I would have thought that June would be National Weddings Month, but it’s actually February.
Since this month is probably my least favorite of the year, I decided that discussing weddings was perhaps a cheerful thing to do. After all, to most of us, weddings represent love, hope and the future.
Well, I suppose if you are the one paying for said wedding you may have other thoughts, not all of them positive.
Paul and I got married in April, nearly 24 years ago. I desperately wanted an outdoor wedding, but was too afraid it would rain. I had enough anxiety without worrying about something I had absolutely no control over.
There is so much that goes into planning a wedding. Unless, of course, you are smart and decide to have a really small wedding, or perhaps better yet, elope.
I never considered eloping and instead, opted for a traditional wedding. Looking back, I see many mistakes I made.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved our wedding and have fond memories of that beautiful ceremony. But I would still do many things differently.
One of my most glaring mistakes was having too many showers and parties. When someone asked me if they could have a shower for me or a couple’s shower, I said yes.
I didn’t think about my poor friends and family members, all of us young and just starting out in our careers. That translates to having no money and a bunch of bills none of us were used to having.
If you can relate and are tempted to say, “Yes, it is too bad things cannot be simple like they were in the old days,” just be careful about which “old days” you are pining for.
Way back in 200 A.D. in Northern Europe (the Germanic Goths to be specific), men typically married women in their own community. When girls (and I do mean girls) were in short supply, a man wanting a wife may have had to run over to the next village and capture an unsuspecting girl to be his bride.
To make sure his conquest was a success, he usually took along his “best man,” not moral support but in case the poor girls’ family tried to help her escape.
The best man continued his role, standing beside his buddy during the marriage ceremony — alert and armed and at the ready. This is, in fact, where the tradition of the bride standing to the left of the groom originates.
That way, if her man needed to quickly reach for his sword to smite her brother or father, it was handily done. No wonder the Romans named these tribes barbarians.
The history of the wedding ring is long and often disputed by historians. The tradition definitely goes back thousands of years, but it was the Venetians in the early 1500s who seemed to have popularized a diamond ring.
By the 17th century, the diamond ring had become quite popular and symbolized a proper European engagement.
When we were engaged, I had never shopped for diamonds and had no idea about the three “C’s” I later heard so much about.
Paul had less knowledge than I did and I’m sure his eyes glazed over as the sales people explained all about diamonds. Nevertheless, I could have cared less about all of that and was just almost speechless (I said “almost”) when Paul pulled out that ring and proposed on that Monday night so long ago.
I know it was a Monday because I always had to work late on Mondays and he had asked my boss if I could leave early for a special dinner to celebrate his promotion.
As it turned out, he didn’t get a promotion, but his status was certainly elevated in my eyes.
I love learning about the often hilarious — and sometimes scary — roots of our traditions. Seeing how girls and women were treated and how their wishes were never considered is always jarring.
In almost all cases, the more you study them, the more you learn there has never been a better time to be a woman living in the United States of America.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.