Wedding Season

No, this is not about a new show streaming on television. Apparently “Wedding Season” is a thing – something I did not know existed until I looked up Wedding Season online. I looked it up to see what is the season most people get married. But I guess that doesn’t really matter either. It is certainly Wedding Season at my house because I am about ready to enter a stretch where I will have two children who will tie their respective spousal knots within three weeks of one another.

My own wedding anniversary is May 5th. I think late spring (May and June) used to be Peak Wedding Season, but I am not sure if that is true any more. One online source says that something like 80% of weddings occur between May and October. So I guess my children are getting in before Wedding Season is over for the year, if not by much. And my own would have been right at the start.

I guess I understand a Wedding Season – who wants to get married during an ice storm or during one of those horribly dreary days in mid February when you cannot imagine any joyous event happening anywhere. But I must acknowledge that many who marry do so in areas with climates far different than mine. Maybe that accounts for the other 20% of weddings, because I suppose February is a pleasant month in some places. I guess I just have not yet been to one of them.

May is usually pretty safe wedding weather in my area – except the time Marianne and I attended someone else’s wedding in May and the day was ice cold with blowing snow. Late September and (especially) mid-October have had the occasional stinker of a day, but hopefully the weather will cooperate for both events.

I have been blessedly out of the planning loop for these weddings. But then, I was blessedly out of the planning loop for my own, over thirty-two years ago. That didn’t really happen by plan, but it did happen. I recall being shanghaied asked to accompany my bride to a meeting with a photographer. My head spun as the multiplicity of packages and options was lobed at me faster than my little head could make sense of it all. Once the shelling stopped, I recall walking to the car and saying “Anyone who can’t shoot a wedding in 24 pictures just isn’t trying.” I wasn’t completely serious, of course. It would probably take 36.

Marianne, however, was completely serious when she stopped inviting me along to other appointments as plans were made. Made by someone other than me, I should add. I am prepared to acknowledge that our wedding was probably much nicer than if I had been given the job of putting it all together. My tendencies towards minimalism and simplicity would likely have gotten things off to a bad start.

The main decisions are already made, of course. Those include who will be the spousal counterpart in each ceremony. We are both quite happy to have kept out of that decision because each kid has chosen a wonderful mate. We are delighted with both our new son-in-law and our new daughter-in-law. At least I think we are delighted – check back with me in ten or fifteen years. Which will be our favorite – now there is a position that has not yet been filled. We are open to some influence peddling here, but for now it is a tight race. I suppose it doesn’t have to actually be a race, because a tie would be just fine with us too.

Weddings today are both more and less formal than they once were. Less formal because I am not being assigned a tuxedo, but only the color of tie I am to wear with my gray suit. Both weddings will involve my gray suit, so I had it cleaned. Who says I am not good at planning? Weddings are more formal, however, in that the entire day of the wedding seems to involve some kind of activity. In 1990 I at least had enough time to fall down a flight of stairs and quit smoking. One did not cause the other, by the way.

One way weddings today are just like those of yore is that I know my job – it is to do what I am told. I will stand there (no, not there, THERE), be present, and otherwise look all fatherly. Which is a different look than groomy or husbandy, which was my assignment the last time. The modern version involves some gray hair.

Another way weddings have not changed is that they still involve lots of eating and at least a moderate amount of drinking. Less of the latter for me because 1) I have to drive home after things are all over and 2) because my ability to hold my liquor has gone the way of my ability to do 100 sit ups. As Dirty Harry once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Time has a way of speeding up when things get stressful, so I expect to be back here in about 90 minutes to report how everything went. Only it won’t really be 90 minutes, but about four weeks. Between now and then I will, well, just go with it – which will include some errand running, some toasting, some hosting, and maybe a little dancing. Which will be more of that last one than I did at my own wedding, owing to that tumble down the stairs. Hopefully I will avoid tumbling down the stairs again. And hopefully I will soak up all of the joy and gladness that comes from watching two of my children hit the starting gates of married life with the right person.

COAL update – I have got to do something because I keep forgetting to add these to the end. 4 hours in and it took Marianne to remind me that I spaced it. Again. Oh well.

