Weddings have really changed over the last 35 years…

My, how things have changed.

My lovely daughter Sarah is getting married Saturday to a wonderful young man named Josh Berg. He comes from a wonderful family and our family couldn’t be more happy.

Susan and I were married 35 years ago and our oldest son Brian was married a few years back. We didn’t have much to do in planning the wedding of Brian and Shelby because that is done usually by the parents of the bride.

This time, we are the parents of the bride and we are up to our elbows in wedding details.

How does 2017 compare to 1982?

First, the costs have skyrocketed. The cost of wedding dresses is outrageous. Photography prices are through the roof. Wedding cakes are astronomical. Catering is really expensive.

Dave Ramsey recently reported that the average wedding the United States costs $35,000. That’s one thousand dollars less than I paid for my first house in 1980.

I must give Sarah and Susan a lot of credit. We set a budget and they have creatively stuck to it. It’s so easy to get carried away but they have shown great restraint and common sense.

The styles associated with weddings has evolved.

I rented an all-white tuxedo with a white shirt, white coat, white bow tie, white shoes, while pants and white socks. I wore my favorite cufflinks.

On Saturday, I am wearing a rented gray suit that matches the groom and groomsmen. It has a vest but no bow tie. It just doesn’t feel like a tuxedo but it looks nice. And it was very expensive to rent.

At Brian’s wedding, he and the groomsmen wore dark suits and that worked out fine (and less expensive). I have been to weddings where people don’t really dress up and while I don’t want to be judgmental, I think weddings are one occasion when you should put on a coat and tie. I have seen kids wearing T-shirts and flipflops at weddings and that just seems really inappropriate.

At my wedding, we had a traditional cake and punch. On Saturday, instead of a wedding cake, we are having “wedding donuts” from Hurts Donuts. I initially balked at this choice but the donuts are not normal donuts – they are more like little cakes. It’s a tossup, as far as I’m concerned, as to who makes the best donuts in Tulsa – Hurts Donuts, Krispy Kremes or Daylight Donuts.

And even though having donuts is not traditional, that’s OK. (We are buying a small wedding cake so the bride and groom can feed each other a slice and so we have something to put in the freezer for them to eat on their first anniversary.) Some folks have wedding cupcakes and that’s fine, too.

When I got married, you went to J.C. Penney or Sears or Dillards and picked out a set of china that was placed on a paper registry. The registry helped you avoid getting stuff you didn’t want and it cut down on duplication. We still got some gifts that weren’t on the registry but that’s OK.

Now, those registries are electronic. You head to the stores’ websites while sitting at your desk and scroll through a list. You can actually pick a gift, pay for it online and have it delivered after it is appropriately wrapped as a wedding gift. Our daughter has already received some gifts that way.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that this young couple has participated in Christian premarital counseling (courtesy of Fellowship Bible Church). Susan and I went through premarital counseling with Pastor Hardin Boyer (formerly of Tulsa Bible Church) and it was very educational. The one thing that always stayed with me with that I should seek the happiness and welfare of my wife above my own. If she did the same (and she does), we both benefit. It’s a wonderful lesson and I think every couple should go through similar counseling before making such and important life decision.

Ladies still have bridal showers and thankfully, men don’t have to attend. My sister-in-law Keri (Bill’s wife), worked very diligently to give Sarah a marvelous shower.

Another similarity is the honeymoon situation. We Susan and I got engaged, I gave her two choices for a honeymoon destination – the mountains or the ocean. Since she was raised partly in Florida, she opted for the mountains.

Our daughter and about-to-be son-in-law have booked an ocean cruise to Mexico. They should have a great time.

Here’s the bottom line. A wedding is time when two families join together to launch an extension of those families. In the Bible, marriage is a picture of the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church and that is very important symbolism.

We have two wonderful Christian young people getting married on August 12 and that makes all the effort and expense of a fine wedding ceremony worthwhile.