also for travel and accommodations once they get there. One girl, for whom my daughter was a bridesmaid, picked Vera Wang gowns for her attendants—all seven of them.

Model wearing sexy wedding dress

And about those wedding dresses. In my day we wore demure gowns as we floated down the aisle. I’ll put it this way; we all wanted to LOOK virginal, even if we weren’t. Today it seems many brides want to look like the Vamp of Savannah as they slink down the aisle. Some gowns have va-va-va-voom slits up one side; others are strapless and some hug the bride’s body tighter than her future husband. Check out the example. I rest my case.

The reception is usually a catered affair at a swanky hotel downtown or a posh restaurant, closed for the occasion. Afterward, the photographer shoots photos of the bride and groom at various local landmarks as they gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes. Later, the happy couple jet off to some exotic location in the Caribbean or Asia, happy in the knowledge they’ve had a deluxe event which exhausted and probably bankrupted their parents.

We Old Schoolers were just happy to BE married, with no curfew and no jailer parents, watching our every move.  


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