Wedding Sayings

One Little House scene that still plays out a little raggedly on reread is the “haste to the wedding.” Every time I read it I don’t quite buy the reasoning behind a quickie wedding. But that’s just an aside; the part I linger over as the wedding is planned is Ma’s reluctance to get on board. Laura suggests her new black cashmere, to which Ma responds, “Married in black, you’ll wish yourself back.”

To placate her Laura helpfully names a few items she’ll wear along with the cashmere, punctuating the list “cheerfully” with another saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.”

“I don’t suppose there’s any truth in these old sayings,” Ma says. Actually, author Laura writes that Ma “consented,” but I’m going to out on a limb and say I think it’s the first and only time in the entire series we see Ma back down in what amounts to thinly veiled exasperation. There’s our new Laura, asserting her independence.

I think of this because today, cleaning out the bathroom cabinets, I ran across some rhinestone barrettes I’d borrowed from a longtime friend for my own wedding. Whoops. My wedding was tiny, just my husband and me, the officiant, the officiant’s daughter, and a photographer, and I wore an ice blue bridesmaid’s dress. The silver strappy sandals I’d bought for my tenth high-school reunion the previous year were on my feet, and I vividly remember wondering if my “something new” could be the same as my “something blue.” The poke bonnet was old, and had a blue lining, right?

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4 Responses to Wedding Sayings

  1. Susan Gaissert says:

    Your post made me think about my wedding, and my mother’s disapproval of some of my choices regarding how it was conducted. I guess a young woman’s wedding always coincides with her assertion of independence. Leaving her family, and cleaving unto another, as Laura’s Bible would say. Maybe that’s what was really bothering Ma. I mean, we all know what a crucial, competent family member Laura was. Losing her must have been a hard thing to face. I realize now that my mother wasn’t as bothered by the fact that I was getting married in a church other than the church I grew up with; she was bothered by the fact that I was “leaving” her.

  2. Isabel Ganz says:

    I have always had the feeling that Ma had reservations about Almanzo. Remember earlier in These Happy Golden Years when he leaves Laura a message through Pa to be ready when he arrives if she wants to ride with him when he first got Skip and Barnum. Pa tells Laura that Almanzo had said there was another team to break. Ma says, “I do believe he wants to break your neck. And I hope he breaks his own first.” Wouldn’t you say that her comment was more than “thinly veiled exasperation?”

  3. Jonni says:

    I’ve never understood why it wasn’t ok to have the ceremony at home, to spare Mrs. Wilder’s feelings, but it was perfectly all right to have a wedding dinner with Laura’s family right afterwards. *I* always felt a little cheated that Laura didn’t have a wedding….and then I went ahead and eloped myself so I finally understood that sometimes that’s just easier than dealing with family drama and it’s easier to exclude everyone rather than just the ones causing the problem.

  4. Isabel Ganz says:

    I hadn’t really thought about it before, but Almanzo says Eliza and his mother are planning a big church wedding. Perhaps that meant not only the ceremony, but a reapast with numerous guests. If the Ingalls’ and Almanzo had had to pay for this, it would have been a real financial drain. Neither the Ingalls’ family nor Almanzo had money to spare. I believe that the Wilder family was better off financially, but perhaps they would have expected the bride’s family to pay. A quiet meal with Laura’s family is quite a different thing. Almanzo states that his mother has her heart set on a big wedding. He doesn’t want to hurt his mother by telling her “no” to her face. By marrying ahead of time, Laura and Almanzo could just entertain the the Wilders in a simple way.

    This makes me wonder if they did arrive after the wedding and what their reaction was when they found that Laura and Almanzo were already married.

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