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    i will

    Bob Dylan, take note: The times they have done changed

    by | 6 | Sep 1, 2016

    Vintage wedding cake by pompixs and licensed at DepositPhotos.com

    Whatever happened to simple weddings?

    My wife Margaret and I got married 34 years ago in her parents’ living room, in Columbia, with maybe 10 people, tops, in attendance.

    This past Thursday, Aug. 25, we drove to Athens, Ga., to make arrangements relating to our youngest son’s upcoming wedding featuring (at last count) 300 guests!

    Our mission was to arrange for the wedding rehearsal dinner. You may recall the now-famous Pizza Proposal with a Diamond Topping, the story of which was posted in The Dew on Aug. 19. The wedding will take place on April 8 in Athens, where the bride’s parents live.

    Now I’m finding out quickly how far behind the times I am. Who knew that arrangements for a little ol’ marriage could lead to exhaustion and penury?

    Listen: the Normandy Invasion did not require the planning and logistics that a big wedding calls for nowadays.

    Three-hundred wedding guests!

    Why, on our way to Athens we passed through towns that did not have that many people living in the whole place! One such town was Paxville, a community in Clarendon County with a population of only 185 in the latest census.

    So if all the guests for this wedding lived in Paxville, the town would be vacant and abandoned on April 8 — and we’d still need to borrow 115 more souls from nearby Pinewood (pop. 459) to make our quota of 300!

    Lordy mercy, my dear old grandmother would say! (Note that I did not refer to her as “sainted,” but that’s a story for another time).

    Arranging the rehearsal dinner, for which Margaret and I are responsible, seems easy by comparison to the responsibilities of the bride’s parents. Nevertheless, I returned home exhausted. It is not easy (nor inexpensive) to arrange dinner and drinks for 60 people and to find the ideal location for these festivities.

    Is there adequate parking? How about access for the handicapped? How will seating be arranged? Who’s on third – no, wait; that’s another routine.

    Long story longer, we traipsed all over town (and Athens is NOT Paxville) looking first at this place, then at that place, only to find that the very first place we had seen (Lyndon House Arts Center) was easily the best, after all.

    We booked it.

    So now could we go to lunch and call it a day?

    Of course not, stupid! Now we had to find a caterer.

    Oh.

    “Don’t you know that an army moves on its stomach?”

    “Well, yes, but I’m only just now realizing that I’m picking up the check for all those stomachs.”

    More to the point, the currently betrothed son is only one of my four sons – and will be the first to wed. This one is being held in an arts center. Any others will be held in the poorhouse.

    And I know what you’re thinking: I should have thought of this a long, long time ago – 34 years ago at least.

    And all I can say is, True that!

    Frankly, I like the “rehearsal dinner” my old friend Bobby Woodward says he and his wife Mary had years and years ago in Augusta, Ga.

    Laughing, he said, “I sprung for a Dr. Pepper.”

    Save

    ###
    Robert Lamb

    Robert Lamb

    I grew up in Augusta, Ga., where I attended Boys' Catholic High. After a stint in the Navy, I attended the University of Georgia, majoring in English (Class of '61). I began my (wholly unexpected) journalism career on the old Augusta Herald, an evening paper, and went to work for The Constitution in, I think, 1976. I left in Sept. '82 to write The Great American Novel. That goal has proved remarkably elusive, but my first attempt (Striking Out, in 1991) was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award and my second (Atlanta Blues, in 2004) contended for an Edgar Award. My latest novel won no honors but might well get me nominated for a hanging. Titled A Majority of One, it is about a clash between religion and the Constitution over book-banning in a small Georgia town. I've also published a collection of short stories and poems: Six of One, Half Dozen of Another. Before retirement, I taught creative writing and American literature at the University of South Carolina and its Honors College, and feature writing in its School of Journalism. I maintain a now-and-then blog at boblamb.wordpress.com and I walk my dog on the beach a lot at Pawleys Island, S.C.

     

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    • larry janarella

      Be glad you have sons!

    • Eileen

      I empathize. I suggested ‘Why don’t you elope? I’ll lend you a ladder,’ but my five sons didn’t take me up on it. I did the catering for two of their weddings (including the cake) and I wore the same hat. At my own ceremony there were twenty invited guests (favoring an intimate occasion) and lunch at a nearby hotel; I made my white wedding dress costing 5 pounds for the material in 1962. For my second marriage we walked to the registry office with two friends as witnesses, then barbecued a whole lamb for friends next day to announce ‘We got married.’ There are better uses for money than catered rehearsal, funding silver service for a small army, flowers and limos, stressing the organizers and littering a churchyard with confetti: down payment on a home, perhaps. I hope you enjoy it, anyway.

      • I’m with you! I’d use the money for something more practical.

      • Linda

        Eileen, I’ve been missing you! We need an update on the new house--and new life--in Ireland.

        • Eileen

          Linda, you make my heart sing. I’ve just sent a piece to Lee but warned him, if he had any doubt, to listen to his inner wisdom and reject it. We shall see.

    • Liz Cobb

      Just be glad they’ve not decided on a “Destination Wedding”, i.e. a resort on an island way south of the Bahamas that can only be reached by Miami-Nassau-crop duster and a ride from hell in an old car that was supposed to be a taxi in a tropical storm. Wonderful that you can write about it with impunity, which speaks volumes.
      Thanks, sincerely, for a truly heart-lifting article.

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