Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wedding Receptions



All together now: another Gwynn's Island sunset. I could snap a million and they'd each be different.

Isn’t it amazing how a taste or a word or a song or a smell can instantly catapult you backwards in time?

The other day I had lunch with a lifelong friend, and afterwards they gave us a mint. This was not your typical after-dinner chocolate mint, or the standard-issue, spiral-striped peppermint or spearmint hard candy. No, this was one of those mints that crumbles in your mouth, the mints that are pastel yellow, pink, blue or green. Remember those?

These mints used to be a mandatory offering at wedding receptions around here. Once upon a time, wedding receptions didn’t require professional planners; they weren’t held in fancy hotels; they did not inspire shows called Bridezillas; they did not cost $10,000 and there most certainly was no sit-down dinner.

Rather, the earliest wedding receptions I attended were held in the church social hall. Everyone gathered to talk and mingle--and, of course, eat. There was a punch bowl full of a red concoction that may have included sherbet or an ice ring. The buffet table consisted of a bowl of mints, a bowl of peanuts, platters of deviled eggs and mountains of ham biscuits. Cake and cookies. The End.

The reception did not last long, perhaps an hour, and then everyone went home. No dancing, no music, no live band, no horse-drawn carriage, no slide show of the newlyweds, just a very simple service followed by a very simple reception.

Speaking of simple, so were the presents. There were no fancy department stores to register with, we had one or two tiny shops that took care of all our gift-giving needs. A wooden napkin holder, some tea towels (anyone still call them tea towels?), or some other practical item might find their way in the gift pile. I do not recall anyone ever giving money, which seems commonplace today.

I truly miss those simpler, less complicated times, where the emphasis was on the ceremony or the event and not on the “stuff.”

I am reminded of this sentiment just as we head into the Christmas season, which is coming our way whether we want it to or not next week. Shopping becomes a contact sport that requires shoulder pads, cleats and a helmet. I'm considering installing a cow catcher on the front of my car so I can plow my way through the pedestrians clogging the parking lots. Not really. I don't think.

Bring back the days where mints and peanuts in a bowl on a buffet table defined a special occasion and a good, salty, country-ham biscuit was the main course.

I guarantee I'll be the first one in line, and the last to leave.

22 comments:

Grandma J said...

I remember those mints, they just melt and are so addicting. I've never had a salty country ham biscuit...so we can keep it simple if I ever get married again.....CASH! I already have a wooden napkin holder and tea towels.

Lovely sunset!!!

Val said...

I am so with you on this! bring back simplicity of materialism and lets get REAL; what are ham biscuits?

Bear Naked said...

What is with the registration at stores where you TELL me what to give?
And nothing on that list is under$150!!
AND then they also expect an envelope with a cheque in it the day of the ceremony because the wedding dinner is so expensive for THEIR budget!!
Heck if I am going to spend that amount of money, I prefer spending it on myself for something useful like my food budget for the month.

And those little mints, didn't some restaurants use to have a bowl of them set at the cash register?

Bear((( )))

Val said...

oh yes and i just tagged you for a meme!

Life with Kaishon said...

I remember those mints too. When I was little we went to this church and there were so many wedding receptions like this. I think it is kind of smart NOT to spend a million ba jillion dollars on your wedding, but that is just my opinion. I spent 0 dollars on my wedding : ) and we got a house instead. I think it was one of the smartest things we could have done.

Kagey said...

Ham biscuits in the fellowship hall! I didn't know there was in other kind of wedding reception in the world until I went to college. I was dumbfounded to learn that people would go to a wedding and SIT DOWN and be served supper (or dinner to them). When my Yankee husband first had a ham biscuit (with country ham, of course), he spit it out because it was too salty. Wow...are you taking me down memory lane...same memories...different lane. Love it!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - I'll give you cash and a salty ham biscuit if you ever get married again. I think you may like the biscuit even better than the cash, they're so good.

Val - Country ham is ham that's been heavily salted and cured...it is dryer than regular ham but bursting with flavor and salt, one of my favorite things in the world (unfortunately for my blood pressure). Probably the closest thing I can think of that would taste like it is prosciutto if you've ever had that wrapped around cantaloupe....I'm stopping now because I'm drooling on the keyboard. Anyway, they're delicious.

BN - I absolutely agree. The first time I heard of the registration thing I was flabbergasted. You're right about those mints - they are often in bowls at the restaurants, which is where I ate one that reminded me of these receptions.

LWK - You did the wise thing. Even a simple wedding reception these days is a down payment on a house.

