Last week my family was fortunate to partake in a quiet celebration of my parents’ 65th wedding anniversary.
We sat around the table enjoying a simple meal and listened to my mom and dad as they each took turns recalling their wedding day and the “reception” that followed.
We listened intently as they described how “things” differed “in those days”… the wedding celebration, in church, on a Saturday morning… a walk through the town and a simple home reception immediately followed for close friends and relatives… then socializing of “guests” until the wee hours of the morning – while the newlyweds waited patiently on the sidelines for everyone to leave… and then “honeymoon seclusion” for 8 days! Yes, an 8-day seclusion. Apparently, the custom was that newlyweds were frowned upon if they showed their faces in public prior to the 8th day following the ceremony. And, on that 8th day, they were expected to be first seen at Holy Mass – in church, where it all began.
The reception consisted of home-made treats/goodies and, get this, home-made hard liquor! Yes, my father had a big smile on his face as my mother explained how he had to walk to and from Catanzaro to purchase the alcohol in order to create the base for the distilled luxury.
At one point, my father sarcastically described how a “limousine” picked them up and took them to the honeymoon “retreat” at one of our lands outside town – no such luck! Such things did not exist, for them – even in their dreams.
Of course, I am certain that exceptions existed and that social status likely determined the elaborate-ness of a wedding celebration and a “honeymoon” – the description my parents shared with us was the wedding and honeymoon of a “common” couple.
A look back at the simple times.