We’re currently in Minnesota for my sister-in-laws wedding, which was Saturday. It was lovely and the junior bridesmaid, flower girl and ring bearer were fantastic. The bride and groom are now happily hitched. The bride was beautiful, the groom was beaming–just what a happy couple should be. It was a rather elaborate affair, not expensive and fancy, just . . . involved.
Weddings tended to the simple when I was growing up. Small receptions in the church hall with cake and punch. And although the weddings in DC were much more formal and expensive, I really wasn’t involved in them other than enjoying the celebration and bestowing happy wishes on the blessed couple. There are many customs that were curious to my simple West Texas ways.
- Groomsmen and ushers: the groomsmen aren’t exactly overburdened with duties. Can’t they seat people?
- The Dollar Dance: not unknown, but not part of my tradition.
- The sheer number of “special dances.” We left at number 5, because we had to get the rugrats to bed. I have no idea how long the special dances went on. For our wedding, we had a 1st dance, parent/child dance. Then everybody got in on the dancing.
- Raffling off the garter: ??? My Little Miss apparently sold quite a few raffle tickets to the event. I’m a little ambivilent about her success.
- Gathering for another (much smaller & simpler) party for opening of gifts the day afterward: okay, this thing is ending sometime, right? Because we’ve got to get back to Texas.
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There were other interested variations that were almost, but not quite, what I’m used to. Every time we come to Minnesota, I’m reminded that there is not on “American culture,” but rather many smaller cultures, combining and evolving and sometimes freaking me out. Hotdish, for example, freaks me out a little bit. (We’re having Tatertot Hotdish tonight. I’m tingly with anticipation. Or maybe that’s fear.) Even where we are near Dallas is much different from Virginia and even my hometown in West Texas.
We have a tendency to think we are homogenizing and cultural variations are dissapearing. And maybe that’s true to some extent. There is, after all, a hockey team in Dallas now. But we’ll still watch our hockey while enjoying a Frito Pie and the Minnesotans can keep their lutefisk.