Unless I know one or more of the participants, I confess I seldom read the bridal news in The News & Observer. I have assumed that’s the case with most of our male subscribers.
I’m wrong in at least one case.
I recently received an email from Durham reader James Richmond, who wrote:
“A pleasure I get Sunday mornings, in addition to reading your column, is reading the wedding write-ups. I like the pictures of the brides, all of whom are beautiful. I like that the grandparents of the bride and groom are identified.
“I’m favorably impressed by the educational attainments of the couple and their career choices. And often, the honeymoon sites are places I’ve always wanted to visit.
“What the bridal gown is made of and what flowers were in the bridal bouquet are rarely mentioned anymore, which I miss.”
Yes, I can remember when wedding write-ups claimed a huge chunk of the Sunday N&O. The general feeling was that a bride wasn’t really married until the write-up appeared in the Old Reliable.
Mothers of the brides would bring the vital information to the newspaper, where the “Women’s Department” staff would compose the actual stories.
The mother would then go home and pray for “good position.”
“Good position” for a bride-to-be would consist of the story and photo landing on the section’s front page. Top of the page was extremely “good position.”
The articles would run on and on: names of bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, parents and grandparents, hometowns, honeymoon destinations, etc.
Today, in addition to the usual cost of weddings, averaging $29,858 in the U.S., the bride’s parents pay $5.15 a line to spread the news of the joyful occasion.
The bride, and her wedding dress, are the focal points of most weddings. That’s as it should be. The groom is about as interesting as a fire hydrant in a tuxedo.
I remember the selecting of my daughter’s wedding dress. It took days of shopping before the bride-to-be arrived at her decision, a beautiful, slightly off-the-shoulder dress in vogue at the time.
But the gown was too “off the shoulders” to please my wife.
My daughter resumed her search and brought home a more modest gown.
The wedding and reception were happy and memorable events.
A few days later, my wife received a letter from Mrs. Julia Daniels, my boss’s wife, commenting on “Katherine’s good taste in choosing her wedding dress.”
When the couple returned from the honeymoon, my wife, with a slight smile but no “I told you so,” handed the note to the new bride.
Unless they’ve been part of a wedding, wedding attendees have no concept of such behind-the-scenes mini-dramas that occur during the planning of a wedding.
Weddings are, in most cases, historic peaks of happiness, the launching of a new journey for two people.
At the moment of matrimony, future uncertainties are nonexistent. Only the “to have and to hold” and “to love and cherish” resonate as the couple strides back up the aisle as “man and wife.”
And may it always be so.