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.
“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.”