September 30 - An Extraordinary Wedding: Sharon & Steve
It would have never made it on “Platinum Wedding” or “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” It would have never graced the pages of any wedding magazine, nor was in announced in the New York Times. It was a simple celebration.
Sharon and Steve got married in a small country church with the reception held on its lawn. They sent out Evite invitations and requested their guests bring food to share. It was a potluck affair. There was no orchestra or impressive DJ, just someone’s mp3 player playing a variety of songs over a loudspeaker. They also asked that no one bring gifts. They treasured our presence, not our presents. Despite the fact that it didn’t’ have a 5 or 6 digit budget, it was perhaps one of the most lovely weddings that I’ve attended.
In today’s society, it is unfortunate that a wedding - a commitment celebration - is lauded based upon the price tag of the event. How did we get here? Growing up as a farm girl, the weddings and receptions that I attended were potlucks held in the church’s basement or someone’s backyard. We were simple people with modest incomes. My parents, their friends and their children who married would have never gone into debt to finance a wedding, nor would they have let it become more expensive than a hefty down payment on a house. It was the beginning after all. Not the end all.
I was thinking today of my old assistant’s wedding. Before she married, we use to laugh and talk about all the “tacky” weddings that I attended (and I’ve been to quite a few). But I now realize that what I described wasn’t tacky, it was simply those things that would cause a wedding planner to turn up their nose, be it the menu, venue or décor faux pas. Once my assistant returned from her honeymoon, she asked my opinion of her wedding. I shared my honest thoughts. It was beautiful, special and a wonderful event. She breathed a sigh of relief and said something that I will never forget. “I’m so glad. All I kept thinking while I was planning this is that I don’t want Neenah to find anything tacky.” Is that what we’ve done? We’ve shamed the bride and groom into throwing a lavish event that is far too excessive and not worthy of so much time, energy and resources. If only our marriages would get so much attention. That lightbulb moment a few years back did change my perception of nuptials. I’ve stopped being so critical of weddings because the shame was really on me.