Better Off Wed? by Charlene Sands


arborIn exactly one year from today on May 22nd, I’ll be the mother of the groom!  My son is getting married! The wedding will take place on a country club golf course and their vows will be spoken on the first tee.  My son is an avid golfer, you see, and he wanted to get married on a golf course.  No other place seemed fitting enough.


My husband and I recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. Since both of us worked that day, he took me to Mission Burrito for a taco salad. The entire dinner cost $12.00. We were blissfully happy anyway and will take a little trip next month to celebrate properly. But either extravagant or simple, I feel very fortunate to have spent these past 35 years in a relationship with a warm-hearted, loving man.


My daughter was married just last fall, and now we’re back in wedding mode again. As we stuffed the beautiful engagement party invitations, my husband said, “Seems like we were just doing this.”  It’s true – it was only 7 months ago when we were in full wedding swing. This party will be a summer luau with all the trimmings, including a Tiki Bar with my dh as the Mai Tai Master.  20081011-0133-r


How different weddings are now than in the past. While today young women and girls look forward to marrying their loves, forming that loving bond together with stability and compassion, back in the first half of the 1800’s, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Often, women weren’t overly enthused with the thought of marriage. For them, it meant a hard life of cooking, mending, sewing, chores and bearing children. 


I was surprised to learn that women had on average five to seven children! That’s a lot of meals to cook and clothes to clean! But more importantly, if love wasn’t the means to their marriage, wives were often subjugated to a husband’s wrath. They depended on him for monetary support and therefore, the men always had the upper hand.  Woman often spoke of their upcoming marriage with impending doom or at the very least, anxiety.


Whereas, it’s observed that in the first part of the nineteenth century men looked favorably upon marriage. They’d have good meals cooked, clean clothes and sex on a regular basis.  While women of that time enjoyed sex with a mate before marriage, often their desire waned after marriage. Statistics show this to be true today as well.


In the early part of the century a minister performed the ceremony in the bride’s home for most marriages, although church weddings became more popular later on and soon became the norm. Perhaps due to the preacher’s heavy schedule of sermons and church services, most weddings in early 1800’s were performed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.


Women of the West tended to court and marry at a later age than those in the East and South. They also engaged in more premarital sex and often married if the woman became pregnant.


Today’s research shows from a 2008 study that the average marrying age for women is 25 and for men, 27. 


Since two of our fillies are marrying off their daughters this season, both coincidentally named Kristi/Christi, I asked them about their thoughts and family traditions that continue from generation to generation.  Both Pam Crooks and Tanya Hanson had something unique to share!


From Pam: 


“With a talent she didn’t know she had until she was in her late thirties, my sister Kim decorates beautiful cookies.  Starting with my first daughter, and continuing the tradition with my second and now my third, she makes cookies for every guest at the wedding reception. 


As you read this, Kristi is hours away from being married.  Afterward, since she and her new husband will be moving to Virginia Beach, the guests will find beach-themed cookies at their table.


Love the cookies Pam! Aren’t they adorable! Best wishes at the wedding today!


From Tanya:      


I’m a little crazy right now LOL. Christi had her first fitting on Saturday and suddenly, it’s almost here.

Some traditions, old and new:  Christi is using the cake knife and server, and silver toasting goblets from Matt and Debbie’s wedding, and the little Noritake china bridal cake plate Tim and I ate from. 

A five-generation tradition: Somewhere during the ceremony, the hymn “Let us Ever Walk with Jesus” happens. At our wedding, it was a solo. My parents walked up to the altar to it during WW II. At Matt’s and also Christi’s, it’s the song I will walk in to.


I think all of these traditions are amazing and endearing. 


What about you?  Any weddings on your horizon?  Did you have family traditions that continue on from one generation to the next?   And what wedding scene from either a book or movie stands out in your mind?  


Curious minds want to know!


Don’t forget to enter our Fillies Contest!!

