Weddings then and now or How I got married Twice
Weddings can be funny
My Wedding in1969 and later too.
In 1969 I got married for the first time.
· Richard Nixon becomes President of the United States
· 250,000 march on Washington in protest at the Vietnam War
· The first man is landed on the moon on the Apollo 11 mission by the United States and Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon. and the famous words "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." will become part of history
· Golda Meir , becomes Prime Minister of Israel
· Robin Knox-Johnston becomes the first person to sail around the world solo without stopping
· The very first U.S. troop withdrawals are made from Vietnam .
· Chappaquiddick Affair Senator Edward Kennedy driving a car plunges into a pond and a body of a woman passenger is found in the car
· Members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder five people including actress Saron Tate
· Woodstock attracts more than 350,000 rock-n-roll fans
· The Boeing 747 jumbo jet makes its debut. It carried 191 people, most of them reporters and photographers, from Seattle to New York City.
· UNIX is invented
Planning the Wedding
Now before this wedding could take place a lot of planning was needed. Today it is easy you hire a wedding planner. We had no such creature 40 years ago. We had to do it all.
The first item of importance was the date. We opted for July 27 for no particular reason other than it was a Saturday and had no special significance and did not fall on anyone’s birthday. It was also midwinter and therefore unlikely to rain. We did not consult a numerologist, a tarot reader, an astrologer or a fortune teller, only a priest to see if the church and he were available.
In that era it was the “done thing’ to have a wedding reception in a smart hotel. It had to be smart as it had to have a ball room. No such thing as seminar rooms, banqueting facilities etc existed at that point in time. The other popular option at the time was a church hall. This was deemed not smart enough. Now of course a ballroom equals dancing and dancing meant a band. No such thing as a disco at a wedding in those days – not done old chap!
This was not a rock band or skiffle group, it had to be an orchestra (at least 6 pieces). After much searching we found a group playing in a restaurant where we were having dinner one Saturday evening and boldly asked if they were up to playing at weddings (an afternoon gig) and they said they were. So serendipity played a role and we had our band called “Laurie and the Bluebirds”.
We of course were still hunting for a suitable hotel which included a good menu, a good price per head and a reasonably priced bar service. At least all these items were bundled in to the service offering at a price. We finally settled on the hotel called the Quirinale situated in the Berea area of Johannesburg near my parents’ home and pretty central.
Who pays for what and what is appropriate protocol for seating. In our day there were hard and fast rules to be followed such as:
Responsibilities Of The Bride
Rental of the location for the ceremony including, music, programs decor
Flowers for the bridesmaids', the church and the reception.
The grooms' ring and boutonniere
Transport for the wedding party
The rental of the location for the reception the food, beverages (except alcohol), music, wedding cake and guest book.
Her physical and blood test
Responsibilities Of The Groom
The engagement and wedding rings for the bride.
The marriage license and officiating officer's fee.
His wedding attire.
The brides bouquet, her going away corsage and boutonnieres for his groomsmen as well as corsages for both mothers and grandmothers.
His bachelor party and the rehearsal dinner.
Alcohol at the reception.
His physical and blood test.
The Pre nuptial contracts
So we simply followed the etiquette of the day.
Then we had to do the invitations. But first, we had to decide how many people to invite and worst still, how many from each family. Then the bun fights, if we invite Uncle and Aunty so and so, how can we exclude so and so. I wonder how many weddings just don’t happen because of the feuding around the arrangements.
The Legal Stuff.
You would be amazed at all the rules and regulations around the legal stuff. The Prenup agreement had to be agreed and drawn up – don’t even ask!, The fact that we could not trace her father who had simply disappeared was also an issue. At that time, as she (the ex) was under twenty one, we needed both parent’s consent and as her mother had remarried, she had not maintained contact with her ex. We had to advertise and then get a court order for the local child welfare officer to sign as surrogate parent!. This is true! However most of the legal regulations were given to us by the Priest who was to be the marriage officer, so although tiresome, we knew what to do.
Finally the day arrived and went off without a hitch but we did not know that 10% of people who accept the RSVP do not pitch up so we, sadly, had a few empty tables at the reception.
We chose our MC well and avoided having a boring MC from hell. We gave him a strict program and timing made him stick to it. All jokes and anecdotes were vetted beforehand to avoid embarrassment and crass stupidity.
We hid our car beforehand (so no wrecking of the car) and advised the best man where it was, so he could supervise the painting of the car and the attaching of cans etc within reason. Again avoiding stupidity.
The Bachelor Party
We arranged this a week before the wedding not the day before. Too many stories of bachelor party stupidity wrecking weddings had come to our attention. Examples such as putting legs in casts or dropping drunken grooms onto long distance trains or just plain alcohol poisoning the day before, were plentiful and factual – not urban legends.
Well all of he planning got me 34 good years until my ex left me for another. The tale is told in another hub
Second time around.
My dearly beloved and I decided it was time to get married after living together for about 6 months.This time it was really straight forward. After we had agreed to get married, I organized the paper work made an arrangement with the local Magistrate, and booked a date and time. I invited two witnesses and my daughter-in-law to be. I Sent out an Outlook email invitation to the parties concerned. I booked a lunch at our favorite restaurant and viola – done. We had a great time, no fuss, no issues.