How about a little pickup truck action? It was the perfect antidote to the breakup of a long-ago relationship.

30 thoughts on “Wedding Season

  1. Best wishes for your kids & partners, and to the parents and relatives who have to do this twice in a month. Maybe that’ll save you the rehearsal for the 2nd one.

    We got married in February, and it went quite well. No snowstorm, everyone got a window ice scraper to take home.
    Also significant anniversaries are a great excuse to go for a tropical vacation in the middle of winter.

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    • Wow, a February wedding in Canada? I never took you for such a gambler. But I salute you for the foresight on the anniversary trip thing.

      That is the biggest part, trying to get distant family here twice in such a short stretch. In hindsight, it’s too bad we couldn’t have gotten them to coordinate and make a long weekend out of it. But I guess bride wants to share a wedding with another bride, no matter efficient it might be.

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  2. You will likely have an easier time (read as less to do) at your son’s wedding as I presume you may be doing some public walking at your daughter’s. Either way, you are in a pretty good spot.

    Here’s a suggestion on your favorite of the two new spouses. One will be your favorite daughter-in-law and the other your favorite son-in-law. I have often told Marie’s mother she is my favorite mother-in-law…it took a time or two before she let that sink in.

    Best wishes to them along with you and Marianne. The turmoil due to two weddings in such close proximity has got to be overwhelming even with your role being the most desirable.

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    • Thank you, I guess it is good that the daughter’s wedding comes first. Whether it gets the heaviest lifting out of the way or puts the one with less planning on our parts second, it should work out.

      As for the new kids-in-law, we could not be happier about people joining our family, because both of them are young people we have become quite fond of and who make their almost-spouses very happy.

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  3. Ha, never been married, so I ducked that trial. Probably only three women I’ve ever known that I would have married, but it has to work out for the both of you! My parents had a real love match, got married what would have been considered “late” for the era, my Dad well into his 30’s and my Mom pushing 30. Their anniversary? Valentines Day! They were long time promoters of the idea that it was ridiculous for “kids” to marry “kids”. I’ve lived all over, and I have to say, the places I’ve lived with a much higher level of education and professional employment, also seem to be places where the 19 year “pricess bride” weddings are very rare. Most of those people don’t get married until much later after college, and again, most “professional” women don’t want a child until they’re pretty set on their career track, and that means over 30.

    I worked for one of the premier photo studios in my town during high-school and college, and you are correct J.P. Back in the late 60’s /early 70’s, our wedding shooters photographed with 120 cameras, and shot between 5 and 6 twelve shot rolls, that’s about 72 pictures max, and most finished wedding albums ran to about 40 pictures. When 35mm film started getting sharp and clean (for you tech types, when the process went from C-22 to C-41), the studios started to “upsell” the event, guarenteeing they would get an image of everyone at the wedding; things like that. This is also when you could request two photographers, and sometimes a professional portable studio set-up for famly and friend groups. Altho I spent my life in advertsing photography and related ad businesses, I kept track of what the wedding people were doing, and I’m telling you, when I lived in D.C. you could have had two or three photographers, and a video guy, using the same camera my professional doc shooter friends were using! Now with digital, it seems open-ended!

    My own family? Of my three sibs, no one got married younger than 30. My two sisters had court house weddings, with the two sets of parents only. No professional photographers, nothing. Sit down lunches for them and the parents only, after the event… even the sibs weren’t invited. One had a party for famly and friends, long after the event, but in the same year. One of my sibs had to have the full wedding, mostly because he was marrying into a very traditional Irish family, and his wife demanded it. It was OK, and at least he didn’t have to pay!

    Still pay attention to what’s going on with wedding through a bunch of photographers I know, and probably far, far, smaller and more select weddings than ever before, and as they say, less photographic contracts. Most of those small weddings are “friends with cell phones” covered, and then everyone pools their photos and someone puts together a Shutterfly (or other direct-to-press) book.

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    • Marianne and I were on the older side at the time, with ages of 30 and 32. Our daughter is getting married the day before her 27th birthday and our son is 28 (they are our two youngest, and are about 21 months apart in age).