Kagey - I knew you'd have the same reaction I did to the whole sit-down reception thing. I never heard of it either until probably after college, and it blew my mind. To this day I have never been to a sit-down dinner reception here in Mathews.

Happy Saturday, everyone.

Karen Deborah said...

WE bring back those times by setting the example and NOT participating in the madness! Amen and you are such a photographer! I want to live in Mathews. Is it cheap or expensive?

Pillow mints. Addicting.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

KD - It's very affordable to live here, which is one of the reasons I moved back 7 years ago. You have to pay in other ways, though, such as the nearest mall is 45 minutes away, the nearest Starbucks is 15 miles, and there are only a handful of restaurants here. I'm perfectly happy distancing myself from all those things. To me it is well worth it to live here.

Icey said...

I remember at your wedding reception, after spending far too much time at the budweiser truck (still the best wedding prop ever) that I realized i had not eaten anything since the bridesmaids lunch. That's when I discovered the ham biscuits. I remember they were awesome and I probably ate half a plate. Alas not enough to prevent you and i from tumbling down the stairs toegether as the guests were waiting to see you off ...

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Icey - I think every Northern guest at that reception was thinking what we had out was the appetizer buffet...and it's not like we have Domino's pizza around here either, so afterwards they all headed to the local convenience store and raided it. Nothing like a good Twinkie and a day-old hot dog to commemorate a wedding.

At least you got some ham biscuits, I think I smelled them and ate a bite of cake and that was it because I was so busy. Oh, and I had bruises for weeks after that fall down the steps...good times.

nativedevil said...

The first time I took my future wife to a wedding reception in Mathews, it was the regular "punch, peanuts and cake". As we left, she said, very innocently, "Where are they having the reception at?" She is from "up North" and thought that surely, they were having a sit down dinner somewhere.
She thought that we had just had a snack to hold us over until dinner. ( I told her no, and please don't call me Surely)
When we got married, we had a sit-down dinner at the Islander, with a DJ and dancing. Nothing fancy,but it was nice, and we did not take out a loan to pay for it, nor did her parents. It was enough, but not too much.
Still, I get the point. I happen to go to lots of weddings, and I see a lot of waste and debt. I wonder some times if people are celebrating their love for each other, or more concerned with impressing everyone else with how much they spend.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

ND (I promise not to call you Surely): It definitely is a North-South thing. The Islander or the Yacht Club (perhaps the Ruritan Club or American Legion Hall) was just about as fancy as it got around here.

I sure miss going to reunions and receptions at the Islander. Such a beautiful place with so much potential.

Icey said...

While we are on the topic, worst Southern church hall wedding reception menu item i ever experienced: shrimp in grits. Or maybe I was just grumpy because we had to spend over $1000 to fly to a wedding in Columbia, SC so that my husband could be an usher in an old girlfriend's wedding.

Grandma J said...

Oh how I love reading your comments! I hope if you ever have an East Coast Blogfest they all come. As for me, I'm ready to book. Please, spare me any shrimp in grits....I'm alergic to both :))

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Icey - You're a better woman than I. I'd have thrown a hissy fit over all that.

GJ - Regarding the blogfest-Big Hair Envy and I are discussing something for next year - maybe spring. We'll have to serve up some local fare, including peanuts, mints, ham biscuits and sausage balls. Remember to provide us all your dietary requirements on your reservation form so we can make sure we don't trigger an attack while you're here.

tj said...

...Oh girlfriend, I hear ya! :o) Those were the BEST mints! Can you still get those? Now you got me to wonderin'...hmmm... ;o)

...I agree, what happened to those simple times? I long for those...(*sigh*) That was like this past summer, we got invited to more graduation parties than we could shake a stick at. The sad part, was most were to people we hardly ever see and the kids we even hardly knew... :o/

...Does this mean that we shouldn't expect limos, crystal wine glasses and hors d' oeuvres(don't be impressed, I had to look that one up :o) at the Blogapalooza? lol... ;o)

...Happy Saturday CBFamily and CBPeeps up there!

...Blessings... :o)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

TJ - I haven't looked but I'll bet you could find 'em somewhere...Wal-Mutant, perhaps.

For the Blogapalooza, no limos or fancy crystal, but we can offer boat rides and Dixie cups....

Anonymous said...

The mints are found somewhere my mother in law massive mathews native serves them at every family gathering and Eastern star event......I will inquire and leave some in CBW mailbox as treat!!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Anonymous - Thank you, I can't wait.

Meg said...

I'm with you, CBW. I'm pretty sure we had those mints at our wedding reception... or if not, for sure at my bridal shower.

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