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21 thoughts on “Better Off Wed? by Charlene Sands”

  1. Hi Charlene, I’m a night owl and up late…so now I can have sweet dreams after reading this lovely blog.

    May 22 is a wonderful date…my precious late dad’s birthday! He’s my first hero. And like you, I too am celebrating 35 years with a terrific husband, my second hero 🙂

    An unhappy fact I discovered while researching divorce in the 19th century: well-off men often had their wives committed to an insane asylum as incorrigible if they didn’t want to agree to her divorce. Yikes.

    As for movie weddings: I love every second of Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Father of the Bride (Steve Martin version.) In fact, every time Christi’s dad gets socked with another fee or bill et al, 🙂 I just say, “Weddings are big deals, George.” He’s actually a real trooper about everything…even went with her to select her gown! (Did he get weepy…yes, little bit!)

    Thanks for the great blog! oxoxoxoxox

  2. Weddings – such a wonderful, nerve wracking time. No real family traditions. My husband and I got married outside at a shrine of my parish church. It was the first outside wedding the parish had ever had. (It was 1972) Several people requested them afterward until it was determined not suitable. Both our daughters got married outside too – one at home and one at a lovely venue in Asheville, NC. If our son ever does get married, I can’t imagine it being anywhere but outdoors. Hadn’t really thought about it but guess we did start a family tradition. Outdoor weddings just weren’t the thing back then like they are now.
    There is one wedding scene from a book that comes to mind. It is one of Julie Garwood’s early books. The hero has the priest marry them on horseback on the trail in the Highlands. She thinks it is a hand fasting or commitment and doesn’t find out until later she is actually married. Loved her historicals and was so disappointed when she switched to contemporary stories.

  3. Hi Patricia – Both my children opted for outside weddings. They love the outdoors and scenery, though I still love an indoor church wedding with all the trimmings, I have to admit there was such a bonding of nature and wonderful natural scenery at outdoor weddings. Times are changing.

    I never heard of a parish holding a wedding outside. I might have wanted that too, if it was allowed. We got married in 1974, but our church parish was on a main boulevard and that would have been noisy!

    I hear Asheville, NC is beautiful so I imagine the wedding was very lovely.

    Yes, Julie Garwood did some amazing books! I remember meeting her in a bathroom at our RWA convention. I kept thinking Wow, Julie Garwood is in the next stall! (okay, too much info, right?) 🙂

  4. My mother had an 18″ waist when she married–I think I was born with an 18″ waist. lol So no chance of wearing Mom’s gown. Because my dh and I are both musicians, we had a Pre-Nuptual Concert. No one in my little hometown had ever done that. It was fun.

    I loved the blog, Charlene. Best wishes for the upcoming wedding!

  5. Both my son and my daughter are seriously involved with someone at this time. Will weddings be in the near future? I’m not really sure. As for my daughter, I certainly hope not. The man she’s with would have fit just fine into the time period you’re talking about. Demanding, self-centered, controlling. My son, on the other hand, is with a wonderful girl, but I think she has a little more “growing up” to do before they take that big step!

  6. Hi Tracy – Wow, I’ve never heard of a Pre-Nupial Concert. That must have been so unique and fun for everyone. What instruments do you and your hubby play? Our family is so not musically inclined, so I’m always in awe of musicians.

    Thanks for you good wishes. Seems like a long way off, but we’re going today to see Sunset Hills, the golf course where they’ll be getting married. It sounds so pretty. And we’ll check out the weather and time of day for the wedding, since it’s exactly one year from today.

  7. Hi LuAnn – I can understand your concerns. All we ask is that our children be with someone compassionate and kind. Someone who loves them with all their heart. When that happens, a parent is content and hopeful for their future. Thanks for your post today!

  8. I’m a flutist and singer; Dan played trumpet. All our friends were music majors, as well, so we gather together seven or eight and they played for an hour before the ceremony. Viola, voice, organ, piano… We had lots of music that day.

    Have fun checking out the course. I’m sure it will be beautiful!

  9. Congratulations on your son’s upcoming marriage! Wow, seems weddings are popping up all over the place. I’m sure you’re rightfully thrilled. It’s a satisfying moment to have our children with the mates they’ve chosen.

