© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved
When you think of a wedding, what images come to mind? Do you think of a church, or a country club lawn? Would there be pews or rows of chairs filled with well-dressed people, and a bride in a formal white gown? Do you picture many flower arrangements, men in matched suits, organ music or a string quartet, and an officiant in robes? Is a series of pre-parties something you expect, such as a bridal shower, a bachelorette night, and a bachelor party or weekend?
Perhaps Kim Kardashian comes to mind, with a very high-end wedding, very expensive clothes, and the most expensive wedding registry gifts known publically in decades. A friend tells of her ex-husband paying for such a regal wedding, including a custom wedding gown that cost $15,000. When Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at Westminster Abbey, Diana’s gown was very full with a train requiring attendants, and the coach carrying the couple away from the church was part of a parade through London. When British royals marry, a subculture of souvenir production flourishes: every object from pencils to plates to teapots is emblazoned with the couple’s official photo and sold as mementos. Of course, at this level of public attention, everything is televised.
Perhaps you’re thinking of something simpler. Do you think of Julia Roberts marrying Lyle Lovett on the beach, barefoot, in flowing, gauzy clothing? Do you remember hippies in communes, wearing flowing cotton clothing and affirming their love without even a marriage license, then serving a vegetarian feast? As a minister who officiates weddings, I have seen both complex and elegantly simple wedding plans.
In the 1980’s, a couple made arrangements to have their wedding in the Grand Canyon. Yes, actually in the Canyon. The bride spent many weeks having a special bridal gown/costume made, with both riding pants and a detachable skirt. The couple reserved mules to carry the wedding party down to Indian Garden, where the ceremony was performed. Attendees were expected to wait for the ceremony time and listen by radio at the corral on the South Rim, or to hike to the ceremony and return to the Rim. The wedding party went on to lodgings at the bottom of the Canyon.
I worked with one couple who wanted a small formal wedding in their lovely home. They wanted only a small gathering of mainly family members. We refined the ceremony and set a date. They got their license and ordered their wedding rings. Two weeks before the ceremony, a family tragedy took place, and the couple let me know it would not work to have the wedding for some time. A few weeks later, I had the strange intuition to put on makeup in the morning, although I was only taking the car for emissions inspection. While stuck in a long line of cars, I got a call from my couple, saying they just really wanted to get married. They asked what I was doing right now. I told them my car and I were stuck in line, but I would call as soon as I emerged. The couple said, “Good! Then we’ll pick up the rings!” We met at the jewelry store and discovered a lovely landscape area for the ceremony. I performed a short, off-the-cuff ceremony with all the key elements, and the jewelers were delighted to serve as witnesses. The couple in love was married. Much later, the bride told me how happy and peaceful she and her husband were together. She told me her daughter’s wedding had cost $30,000 (in 1990 dollars), and that marriage had lasted 6 months. Financial investment does not guarantee marriage longevity. Note that years later, Kim Kardashian’s ultra-expensive wedding led into a marriage that lasted 72 days.
Yesterday, I received a call asking me to officiate a wedding for a very gracious young couple I know. They wanted to be married today. They were ready with a license and relatives in town, for a very small wedding in their condo. I knew they were completely committed to each other. So why not? I packed my ministerial robe, a ceremony program, and a CD player with wedding music, and off I went. Today the couple in love are married (see photo above).
What’s it take to make a wedding? Besides the officiant and the license, only the elements you want. Shape the wedding to your own personalities and desires. And may your wedding be your very own style of launch for the joy-filled marriage of your dreams.
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