      I can see benefits to both young and older marriages. We know people who were young marrieds and they are enjoying grandchildren while they are in their 50s. Marianne and I will be in our mid (if not late) 60s by the time we get there. My own thought is that having your life all together before you tie the knot is overrated – As long as you pick the right spouse, trying to figure out adulthood together might be better than trying to do it on your own.

      On the photos, it seems that people’s desire to photograph things progressed almost exponentially through the film age – My mother’s photos from birth up to maybe age 35 were in two not-large albums. Her photo output (which was not at all professional, so just like mine) mushroomed after she got a point-and-shoot 35m camera. Her last 40 years generated maybe 4x the photos of her first 40. I am sure cost had something to do with it. And in the age of cell phone camera, try to find something that we have not photographed.

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      • J.P., I think the statement “enjoying their grandkids” might be a tad mis-stated, or maybe something common in your neck of the woods. I know three of my friends that have had to have the “I’m not your free baby-sitter, I raised you and now it’s time for me” conversation with their kids. Love their kids, love their grand-kids, don’t want to spend every free moment with either of them. Also in my constant reading in the sociological arena, I’m reading a lot of stories about young marrieds, with fast pregnancies, fighting with parents because theyy want to dump their sub-5 year old kids with them, so they can keep having the “20 something” life they think they should have. This is probably what my parents were always warning about. A lot of this is probably very situational based on whether or not you’re living someplace that is more cosmopolitan vs. more “small town” traditional. I’m always absolutely interested in reading all permutations of these types of things!

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    • Andy, as a long-time reader here but only a periodic commenter, I’m glad you provide us with a solid understanding of the way things ought to be here in Hoosierland, along with your professional history, which is experienced, relevant, and always backs your opinions up. Your posts always add a lot of great context. You should start your own blog, if you don’t already publish one!

      JP- congrats on the weddings. Your kids are in the big leagues now!

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      • tc—I’m not sure I’d ever want to be accused of telling people “how things ought to be” anywhere. What I do tell people, especially kids I’m mentoring, is that my experience tells me that sociology is absolutely different everywhere. Two cities in the same state can be wildly different, two states in the same part of the country as well. In my travels, I meet so many people, especially younger people, that are so sad or feel “disaffected” because they are led to believe that what is happening in their world (which they are not functioning well in) is “the way it is” everywhere, when in reality; there are areas of the country/world where they can walk down the street and make 5 good friends tomorrow, and feel like they are well regarded, whereas they can be someplace else where they can be ostricized and friendless. If you look around you, and the population is functioning in a way that seems so different from you, many times, it isn’t you, it’s where you are! Even if you grew up there!

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  4. I remember sweating for weeks over composing my speech, making it humourous, and yet meaningful at my son’s wedding. Inside jokes, advice for the bride, acknowledging the new in-laws, etc. I didn’t consult any “expert” sources, but only coordinated with my son not getting married that day, to ensure we didn’t cover the same ground, but it still took me weeks to prepare and then rehearse.

    JP, you may want to consult this video – very humourous indeed, very well produced, by one Dad’s speech:

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  5. Congratulations!

    I was fortunate in that I found a woman who is as low-key (which is probably just a polite way of saying antisocial) as I am. Our wedding only involved about 30-40 guests, so the planning aspect wasn’t immense. We could actually enjoy ourselves a bit, rather than continually sweating the details.

    Oh, and we married in April, and were treated to great springtime weather in mid-Missouri.

    The most stressful part for me was seeing our two families meet for the first (and likely only) time. While Margaret and I have a lot of similarities, our families couldn’t be more different (for example, my family’s from Philadelphia, hers from the rural Midwest). Fortunately, both sides behaved themselves splendidly. And they haven’t seen each other since.

    Again, congratulations to you and to your whole family!

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  6. 2 weddings in 3 weeks – Well, your suit will be ready! A pre-congratulations. What I’ve noticed with weddings these days, I’ve been to three in the past year — no church weddings. Just a quick ceremony before the reception. Some have no wedding cake, just a table with different desserts, that’s fine too. Look forward to hearing how BOTH weddings go.

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      • Our generation was forced into being in the church. When I say “forced,” there were just things we knew were not negotiable when we got married. Times have changed. Interesting to see what happens when our kids… kids… get married what that looks like, right.

