Vintage Wedding: 1981

Today’s Vintage Wedding comes from reader Melissa, and will make you stop in your tracks. It will make you remember what weddings are about, and what marriage is about, and why you’re doing all of this in the first place. So take a deep breath, read, and then go find your partner and kiss them. If you’ve got love, the details don’t matter so much.

My parents met in college and became close friends. They dated for 8 years before finally deciding to get married. They got engaged in July and set the date for August of the same year. They weren’t pregnant at the time – they just decided it was the perfect time for them.

With less than a month to plan they decided to keep everything simple and intimate. My Dad’s family all lived out of state. His parents were able to make it, but not all of his siblings. They decided to get married in my Mom’s parent’s backyard, on a lake.

I e-mailed my Dad to get a few more thoughts from him and he said the following :

“An intimate wedding was just what we wanted. We were both working hard in full-time jobs and we didn’t have time to plan out a big fancy wedding… nor did we want one! I loved having the wedding in my new in-law’s back yard, right on the water and having every one ring hand bells when the service was complete. I also loved that my new sister-in-law put a “Just Married” sign on the mast of the sail boat and took a picture of us sailing off into the sunset. I loved having a swimming party with fried chicken and potato salad with the family right after the ceremony rather than having a stuffy reception where everyone has to do The Chicken Dance!”

I wish I had more from my mom about their, but when you’re 13, the younger you doesn’t think to ask about wedding day memories. I really wish I had, because by the time you want to know all about that, it’s too late.

They married in August 1981 when they were both almost 30. They were both pretty nontraditional individuals so much of the pomp and circumstance of regular weddings fell by the wayside. My mom picked a simple ivory dress and my Dad wore his suit and full hippie beard. They both had only one attendant. My Mom had 5 sisters, so one attendant is impressively small. They included a few songs in the ceremony, because music was so important to both of them. It’s that simple.

After they said “I do” their guests surprised them with a chorus of ringing bells (all part of my Grandma’s bell collection). After the small reception festivities they climbed into a sailboat and literally sailed away into the sunset.

They were happily married for almost 20 years when my Mom passed away from Leukemia. I have never met two people who were so in love. They were best friends, intellectual equals, wonderful parents and the love of each others’ lives (in my Dad’s own words). I got married in October 2009 to a man I had dated for 8 years and I can only hope that we will have half of their happiness.

Photos by: Friends and Family

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