Weddings and real life

 I don’t like weddings much, even though I’ve had three of them. They’re usually high-stress times geared as much for the bride and groom’s relatives as for the happy couple.

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes, of course. Mine have been in churches (three different denominations). The first, in Albuquerque, was quite a to-do, with the rehearsal dinner, the traditional ceremony and the decorated car. 

I still remember the shaving cream on my ’63 Chevy in the hot desert sun; a year later, I still could make out the words “Just Married” across the trunk lid.

While we were on our honeymoon to Disneyland, I was drafted into the Army. It was the only honeymoon I’ve had; I didn’t want to take a chance on a second one.

The next wedding was a small-scale affair in Chula Vista, Calif., with only a dozen-or-so people, including my 6-year-old son and her 6-year-old daughter. Afterward, we just went back to work.

When Jenny and I were married, in Yardley, Pa., 10 years ago, there were exactly 44-people invited – the number that fit in the restaurant reception room. We invited them to lunch and gave all the guests our extra mixers, Corningware bowls and other stuff we had two of. It was more fun than us opening presents.

Instead of a honeymoon, we had a 13-hour drive in two cars on Thanksgiving Day to where I was living in South Carolina. Jenny and her second-grader, Joe, were in one car and Jenny’s 80-pound dog, Fancy, and I were in the other. It was definitely not a honeymoon.

I was reminiscing about weddings last weekend after attending the wedding of a colleague from work. It was a pleasant, small wedding, the second for the bride, and her children were a part of it. It lasted less than 20 minutes, mainly because the preacher did not feel compelled to deliver a sermon or try to recruit new members.

I’m not really opposed, though, to preachers giving a little marriage advice. At a wedding I attended several years ago, the preacher gave the couple some tips for a happy marriage that roughly translated to “Do whatever the bride says.” Most of the time, that works at our house.

Knowing how much stress has gone into the planning of my weddings, I’m always glad that I haven’t been privy to the behind-the scenes drama that goes into the others I have attended.

Six years ago Jenny and I were stressing over my daughter’s wedding. She was living in Pittsburgh and insisted on having the wedding there. Basically, we sent her money and let her do things her way, which was not our way

I think we spend too much time – and money – worrying about the ceremony, and not enough time thinking about the commitments involved. We know a couple of people whose wedding debts outlasted the marriage.

The best part of a wedding is when it’s over, and you get on with real life.


T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at