Our world has seen a lot of changes in the past fifty years. We've seen fads come and go. We've seen leaps and bounds in scientific research and technology. Weddings have seen their share of changes too. The weddings of today are nothing like the ceremonies that took place decades ago. Nearly everything has changed from the styles and colors of dresses to the gifts given at showers. It seems that the only thing that remains the same is the end result: after the ceremony the couple leave as husband and wife.
In weddings of the past, a couple was always married by a preacher or a justice of the peace. While some had church weddings, many were married at the pastor's house. My grandmother was one such bride. She and my grandfather went to the home of a preacher where they were married, he in his suit and she in an aqua colored dress made by her mother. They then proceeded on to their honeymoon which was one night spent at his sister's house. My how things have changed.
Back then, few brides had what is now considered a wedding dress, and the dress they did wear was usually homemade. Those that did wear traditional wedding gowns had very simple, modest, tea length styles in white. Only white. White symbolized purity, and every bride was expected to be pure. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that they always were. There were quite a few babies back then that were born two or three months "premature". At that time, if a man got a woman pregnant, he did the respectable thing and married her right away.
Those that did have church weddings held very simple affairs paid for by the father of the bride. Music was played by a piano or organ in the church if there was any music at all, and the reception afterward was rarely much more than punch and cake. There were sometimes photographers, but not a lot of pictures were made, and they were all made after or during the ceremony.
Gifts given were all items for the household because brides were usually very young and had never lived on their own. These gifts were often handmade by loved ones. Brides also usually had a chest of items that they had made or collected for their home like curtains, hand towels, and pots and pans.
Now let's fast forward to today. Weddings are major affairs, often being paid for by the couple getting married and putting them deep in debt. Studies show that the average wedding now costs twenty-eight thousand dollars. The dresses, though often white, can be found in all colors and styles. They tendto be very extravagant and are rarely modest like those of the past. These weddings can take place anywhere from a church to a park or even on a cruise ship or a tropical island. Anyone can perform the ceremony. All they have to do is go online to become a clergyman for a day. The music is often played on a cd or sometimes done by instruments like violins, flutes, and trumpets.
The receptions are sometimes even grander than the ceremonies. Full dinners are often served, and DJs and dancing have become a common thing. Photographers spend hours taking pictures of the happy couple, usually before the ceremony. This has done away with the superstition that it is unlucky for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.
In this day and age, it is not uncommon for the bride and groom to have lived together or even to already have children together. Wedding dresses now come in maternity sizes for pregnant brides. And because they have lived together, couples these days don't need gifts for the household. Instead, they register for electronics or honeymoon activities, or they ask for cash.
As you can see, very little has remained the same in the last fifty years. The venues, the styles, even the food is different. And let's not forget that in some states same sex marriage is now acceptable. That's definitely not something that happened in previous decades. It makes you wonder what weddings will be like in the years to come. Regardless, I suppose the important thing at the end of the day is that people are still getting married. How and where they do it isn't nearly as important as the fact that it's still being done.