The cost of a wedding . . for better or for worse? . . . .


I just read online that the average cost of a wedding is now $31,213.  The average!

I read, however, that the parents usually contribute only 43 percent of the cost.  Whew!  That’s a relief.  That’s only $13,411.59.

How did this happen?

Above you will see a picture of my wedding reception.  Mine and Gene’s .  This was in 1948.

It never occurred to us to have it anywhere but in the church.  We were proud of that basement.  A few years before, the old church was lifted and a basement dug.  The labor was done mostly by parishioners.  Now we had plenty of room for Sunday School classes (see the screens behind us that were used to partition the room into classes).  See the sturdy, dry concrete blocks that lined the walls.  Note the heat runs across the ceilings (that may or may not show in this converted TIF file).  And realize that to our left is a large kitchen with cupboards and stoves, refrigerator, dishes and utensils, plus a pass-through counter for serving.  This was UPTOWN.

I remember that my dress cost $50, an unthinkably expensive garment in 1948.  Someone helped me fashion a veil.  My mother brought the candlesticks and candles.  The bakery probably charged $25 for the cake.  The bouquet in the background was from someone’s garden.

The decoration for the wedding upstairs consisted of flowers in the front of the church and clusters of flowers with ribbon streamers attached to the end of each pew.  I walked down the aisle at 8:00 p.m.  It had been a hot, steamy day with a storm approaching, The curl in my hair was threatened.  Small circles were appearing through my heavy satin gown.  The groom’s blue suit was turning his white shirt blue under the arms.  The flowers were wilting.  There was no air conditioning and the temperature was around 100.  Floor fans gave little relief and made a lot of noise.  My tiny twin nieces preceded us down the aisle tossing flowers and singing “Doris’s parrrrrty.”  A friend played the violin, another friend at the piano.

But the wedding didn’t take long, and the guests were glad to move to the basement where it was cooler.

We all had a good time, and when Gene and I left for our honeymoon, I threw the bouquet down the basement stairs.

We didn’t realize we were wedding on the cheap.  We just did what everyone else did.  And the guests gave us what everyone chose for wedding gifts . . tablecloths, vases, one piece of silverware from the bride’s chosen pattern, one cup and saucer for her china, toasters, pots and pans, most of it from the local general store.

But the funny thing is, that marriage lasted 63 years . . until Gene opted out to take a little leave from earth.  And because we spent so little when we were young, we had a bit more when we were old.

Somehow the details of today’s weddings can sometimes override the feelings of the day.  But let us hope not.



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy
    Mar 14, 2015 @ 19:49:58

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful picture and wedding thoughts, Doris.
    How interesting! I love to read your stories.


  2. Donna Thomas
    Mar 14, 2015 @ 22:14:22

    What beautiful, and wise young couple.


  3. Barbara Kladstrup
    Mar 15, 2015 @ 15:10:24

    Loved every word of it, Doris, and related to everthing you described. I think I used Ellen’s veil, and several years later Pete’s sister remade the top and wore it. What a shock when, years later, I attended an antique show in the Moorhead church and there was my wedding dress!


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