It’s 28 years today since my one and only wedding. The marriage hasn’t lasted all those years but we’re still friends and I don’t regret having married him.
Although wedding back in the 70s weren’t anywhere near as expensive or lavish as they are these days, they were still big events where the bride’s parents were expected put on a good show. I, however, wanted to keep mine simple.
I laugh when I think about it now. It wasn’t simple in the way I’d consider a simple wedding to be these days, but we didn’t know much about environmental issues and the likes back then so in comparison with most other weddings I’d been to, it was actually very simple. Not registry office simple as in sign the book and nip down the pub for a swift pint and a G&T but as far as church weddings with the full works afterwards goes, it was.
I found the cheapest wedding dress I could. Mum and I went shopping for the dress and an Edwardian style dress and hat were chosen over the more tradition veil and train get up and whereas cousins and other family members who’d married before me had had half a dozen bridesmaids, I had just one. A close friend who would do the job of holding the bouquet and what have you. No little ‘uns who’d cry during the service and no stroppy pre-teens who’d refuse to wear their dress. My groom wore a regular suit and everybody was told to come dressed in whatever they felt comfortable with. One guest arrived in jeans and a leather biker’s jacket.
We didn’t decorate the church with loads of flowers and we didn’t have a choir. Dad wanted me to get married in the big church in town (where my cousins had got married) but I insisted on a small Baptist church. Much more my thing. I’d already agreed to drop the registry office because he’d dreamt of walking me down the aisle but a compromise was needed.
The ‘do’ afterwards was out of my control, though. Dad insisted that as long as he was paying, he’d do it his way. 120 guests arrived (yes, that was pretty small compared to most East End weddings), a sit down meal was enjoyed, the bar flowed freely, a DJ had everybody up dancing, the buffet included traditional jellied eels and a good time was had by all. Except that I didn’t even know half the guests - they were all Dad’s mates.
I’m not sure what I’d do if I were doing it today but I do know I wouldn’t spend huge amounts of money on one day. I can’t think of any reason why people would spend thousands on a dress, hundreds on a cake, hold the reception in some posh place they can’t really afford etc etc etc other than that they want to impress their guests. Why is that? Isn’t it supposed to be about making a commitment? And isn’t being sensible with money part of that commitment?
Weddings are big business but no amount of luxury on the big day will make a marriage any stronger and, try as we might to impress others, the wedding will soon be forgotten by most.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a wedding day special, but at the expense of what?
Sharon J x