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  7. Congratulations to your kids and their spouses! I hope you do well with your speech, always the most nerve-racking part in my opinion, plus walking up the aisle. It’s been so long since I’ve been to a wedding that I don’t know how they do these things anymore. I’m sure you will have lots of observations for future blogs, but if not, that falling down the stairs pre-wedding day sounds like an interesting story.

    As for the truck, my dad drove an old 70’s GM orange truck and it was his pride and joy. Prior to the old truck, we only had a family car, but the truck was very useful for a farmer for hauling stuff home, and his dog (a golden retriever) was always eager to jump on the front seat and accompany him on his errands. I’m not sure who loved the truck more, him or the dog.

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    • Thanks, I am working on the speech. Things seem to be done a lot differently than they were in 1990.

      My mother grew up on a farm in the 30s-40s, and her father never owned a truck. He used the family sedan to pull wagons and such. He was still doing the same thing until he died in the late 50s.

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  8. I have a friend whose anniversary is on Valentine’s day. 42 years ago we walked hand-in-hand down Main street toward the courthouse and were married by a judge with two of my buddies in attendance. On the way, I dashed into the dimestore and bought a ring and necklace set for $1.69 in her birthstone so we’d have that with us.

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  9. I am sure lots of things have changed since your 1990 wedding JP. I myself have not attended a wedding since 1979 and it was the day after two impacted wisdom teeth were removed and most of my lower jaw was a lovely green from bruises. I looked a sight, but it was a co-worker’s wedding and I promised to attend, but skipped the reception.

    I am surprised that May/June are no longer the primo months and maybe it does tie in to wishing to have a honeymoon on a tropical island in the colder months. Though I don’t remember my godparents, since the last time I saw them was at my own baptism at one month old in May 1956, my mother told me they had married in the Winter. My mom stood up for her best friend and said that the bride wore white velvet and carried red roses which were frozen solid by the time she left the car in swirling snow to walk down the aisle at the church.

    Best wishes to the bride and groom, family and future inlaws – better get your toasts ready!

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  10. I’ve only ridden in a pick-up once and it was because one of my bosses at the law firm drove me home when I stayed to work on a project and missed the last bus out of the City. Terry was a paralegal during the workweek, but on weekends he drove a street stock race car at Flat Rock Speedway. I went to see him race once – he won many of the races and drove like the wind and got the car and himself banged up quite a few times in the process. He drove like the wind in his blue F-150 pick-up as well and I’m sure we were going 20 mph over the speed limit on the expressway which had me hanging onto the grab bar the entire time. One of the secretaries took the same expressway into Detroit and saw someone cut Terry off one morning and he went after them, off the expressway and onto the service drive – that was the talk of the office a few months before, so I said a silent prayer no one messed with him on the way home.

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  11. Congratulations, J P! I can’t get past the “three weeks apart” aspect. Might be a good idea to start banking sleep now. And I agree, weddings have become all-day affairs (er, bad choice of word, let’s go with “to-do’s”). For my daughter’s this past June, the ladies were getting hair and makeup done starting mid-morning while the guys were out on an organized fishing expedition. Both activities lasted until the pre-ceremony photos and involved lots of food and drink. On my own wedding day, me and one of my groomsman went to the grocery store and bought a unity candle. Otherwise, all we had to do was to be at the church at 2pm, ready to go. Like most everything, I prefer when times were simpler.

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  12. First, Congratulations!

    Second, I’m a May person as far as this is concerned too. We picked 5/5 so that if nothing else, there’d be a Mexican national holiday to remind us of the date. 38 years later, that still works.

    Third, my best friend got married in Chicago in January some years ago. His lovely bride referred to it as being married on Hoth (for Star Wars fans, that will be understandable). None of us could go outdoors during the reception for fear of freezing to death. But with a good enough party (it was) who cared that it was below zero outside.

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    • Haha, here in the midwest nobody had ever heard of Cinco de Mayo in 1990. At least for we English speakers. Actually, May in Indianapolis has always been race month, especially back before things were compacted on the schedule. Which was the reason for our black and white color scheme.

      And thanks for the good wishes!

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