    I eloped for my first wedding and went before the Justice of the Peace for my second. My three children had equally low-key weddings. No elaborate affairs for us. Guess we’re just too practical. Didn’t see the need to spend all that money when it can be better put to use to live on.

    I’ve written several wedding scenes in my stories. I love the old traditions and values of the West.

  10. Hi Linda – thanks for the congrats! Oh, an elopement– sounds so romantic. One day, I’ll write an elopement story.

    Old traditions are great. We’re very big into traditions in our family.

  11. Sandy your son and his future bride picked a great day to get married. My aunt and uncle were married May 22 and had 48 years of marriage before he died. So the happy couple this and many more years.
    In our family the brides are given a necklace that is been in our family for at least 6 genterations to wear on their wedding day. The eldest member of the brides family put’s it on the bride on her wedding day. It is gold with small seed pearls. My aunt went to have it cleaned and appraised, but the jeweler would not touch it. He said if one of the pearls dislodged it would lessen the value of the necklace. I never married so I did not get to wear it. But my niece will wear when ever her big day arrives. I hope that my mother who is the eldest memeber of the family will be able to watch her grandaughter where this family heirloom.
    To Pam and Tanya, good luck with your weddings. I think that idea with the cookies is a great idea.

  12. Hi Kathleen O – Thanks for your post. I love hearing traditions like yours. I’d love to see that necklace. It must be beautiful, and so sentimental. So, does the necklace transfer ownership until the next family member marries?

  13. Hi Charlene! Congratulations on being the mother of the groom. What a joy that must be! With two grown sons, I’m looking forward to such a day . . . I’ve got a ways to wait, though. They’re both finishing school.

    My husband and I have been married for 29 amazing years. We got married in my parents living room on a Tuesday morning. After reading your post, I can see it as a historical flashback of sorts. We had the most wonderful time . . . very simple and sweet. Just family, which is what we wanted.

  14. In hispanic weddings, there are various traditions and we used a couple. There is the “lasso,” a braided loop of ribbon which is placed about the shoulders of the couple signifying unity. Another is the basket of coins (usually dimes) which the groom presents to the bride, representing his gift of worldly goods.

    There were 5 daughters in our family and we were in each others’ weddings, except Olga who became a religious sister but we all attended the service when she made her solemn vows! We were all married in the “Chapel That Mom Built.” It was called that in our family because Mother headed up the committee which raised the funds used to build the chapel. The four sons were all
    married in their brides’ family churches.

    Pat Cochran

  15. Wow–love those wedding pictures, Charlene! Absolutely stunning 😀 Really enjoyed the peek at Pam and Tanya’s preparations too.

    I remember my mom’s panicked expression when I told her I was getting married–in three months *g* We just had to get married on the date we started “going out”. I’m sure she wanted to choke me *ggg*

    Great post—sending happy wedding wishes to those Brides-To-Be!!!

  16. Hi Tanya,
    Wow, your comment didn’t arrive until this afternoon! Thanks for stopping by! Oh I love that line in Father of the Bride! It’s so true!
    And thanks for your input about your lovely traditions!

    Stay sane during this crazy time!!

    Nikki and I just saw Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and I don’t recommend it to anyone having a wedding soon. Though it had a happy ending, the poor bride and groom had nothing but trouble! 🙂

  17. Hi Vicki – You’re catching up to me! Congrats on 29 years! Don’t worry, mothers of the grooms have it much easier. If your boys get married, you won’t have as much to do and you can sit back and enjoy. At LEAST, I’m hoping that’s how it’ll go. 🙂

  18. HI Stacey – I don’t blame your mom! Geesh, 3 months? I met your mom, she’s a sweet lady. I hope she forgave you for putting her thru that!!

    I bet your wedding was lovely too. Thanks for the kind words about the wedding. 🙂

  19. Hi Pat C — Oh, I love those Hispanic traditions. They make the ceremony so endearing. How wonderful to have been married in the Chapel that Mom Built. 🙂 So you have 4 sisters and 4 brothers? A big family! Thanks for sharing your traditions … all of these are so awesome.

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