Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Reflections on a Hippy Wedding

 

Marie and I were married 56 years ago in her folks’ small living room in Albany, Oregon. The whole affair cost us 90 bucks: 25 bucks for the minister, 45 bucks for a ring for Marie, and 20 bucks for a marriage license. About 15 friends and family attended, standing room only. That’s all the living room could hold. Marie’s mother made us a wedding cake. I was wearing a borrowed tie and sport coat. Marie was wearing a white dress that she made herself.

We honeymooned in a motel alongside I-5 on our way back to Eugene, where we were students at the University of Oregon.

All of this was going through my mind as I watched a wedding unfold this last weekend.

Marie and I were invited because we were longtime friends with the grandmother of the bride. As a young mother in 1967 (the Summer of Love) our friend had joined a hippy commune outside of San Francisco, bringing along her child.

That child, a girl, grew up in the commune but eventually married and settled in a funky neighborhood in East Portland. Their car was covered with counter-culture stickers as thick as the ads on a stock-car driver’s fireproof onesie.

Her child, Sierra, was the bride whose wedding Marie and I attended. Three generations of hippies. Naturally, I was expecting that the wedding would have a counter-cultural vibe to it. I wasn’t disappointed.

The wedding was held, not in a church, but in a civic hall in Dundee, Oregon, and there wasn’t a trace of religion in the ceremony: no prayers and no reference to any Biblical passages — not even to St. Paul’s famous paean to love in 1st Corinthians. I didn’t think it was legal to have a wedding without someone reciting Paul’s “Love is kind, love is patient” message, but apparently it is, at least in Oregon.

As Marie and I sat there waiting for Sierra and her future husband, Joaquin, to come down the aisle, a DJ played rock and roll, too loud for my taste. The lyrics were probably about love, but I couldn’t understand them so I really don’t know. They could have been about unicorns or Aunt Jemima syrup for all I know.

As Sierra the bride, her mother, and her father started up the aisle toward the plywood platform/altar (with the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love playing in the background), the three of them suddenly broke into an ultra slow-motion walk, with exaggerated high strides. Think of a high-stepping drum major — but in slow-mo. They did this for about ten steps. I don’t know why. Later, Marie told me that this little side-show was awfully cute. I replied that it was way too show-offy for my taste. Marie called me a fuddy-duddy. I called her a hippie.

The decorations lining the aisle were little tree stumps, with what looked like eco-friendly plants and flowers sitting on top.

The minister called himself Rev Bob. A friendly guy with a sense of humor, though his talk to the bride and groom was was too long and sappy for my taste. I do remember, however, one idea out of the talk: The union of these two, the rev said, was like the merging of two wandering stars in the Alpha Centauri star system. I think the rev must have been a Star Wars fanboy.

Just before the couple said their vows, they sang a duet that they had written for the occasion. I thought it was a catchy little tune, though when the bride, in the first stanza, sang about the groom’s small stature (he was about 5’ 4’), I grew a little uneasy. I was afraid the song was going to be about their physical shortcomings. But the song ended up a fairly conventional love duet.

Naturally, Sierra and Joaquin had made up their own vows. None of that “Love, honor, and obey” bushwa. I don’t remember much of what they said, except for one phrase, used by Sierra, in which she vowed to always support Joaquin’s “personhood.”

With a conservative’s fondness for tradition and a personal penchant for snark, I should have satirized this hippy marriage with more enthusiasm than I gave it. But I actually thought it was all sort of sweet.

The bride looked radiant (as is their wont) and the assembled friends and family — a rather large crowd with a smattering of tats, man-bobs, and green hair — seemed happy with the whole affair.

I would be the worst kind of killjoy to disapprove of other people’s happy gatherings. I agree with Shakespeare’s Toby Belch, who rightly chided the stick-in-the-mud Malvolio, who disapproved of people having a good time. “Dost thou think,” Belch asked, “that because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?”

Now that I look back on the affair, I think that Sierra and Joaquin’s wedding was better than my wedding 56 years ago. Mine was short, cheap, and as homey as a needlepoint canvas. But Sierra and Joaquin’s was large, with some interesting surprises, and a lot more fun. Damned hippies. They always have more fun than the rest of us.

Now let’s see if theirs lasts 56 years.

Postscript: Perhaps the phrase “modern marriage” would be a better term for what I saw than a “hippy” or “counterculture” marriage. I’m old and don’t know about these things.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 34 comments.

  1. AQ Member
    AQ

    What a wonderful post! You are so generous to this young couple, not a fuddy-duddy at all.

    And you take me back 47 years to my own wedding, celebrated at my mother’s home, at the cost of $225. I thought that was rock bottom, but you have us beat. My mother made my dress and supplied the cake, I bought both of our rings, and my brother bought several cases of Rolling Rock beer for the small group of friends and neighbors who gathered in the oppressive heat of a July day to celebrate with us. 

    “Cakes and ale,” something even the poor can enjoy!

     

    • #1
    • July 23, 2019, at 5:42 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  2. