Weddings go on - no matter war and recession and beatification - 10/22/01
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
Tue Oct 23 15:44:10 EDT 2001
subject: Weddings go on - no matter war and recession - 10/22/01
from: Smart Marriages
Thanks to all of you who commented on the beatification of the married
couple....some of whom were really funny, but we don't want to offend so
won't share those.
I'm sharing just this one reply that best sums up the many thoughts on this
matter. - diane
The report from their son that Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi "decided
to sleep in separate beds after 20 years of marriage, living like brother
and sister for another 26 years......a normal family that sought to live its
relationships on a plane of high spirituality" shows that he may be unaware
of actualities of married life and probably unaware that another way to live
a spiritually fulfilling and sacramental marriage is through the gift of
loving physical surrendering to each other as a couple.
Hopefully, some such couple will also be named as candidates for sainthood
in the future. Faithful human sexuality is a gift from God to sacramentally
married couples and choosing to continue to give and receive that gift is
actually a responsible and spiritual way of life for them and in all ways
allows them to be candidates for sainthood.
I hope readers of this article don't think that in order to be Catholic
saints you have to give up your intimate life as spouses. Not true!
Catholic and married 38 years.
REFLECTIONS ON STEPFAMILIES, HASTY MARRIAGES, ETC:
I want to make a couple of observations on the
rejoicing that has appeared lately on your e-newsletter. First, I find it
surprising how happy folks are that young people are "rushing to the
altar" in the wake of September 11th. This is somewhat contrary to your
group's standard advice of making careful decisions in partnering
choices. Second, Blankenhorn speaks of his 25-year-historical
perspective and admiration for this rush to the altar. He needs a
longer perspective. Historically, in anticipation of any war
engagement, Americans have married at very high levels. Following the
war period, they have also divorced at very high levels. (I created a
marriage and divorce chart tracking this for all periods covered by US
census data for one of my earlier books.)
A third comment re marriage and the 11th has to do with the funerals and
grieving of "complicated" families: those who are mourning ex spouses
(for whom they may not have said a decent word for years) and children
mourning stepparents as well as parents they may not have seen for some
time (guilt????) - situations which neither our families nor
counselors are prepared to address because society assumes there isn't
much of a relationship. These family situations will be further
complicated by US laws and policies that do not acknowledge legal
relationships or financial responsibilities between stepparents and
stepchildren (contrary to the way families actually live) so
stepfamilies will be doubly negatively impacted by the lack of valid
inheritance claims to support stepchildren along with the emotional
loss. And, looking down the road a few years, we'll have a new group of
stepfamilies formed as the result of all these parental deaths and not
"morally suspect" because of divorce. Will that make a difference in how
stepfamilies are perceived - more positively? - so we can at last work
together to provide good resources to support stepfamilies?
Just wondering about these things...
Dr. Margorie Engel, President
Stepfamily Association of America
EMAIL: Engel at SAAfamilies.org
WEDDINGS GO ON, NO MATTER WHAT:
Sunday, October 21, 2001
San Francisco Chronicle
The nation is at war, acts of bioterrorism are being perpetrated, she lost
her dot-com job a few weeks ago, and Nancy Gottesman still pulled off the
Happiest Day of Her Life yesterday.
Despite everything, America's multimillion-dollar marriage business
continues to thrive. This is especially true at the moment in the Bay Area,
where our parallel-universe weather means more people tend to tie the knot
in the roasty-toasty fall than in the sub-Arctic summertime.
In Gottesman's case, she refused to allow anything -- not the Sept. 11
attacks, not unemployment -- to interfere with her Big Day, held at a temple
in San Rafael. If anything, she saw it as her duty to tie the knot.
"Every day there's more bad news," she told me. "Anthrax, bombs. But you
can't let them win. I won't let someone stop me from doing what I want to
Such matrimony in the face of adversity is music to Grace Young's ears. As
owner of the Bridal Galleria, San Francisco's leading purveyor of wedding
she not only believes the show must go on, marriagewise, but that a good
wedding can in fact serve as Prozac for a depressed nation.
"We all can use a warm and fuzzy feeling right now," Young said. "It's a way
for us to affirm what we value in America -- love, freedom and relationships
with one another.
"I don't want to say that getting married is a patriotic thing to do," she
added. "But if it's patriotic for a wedding to keep a hotel going, a caterer
going, a photographer going -- so be it."
Not that everything's exactly the same as before. Gottesman said she invited
nearly 200 people to her ceremony, but several dozen simply refused to set
foot on an airplane.
Meanwhile, Deva Sexton, who won't be getting hitched until April but is
already deep into her planning, is trying her best to accommodate the
country's changed circumstances.
"My fiance said we need to sit down and think about a budget," she said
while trying on a shimmering, $4,000 gown. "I'm a little disappointed, but I
guess this was expected."
In fact, Bay Area wedding budgets have been in a tailspin since the tech
boom went kerblooey. Bridal Galleria's Young said blushing brides who once
didn't bat an eye at the thought of spending $9,000 on a gown are today
asking to see things more in the $2,000 range.
"People used to tell me they'd just sell off some stocks to pay for
everything," Young said. "Now we discuss budgets right up front."
Laurence Whiting, whose San Francisco company, Now We're Cooking, caters
about 60 weddings a year, said budgets that previously ran as high as $150
per guest now typically fall below $100.
"The tone of weddings is a little more somber, a little more in step with
the times," he observed. Nevertheless, Whiting pointed out that almost all
of his recent clients have requested pricey beef dishes for the menu instead
of more-frugal chicken or fish plates.
"Maybe in times like these, people are looking for food that will make them
feel better, if only for a day," he said.
Annena Sorenson, one of the Bay Area's leading wedding planners, said that a
halfway classy marriage in these parts still runs about $45,000, more than
twice the national average. But she, too, has already seen clients
mostly by cutting back on the number of guests.
Sorenson, who oversees all aspects of concocting a lavish and memorable
ceremony, said her business has definitely slowed since the Sept. 11
attacks. "People are waiting to see what will happen next," she said.
At the same time, she said, many couples tend to become engaged during the
holidays, so she is keeping her fingers crossed that the threat of war and
recession will have subsided somewhat by January, when her bookings usually
"People want their wedding to be the most wonderful occasion of their
lifetime," Sorenson said. "But it's hard right now. I tell clients that this
is what life's all about, that you just have to go on."
You don't have to tell Gottesman twice. She and her new husband, Harold, not
only went ahead with their wedding this weekend, but are among the few
newlyweds who haven't been frightened from going abroad for their honeymoon.
They leave for Fiji on Tuesday.
"There's so many people who don't even know where Fiji is, we figure it's
probably a safe place," Gottesman said, displaying the boundless optimism of
the newly married.
"In any case, we can't get our money back," she admitted. "I already tried."
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