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What Should a Child Know About Weddings?

Updated on February 3, 2013

Uncharted Space

I must say that I am very much impressed with the Hubs contributed to this week's HubMob Topic: Weddings! The HubMobsters' Hubs this week are informative, different, fun, and quite engaging.

It's not a topic that leads me to write tomes of material, because I have seen few weddings, I think, when comparied with my friends. However, I have a couple of stories that might entertain you a bit.

The Funeral Shroud.

See how this shroud resembles a wedding dress.
See how this shroud resembles a wedding dress.

Wedding Receptions and Wakes

By the time I was 5 years old, I'd attended three funerals - one with a wake - and had not been able to persuade any of the adults to explain to me what was going on, or why.

In my mind, people sat in rows to listen to sad music while a woman dressed in a fancy long gown lay in a box between two floor lamps and two tall pots of white lilies. It was a celebration - a sad celebration with people quietly weeping and at least one person shouting out and crying while throwing himself or herself onto the box after it was closed. I did not know any of the three deceased and wondered why I had to be at each "celebration."

You may be guessing the wedding connection at this point, but I shall continue.

The boxes, each containing a woman, would be carried out of the home or funeral parlor and loaded into a fancy limousine. The celebrants lined up their cars behind it and drove somewhere - a "cemetery." No one would tell me what that was, until finally I was told that people were dead. No one would tell me what that meant.

Then people sat in rows and listened to a sermon (whatever that was) and the box was put into the ground as people left the grave site.

The wake I attended after a funeral held in a home included only foods I had never eaten before, like pigs' brains sandwiches. They tasted like a sponge and kept rudely asking WHAT it was. Of course, I received no answers. This wake was for a great aunt and just a few months later, her husband, a great uncle I also had never met before, died and there was another funeral.

At least this is a little better. But who really wants a coffin to hold the rings? Maybe a Halloween wedding.
At least this is a little better. But who really wants a coffin to hold the rings? Maybe a Halloween wedding.

WHAT is this?

A year later, my first grade class watched a Catholic or Anglican wedding on TV in school as part of a social studies unit about global culture and customs. It was the first wedding I had ever witnessed.

My first impressions were reactions to the somber music - like a dirge - and the fancy long white gown of the bride. She carried white lillies. There were floweres on either side of a six-foot-long table or altar. People were quietly weeping in the rows of celebrants. The bride would only wear the gown once.

It was hard to hear what the pastor was saying, so I could not tell what was going on, exactly.

Some tiny part of my mind thought that the bride was going to be put into a box and buried. Her husband might experience the same maneuver in about 6 months' time.

This was not something I wanted to do in my own life.

Mother-In-Law Jokes

Over the years as I became older, I heard a gross of jokes on TV about in-laws and wives being unsavory characters. Then the husband jokes crept up on us as well. All these jokes were everywhere - radio, TV, newspaper columns, comic strips, comic books, etc. Some children might have received the impression that marriage is bad and it can kill you - especially if a wife hits a husband over the head with a proverbial rolling pin or cast iron skillet.

What did Henny Youngman used to say? - Take my wife...Please!

To the positive, I never took any of these jokes seriously. However, the somber music and long white gowns of weddings did not make me feel very happy. These things still produce eerie feelings.

Much Happier Times

Church in the background of a park. From sumeja on
Church in the background of a park. From sumeja on

Finally, Some Wedding Fun

When I went to college, a couple that were friends of mine decided to have an outdoor wedding and reception in a city park, free-of-charge. It was a bright, sunny afternoon and the event was really fun.

First, the music was very HAPPY, like popular music and baroque tunes. No one wore black or white. The bride wore a colorful pant suit and the groom wore a sports jacket and jeans. For a bouquet, the bride carried a large bunch of dandelions and as the pastor pronounced them man and wife, she tossed all the loose dandelions high into the air over their heads. The plants landed in the grass to take seed. No rice or birdseed was thrown at the couple, either.

The reception consisted of a large picnic with enough sandwiches, chips, and punch to go around to the 75 people in attendance. Everyone laughed and had a good time dancing in the park that Saturday afternoon.

Another Unique Wedding

The sister of another friend had a wedding in the 1980s in a sports stadium. The event was themed after a Spanish bullfight, with the bride dressed as Carmen and the groom as a bullfighter in gold lame. No white gowns or black suits.

The parents of the couple dressed as kings and queens and guests dressed as any number of Spanish people, peasants to merchants to royalty. Of course, Spanish music was played and a big feast was held after the wedding.

I don't know what they did about a bull, though, but it all sounded like a lot of fun.

Toreador! from "Carmen"


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      hey VegVixen, I'm laughing at the story myself, now...I found the picture of the coffin box somewhere on an old sales flyer on the Internet. I think i searched Google Images for coffin cartoons and the box also came up with the cartoons. I saw one in a department store once, too.

    • VegVixen profile image

      VegVixen 8 years ago

      Three funerals by the age of 5?? Wow!!! I can see how a five year old would confuse a wedding and a funeral! Where did you find the mini coffin/ring holder? I've never seen anything like that!! Your writing is very descriptive and had me literally laughing out loud! :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Hi Cris A! - I do wish I'd seen a wedding first! and the last part of your comment is very funny :)

      Zooloot! -- I, too, wonder what would have happened. The wedding in general would seem more fun and postive, certainly.

      RGraf - That's exactly what I felt like - stopping everything, walking out the front door (except I did not know where I was) :)

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I almost stopped reading after the sandwiches of pig brains. I'm still queasy.

      Otherwise, wonderful hub - goes to show that there are a million ways to have your own wedding.

    • profile image 8 years ago from Europe

      The Toreador from "Carmen" video really sweetened this for me. I wondered what would have happened if this had been your first experience of a wedding.

      I loved the way he sang to the women then went off the side and threw his drink back with the guys. Classic! Wish I was that macho at my first wedding which was I must say a lot like a funeral; metaphorically speaking :)

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I enjoyed this hub. And I must agree with you that the hubs on weddings have been good. Anyway, I think people should attend weddings first before they do a funeral to fully understand the "till death do us part" bit. :D

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Oh no, I was just getting my head on straight about all this. "BOING"

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      Another good one Patty! My funeral was 23 years ago, and I have been at peace ever since!

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Patty! I just realized that I don't have this hub in the HubMob listings!! I assume you answered through the request, so I'm going to correct this now.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Isn't that ironic, dineane? haha

    • dineane profile image

      dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Ha Ha! Yes, too bad as a youngster you associated funerals with weddings - but I'm sure many grownups have the same interpretation! Good hub!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Thank you Shirley!

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Pig brain sandwiches?!? YUCK! I didn't even know there was such a thing, but it sounds pretty gross.

      I'm sorry that you got this impression of weddings, Patty. At such a young and impressionable age, it's not surprising, I guess. Just goes to show you how young children perceive things that they cannot understand yet. It's too bad though (yet some would say it's perfect :)) that you assimilated weddings with funerals.

      Great hub, Patty!