My daughter, Maggie, is getting married this summer and I’m here to tell you that things have changed . . . a lot . . . since the little woman, Winnie, and I tied the knot in 1977. The Wright household is all atwitter with excitement over the wedding plans and, while I have offered a few suggestions, it has become readily apparent that my expected participation, at this stage, is to write checks and stay out of the way.
I thought Winnie and I had a wonderful wedding and reception 33 years ago. After exchanging vows at the Smalltown Congregational Church, we were off to celebrate at the Bull Mountain Ski Lodge. We had a great meal we picked up at Dan’s Market—tuna and chicken salad finger rolls, IGA potato chips and macaroni salad—served on paper plates, the fancy ones with the little blue flowers on them.
It was quite a party too. We danced the night away to “The Rusty Bean Music Machine”. Rusty was the mechanic down at Blake’s Esso Station, but he moonlighted as a wedding singer. Accompanied by his Casio keyboard, he belted out all the nuptial classics, from Roy Orbison’s “It’s Over” to the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. I was encouraged that Rusty just might play something appropriate for the occasion when he invited Winnie and me to the dance floor as he played the lovely Beatles ballad “I Will”. My new bride was less than impressed though, when he completed the Fab Four medley with “I’m a Loser” and “I Should Have Known Better”.
It was a great party and before we knew it, we were dragging Schlitz cans behind our 1972 Chevy Vega on our way to honeymoon for two glorious nights at the Buck and Doe Lodge in Island Lake.
Now that Maggie is planning a wedding, I’m discovering that some entrepreneurs have found hundreds of ways to turn marriage into a major industry.
There are no more do-it-yourself weddings. One must hire a wedding planner for fear that the bride and her mother will forget some of the ways to spend money on the big event.
Maggie is a beautiful, wonderful, young lady, but she’s pushing 30 – old maid material by 1970s standards—so I was happy to agree with the little woman that our little girl should have a nice wedding. I was duped; had no idea what I was agreeing to.
Let me provide you with a partial list of the components of a 21st Century wedding.
• An engagement party – because the bride’s parents aren’t going to spend enough on the wedding itself.
• Save the date cards – these go out several months prior to the invitations just in case one person didn’t hear about the impending nuptials via email, Facebook or Twitter.
• The bride’s dress – must be custom made by a designer to ensure that it is like no other and costs as much as an entire 1977 wedding.
• Music – no “Rusty Bean Music Machine”. One must hire different musicians for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. The band for the reception must include a horn section and a lead singer with, at least, one Grammy on his/her mantle. The cash outlay for music on the big day must be equal to, or greater than, twice the cost of the bride’s dress.
• Flowers – must include exotic species only – nothing grown in this country and certainly nothing the father of the bride can pronounce . . . or afford.
• Photographer – must include still photos and hi-def video. The photographer must be a descendent or former student of Ansel Adams and must be so busy that he/she couldn’t care less if you turn down their offer to document the big day for the cost of a European vacation for two.
• Guest Bags – The list goes on, but this is the item that earned me the nickname, “George Banks”—you know, the Steve Martin character in Father of the Bride. I’m told we have to give each guest staying at the hotel a guest bag containing bottled water, aspirin, and snacks. Pleeease! I love these people, but will they really need snacks after the $150 meal? And aspirin because I bought them too many $10 cocktails? And water? Doesn’t that come out of that shiny thing hooked to the sink, like at home?
I love Maggie and I hope she is happily married for many years. Her mom and I have been in a state of continuous bliss for 33 years now. If wedding expense is a happiness factor, I figure she and Roscoe should be good for, at least, 330 anniversaries.