Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wedding Bells

This weekend the family and I drove up to Maine. The missus and I were invited to a wedding in the pretty little town of Edgecomb, on the grounds of a beautiful former farm there, of two people in their forties, each getting married for the first time. Let me ask you this: do you think it’s different getting married for the first time at that stage of life? I can understand how people in their forties taking their second, third, fourth, or fifth waltz down the aisle might view the whole exchange of vows with a slightly jaundiced eye — you know, perhaps thinking, “yeah, yeah, richer and poorer, sickness and in health, wrap this up and crack open the champagne” — but how about for the first time at that age? Is there anything in it like the innocence and mystery we see with younger folks tying the knot? Can the mystery and innocence be present, mixed in with a little wisdom and experience? Could it possibly be better and more rewarding to wait until that age to get married? I wonder.

The ceremony was high in content and brief in length, my kind of wedding. The justice of the peace invited the guests to offer whatever advice or observations they thought appropriate to the couple before the I do’s were officially spoken, and two good friends of the groom stepped up and made some poignant, extemporaneous remarks that really helped make the occasion memorable. After the ceremony there was no DJ or band, no throwing of bouquet or garter, no dancing, just eating, drinking and socializing with some jazz CDs playing in the background. The bride wore red, which I thought an interesting choice (it had me thinking of the scandalizing red dresses in the movies Gone With the Wind and Jezebel — thank God Aunt Pitty Pat wasn’t there!). All in all, it was a wedding for grown-ups: low-key, almost casual, a chance for friends to gather to celebrate the good fortune of two well-deserving people. One of the best weddings I’ve ever been to.

The kids didn’t go to the wedding (we thought they’d be bored, but later wondered if perhaps they would have liked it); instead they stayed behind in a cottage we rented at the Gosnold Arms in New Harbor, Maine. The hotel is directly across the street from a small harbor where the fishermen ply their trade, so quiet and tranquil a spot you’d think the laws governing time didn’t apply there. The missus and I enjoyed the picturesqueness of the spot; the girls appreciated the cable TV. On Sunday we went to Booth Bay Harbor, a delightful little tourist trap with crisscrossing streets jammed with quaint, eccentric little shops like so many houses and hotels on a Monopoly board. The rain, which threatened all day, held off until we loaded into the car and headed on home. All in all, a great family weekend.


Blogger Kathleen said...

That's an excellent question, Mr. Schprock. I think it would be hard to assess as the couple who got married this past weekend might have been the same if they had gotten married in their 20s. Or at least, they would have viewed the whole marriage ceremony the same way.

I am trying to figure out how I would feel, being single and in my 40s, but it's really hard to gauge. I like the idea of the red dress, and I always said that when I got married I would wear black, as that was my color back in my punk/goth days, but sometimes I think there's enough of me who's a girl that wants the princess dress.

But then I think that it might be enough to go shopping for one, try one a dozen or so and then pick out the perfect black dress. ;-)

And after spending years thinking that I don't want to get married or don't need to get married, I think I might be scared every step down the aisle wondering why I was doing this.

6:28 AM  
Blogger magnetbabe said...

My dad's wife had never been married when she married him, and she was 51. I can't see her ever being innocent or in awe or anything idealistic like that. She wore a pink dress and they got married in my dad's living room by a Native American non-denominational minister who gave them an Apache blessing at no extra cost. It was enough so that Dean and I (still relatively young) were inspired to forgo the the traditional route as well. I won't tell you what we have up our sleeves, but the majority of the money that would have been spent on flowers, pics, dress etc will be a downpayment on a house instead. I'm thinking you should have taken your girls to the wedding. At least make sure they realize the fairy tale wedding is not always what suits the couple.

BTW Kathleen~
My mom wore a black dress for her second wedding. It was stunning.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous fringes said...

Sounds like my kind of wedding, too. Your question is a good one, but each couple differs. At least at this older couple's ceremony, you didn't have to dance the macarena. That alone is worth their waiting 40 years.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Flash said...

I've been to about 300 weddings in my life, 99% of them behind the Video Camera. The wedding you just described happened only once in my life, and it was the greatest wedding I ever captured. So easy going and fun. The bride wasn't stressed out about making sure to tass the garter before or after dinner, it wasn't rushed...it was just beautiful.

As for the people themselves, I think it's really different for people of their age getting married against someone in their early 20's. Here's how I see it. In the early 20's the bride usually has the "fairy tale" wedding in mind and wants it to go off without a hitch, stressing herself to the point of near breakage, and not allowing herself to really enjoy the moment. But, the couple in their 40's, they've been through life. chances are, they're set in their careers, have seen the places they want to see in life, and just found the person who enjoys life as they do. Of any marrage, I see that one lasting forever, because chances are, there is very little stress going on.

10:29 AM  
Blogger tiff said...

what, no shivaree?

11:36 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

Laidback is the way to go! I've always been a fan of the black dress route too. Of course, if it were me, I'd go the $99 Elvis package and call it good. Except I'm not an Elvis fan. Does Ozzy ever do weddings?

I think it depends too on whether it's an older couple who have lived together for years. I've always wondered if then it's more like just a nice party.

11:58 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Wow, here's a perfect example of how comments can blow away the post.

Kathleen, here is my dream: to see you post a picture of yourself on your wedding day dressed completely in black, with black fingernails and lipstick. Can you make that happen?

"I won't tell you what we have up our sleeves, but the majority of the money that would have been spent on flowers, pics, dress etc will be a downpayment on a house instead."

Yes! Yes!

"At least at this older couple's ceremony, you didn't have to dance the macarena. That alone is worth their waiting 40 years."

I had been practicing the macarena all week though. It was the only down note for me.

"Of any marrage, I see that one lasting forever, because chances are, there is very little stress going on."

I totally agree.

"what, no shivaree?"

I serenaded the happy couple with my comb-and-tissue-paper kazoo. They got really emotional about it ("offended" is emotional, isn't it?)

"I think it depends too on whether it's an older couple who have lived together for years."

Good point. In this case it's been a long distance relationship: the bride lived in Maine and the groom in New Jersey. (Now she'll live in New Jersey.)

12:44 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

I'll be back, in a hurry. My story is up!

12:45 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I married at 18 and often ask myself the same thing. =/

3:41 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Hmmm... I dunno Mr. S. I'm not 40 yet. Or married... :P

5:43 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

I think that getting married for the first time, at any stage of life, has to be just as wonderous. At that age, I'd venture that both participants were convinced of their lifetime single-status, and feel extra blessed to have found one another. I'm happy for them.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Schprockie - I have black lipstick and I can get the black nail polish again, although I'm not sure I want to go completely goth for a wedding. ;-) At least not one where I'm one of the main participants. My Grandma would not be pleased. ;-)

I laughed at fringe's comment about the macarena and your response.

And totally agree with Scott's comment, as God knows I had given up on ever finding anybody with whom I'd want to spend the rest of my life.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Shatterfist said...

I think at that age you would be less apt to make a hasty decision and marry the wrong person for the wrong reason.

I just can't get this image of 'Corpse Bride' out of my head!

8:45 AM  
Blogger Wordnerd said...

You raise a good point, as always. I think that folks that get married at a relatively later time in their lives are doing it for all the right reasons. Comfort, love, knowing what they want. Because I think that society still "expects" young women to get married at some point, these people that marry later in life are doing it only because they want to. And I think that's how it should be. This wedding sounds like a wonderful celebration of these two people.

8:58 AM  

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