Getting married is so expensive. It's a wonder anyone can get hitched at all, especially in these lean times. Not that you'd know it watching "reality" television - ever clicked past Bridezilla? There's a perfect example of folks with too little to spend trying too hard to spend it anyway. What a train wreck. No wonder those poor women are 'zillas.
I say place the emphasis on getting a house and filling it up. Looking back (waaaay back) I remember jumping through the fiery hoops of bridal shower etiquette to receive scads of presents I hardly ever used. Nothing like eating mac and cheese on the Lennox china for a year.
My old roommate in college was from a tiny speck of a town down in southern Arkansas. She lived so far out in the sticks that, if I remember correctly, her summer job was baling hay. When she decided to marry (far below her, as many educated country gals do) the whole town gave the wedding couple an old fashioned pounding.
No, they weren't beaten with sticks. Pounding Parties go way back, especially in the country where folks had no need of fine things and great need for everyday survival. Sharing from the Heart: Tips from a Crone defines it simply,
This custom dates back to pioneer days, and was practiced widely. I don't know its origins, but it's something we should continue today.
When a couple got married and set up housekeeping, it was customary to have a "pounding party". This meant that each guest brought a pound of something: flour, salt, butter — whatever was needed to stock a house — in order to give their friends a good start on their new life.
My old roommate's Pounding Party was a whole-community event where tables groaned with covered-dish specialties and kids ran everywhere. She and her lousy husband-to-be received boxes and grocery bags full of cleaning supplies, mops, canned goods, and rice. There were also plenty of envelopes stuffed with small bills - always a handy gift for couples just starting out.
One woman even presented her with a whole sack of daylilly bulbs dug fresh from her own garden that very morning. Can you imagine anything sweeter?
It was a big party and when it was over, they had everything but the house to set up house. They were also woven into the fabric of her hometown. What a lovely way to begin, even with a bum.
(Want to throw an old-fashioned Pounding Party? E-How has a nice list to get you started. )
From Monda at No Telling, who's had a couple of really nice weddings herself.