Of weddings past and present

It worked.

For all our fears: that it would rain; that we would run out of food; that we would not keep up with the drinkers, of whom as it turned out there were only a few; or that some other unknown unimaginable disaster might befall us on the day; it worked.

And in an hour or two when every one else is up and about, the next stage of the clean up will begin, a clean up that includes a post mortem of proceedings, one of my favourite times after a significant social event, when we all get to gossip and reminisce about who said what and to whom.

Where we crow about the joys of the day and pat one another on the back that all our preparations have paid off and from time to time we might remark on something small that we could have done better, but it will only be small.

As the groom’s father left our house at the end of the day, he patted the bride’s father on the back – they’d both had a bit to drink – and said something like, ‘You’re the best person I’ve met in a long time.’

Such a compliment to my husband and even through the alcohol you could tell it was sincere. Small exchanges like this help to bring these two new families together. Now united through the marriage of our two children.

It’s one aspect of marriage that I relish, the bringing together of tribes, of families of people who would otherwise not connect. For all our differences we have similarities.


My parents’ marriage in Haarlem and my husband’s parents’ marriage in Mansfield, Australia could not be further apart, though both brides wore white veils, both carried bouquets and both their grooms wore suits. My father wore a top hat.

Both marriages happened in the shadow of world war two and in both cases you could not see the trimmings of war in the background.

I long admired the fact that my mother and father were such contrasts in height, my father six foot three, my mother five foot two  Even those measurements held some synchronicity.


I do not know the height of my husband’s parents though both were short.  My mother-in-law wore glasses on her wedding day, as did my father.


And all four young marrieds had the thin look of hunger from working hard, whether on the land, as did my husband’s parents; or through war as did my parents.

When my husband and I married we failed to please either set of parents by sharing the tradition each upheld of marrying in the Catholic church. We chose instead the Religious Centre at Monash University where my husband had once studied.


I’m all for receptions held at home. The personal touch. My oldest daughter married in her own home, my second daughter had the reception in her home of origin. Home can be wherever we want it to be, but it’s a place where the small children, and there were several at both weddings, can run amuck in relative safety.

Not one child fell into our pond, not one child fell while running, though there were a few brawls among our two grandsons, none of great import, not that I could see and both boys managed to hold onto the rings during the service for long enough that they could in time hand them over to their grandfather who became the ring bearer on the occasion as he had made the rings.

Two daughters married, as Mrs Bennet from Pride and Prejudice fame might say: two daughters married… ‘I shall go distracted’.

6 thoughts on “Of weddings past and present”

  1. I wonder how many weddings I’ve been to. A few. My brother, twice. My sister, twice. Most of the actual weddings have been in registrar offices I’ll be honest. I’ve never understood the fuss some people make about weddings or how much they’re willing to spend. The first time I got married I wore one of my dad’s suits and it pleased the hell out of me that I was now the same size as him since I’d always appreciated his build. For a lot of the weddings I attended I ended up being the photographer so I had a job to do that kept me occupied and distracted and so I couldn’t get blootered and make a fool of myself; I always had the candid shots to try and capture. I’m glad all that’s done with. The pressure! Never once been to a reception at home; always some bowling club or something equally miserable.

    I don’t enjoy large social gatherings. They invariably involve drink and I don’t like being in the company of drunks. The last wedding reception Carrie and I went to was for one of my ex-trainee’s daughters. It was horrible. The music was so loud I asked her if she could have a word with the band—we couldn’t hear ourselves think and we certainly couldn’t carry on a conversation—and she did but I never heard from her after that; my guess is I somehow offended her but these things happen.

    I’ve only attended a Catholic ceremony once and it was definitely fun. The chapel had somehow been double-booked and so the priest was rushing us through the service. I’ve experienced nothing like it since. The whole thing probably took ten minutes.

  2. Weddings can be tough events, Jim, but fortunately this one wasn’t. I also recognise the pressure for all concerned, bridal party, family, hangers- on and guests. There’s something about the wish to make to all work as if it is a harbinger of the future. If that’s so I reckon my daughter’s future should be rosy enough given the pleasures of that day. Thanks, Jim.

  3. I loved looking at all three wedding pictures and reading your descriptions and reminiscences.

    ‘You’re the best person I’ve met in a long time.’ – such a lovely utterance, no matter the fuel behind it.

  4. It’s true, Kass. It’s lovely to have someone say such things, no matter how energised by ‘fuel’ And thanks for your shared pleasure at my ‘reminiscences.’

  5. Delighted that your hard work was rewarded, Elisabeth. What a lovely memory.
    We enjoy a lovely (distance) relationship with our DiL’s family and a lot of shared contacts so that one is especially easy going. We then formed a wonderful friendship with the parents and family of our second son’s GF, but unfortunately their relationship was not to be. It was quite devastating when they broke up. (and it was my husband and her mother that grieved the most!) Sadly, the same son’s new GF has not been easy to bond with and has ‘issues’ with the old relationship. I don’t think she realises she is just making the old GF look so much better.
    I fear they are making long term plans and that fills me with unease. Two sons married, I shall go distracted!

  6. I love that you’re distracted, too, Karen. Families are endlessly fascinating in the way they grow and sway and swell, with comings together and ruptures along the way. Thanks.

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