Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Weddings from the past

I have been reading a blog called A Practical Wedding lately and Meg has had several very good posts lately.

This morning, I got my first response from a caterer when I sent my plan for appetizers and champagne. She said that a budget of $3000 would not be enough since it would barely cover the cost of servers.

This is bumming me out. This is what I feared when we decided that we wanted a wedding in the city. This is making me pine for that potluck affair in my parents' backyard that niggles in the back of my imagination.

But while this would be enough of a celebration for my family and friends, Jacob's family is coming in from all over the country and really only get to see each other at weddings and bar mitzvahs. They deserve a little bit more of a party for coming so far.

My nuclear family has narrowed its scope over the years. We invest our time in about 30 members of our extended family and have lost touch with the rest. For us, this is a good choice because we get so much more from these people we love so much and do not have to spend energy on near-strangers who offer stress and guilt.

On Sunday, I attended the family shower of another best friend who is getting married in July. Her family still sees the larger family at weddings and funerals and watching them interact, I have forgotten that a dynamic like that is also valuable. To be aware of the tribal nature of our identities is important.

I think Jacob is like this. I think Jacob gains strength and reassurance and confidence from seeing with his eyes the collection of people who stem from the same root that he does.

This is why I've become comfortable with a fancy wedding in a rented hall with caterers. Because I want this day to be as special to Jacob as it is to me.

But knowing that we will have to go a lot over budget to accomplish this has sent me running back to the comfort of my homey fantasy.

So when I read Meg's post that quotes one of her commenters saying,
"I definitely began wedding planning with the idea of, "We'll keep it small- we'll have it pot-luck.Traditionally, that's what people used to do." (My family is Congolese and Haitian). But the reality of people flying in from all over the country and the world to attend our wedding has completely changed that. We have cut and cut as far as we feel is comfortable and our wedding is still over the top- mostly, because, as it turns out, we are hosting a family reunion that we are footing the bill for. Yes, I know that standards have changed and certain items have become a must-have but the reality is, is that our lives have changed drastically from the 1960's. People weren't hopping into airplanes to crisscross the globe so casually and people's social circles tended to be smaller. Also, people get married 10 years older than they used to. This means that they probably didn't have work friends + college friends+ high school friends. Maybe many of us are trying to hard to thread together the disparate parts of our lives. Or maybe one day we will get back to the idea that a wedding had more to do with building a home for the couple, rather than pretending as though we're richer than we really are."
I was struck a little dumb and calmed a little (just a little) that we're on the right course. I suggest reading the whole post that honors the good ole days and finding inspiration there while inserting realism about how times have changed.

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