Over time, American weddings have changed dramatically, and not just with regards to fashion. The New York Times recently printed an opinion piece on the costs involved for the happy couple and their guests, and through his play, Significant Other, Joshua Harmon brings to the stage some of the modern wedding traditions we experience today. Below we contrast wedding traditions from the 1950's and now.
HELENE (c. 1950s)
HELENE: And here’s me and Pop-Pop, at our wedding.
JORDAN: How old were you there? HELENE: Twenty-one.
Bachelor parties were hosted by the groom’s father. Bachelorette parties did not exist until the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
Interracial marriage was illegal and was not made legal until the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia.
Wedding dresses were modest and white.
Most had long sleeves, lace, a sweetheart
neckline and a ballerina-length hem.
Many wedding receptions featured only
cake and punch. The concept of togetherness
was demonstrated with a cake topper
representing the bride and groom.
Marriages mostly took place in houses of worship.
The bride’s family paid for the wedding expenses. This arrangement came from when the bride’s family had to pay a dowry (some form of property or money) in order for her suitor to agree to marry her.
JORDAN (c. Now)
JORDAN: It doesn’t matter anymore. I went to a wedding where there
were female groomsmen, you can do whatever you want.
The most popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties is Las Vegas. These parties now take on more of a “crazy night out” form.
Brides and grooms can, and do, wear
whatever they desire at the altar. Adding a
“pop of color” is common.
Dessert bars or cupcakes are being
used in place of a traditional tiered
The number of mixed gender bridesmaids and groomsmen is increasing. For example, a male friend of the bride could be asked to be in the bridal party and can attend the pre-wedding festivities traditionally intended for girls only.
Destination weddings have increased in popularity. The most prominent locations for destination weddings include: Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Italy, and Las Vegas.
The Supreme Court has issued a ruling paving the way for the freedom to marry nationwide. Source: Freedom to Marry
Significant Other plays through August 16 at the Laura Pels Theatre. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.
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