1. If you have been or are married, tell us about your wedding. If you are not, tell us how would you want it to be.
It was on Saturday, December 7, 1985, at 11:00 a.m. in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the congregation in which I grew up. At the reception, held at the Woodbridge Golf and Country Club, we served champagne brunch featuring eggs benedict. The food was so delicious that if the subject comes up, people still remember that meal and remark about it. The event was lovely, but modest because BigBob and I paid for everything ourselves — in cash. Under no circumstances would I go into debt for a social event, especially a wedding, and I did not want to begin a marriage in debt. So we had only 73 guests, all of whom were close friends and family members. My sister, who is very artistic, used silk flowers to create all of the bouquets, boutonnières, centerpieces, etc. She was the matron of honor, my college roommate was the maid of honor, my nephew (who was only two years old) was the ring bearer, and BigBob’s daughter, who was seven years old, was the flower girl.
I remember BigBob being horrified when I told him that the photography would be the most expensive single aspect of the day, but it was the best money we ever spent because those photos are so precious now. Many of the people who were there with us on that day are gone.
2. What age would you encourage your children to get married?
I don’t encourage my children to marry or not marry, nor do I suggest an age at which marriage might be appropriate. They are young men and they will have to make their own decisions about their lives, including whether or not they feel strongly enough about another person to make that kind of commitment.
3. Who got married at the last wedding that you attended?
Dear friends Deb and Em married last September. It was the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended.
4. Do you enjoy weddings and receptions?
Because I was the church organist/pianist for many years, I have been part of more weddings than I can remember now or count. Eventually, I stopped providing my musical services because the weddings always disrupted my weekends, the events were always stressful because being part of the biggest day of folks’ lives requires that you be totally “on your game,” and it ceased to be enough fun to continue. Aside from Deb and Em’s wedding last year, I really can’t remember the last time I attended a wedding as simply one of the guests. At my age, the sad truth is that I attend a lot of funerals, but receiving a wedding invitation is a pretty rare occurrence.
5. Have you cried at a wedding?
I cried during Deb and Em’s wedding because the setting was so lovely, they were so happy and relieved to finally be legally united, and the whole night was a big love-fest. We had such a great time drinking their favorite flavored martinis, having dinner with the wonderful folks seated with us at the “token hoterosexual table” (Deb’s joke), and dancing. It was the first same-sex marriage hosted at that particular venue and the staff members were very excited to be part of the festivities. During the outdoor ceremony, folks were actually watching from some of the windows and passersby stopped and watched on the sidewalk. When the ceremony concluded, I’m sure that folks in the next county heard all of us cheering and yelling things like “finally,” “at last,” and “it’s legal!”
6. Would you prefer a lavish event or a intimate ceremony?
I enjoyed having an intimate ceremony with only 73 guests because it was easy to manage, affordable, and we had plenty of time to visit a bit with each guest and thank them for joining us on our special day. I would never marry again, however, in a lavish or intimate ceremony, but I’m glad to have the memories of that day.
7. Have you ever been in someone’s wedding party? If yes, do tell.
Many times, but I have only been a bridesmaid once — in my college roommate’s wedding. And I was my sister’s maid of honor. When my other friends married, I was always called upon to provide music, thereby escaping the dreaded bridesmaid ensembles.
8. Does a wedding make you happy and sentimental or grouchy and skeptical?
I have experienced both types of sentiment. I have participated in or attended weddings where I felt great joy for the couple because I had a strong sense that they were marrying for the right reasons at the right time, were fully committed to each other, and were embarking on a long-lasting, loving adventure. There have been other weddings where I have watched the couple taking their vows while wondering to myself or speculating with other friends about how long it would be before one of them called me to represent them myself or obtain a referral to another attorney to assist them in the dissolution proceeding. Sadly, my/our predictions have been pretty accurate over the years.
9. Why do you think our divorce rate is so high?
I think there are many different factors. People marry for the wrong reasons and with unrealistic expectations about what the institution actually holds in store on a long-term basis. Money, or the lack thereof, frequently complicates relationships to the point that they disintegrate. I ran into a local attorney this past week who practices family law. We were on the opposite sides of cases when I was in private practice. I expected him to tell me that business is slow due to the current economic climate. On the contrary, he told me that business is brisk because of the economy. “They’re finding the money” to get divorced, he told me while confirming that financial strain is me of the leading motivators these days.
Click here to see the list of other participants and links to their sites where you can read their responses.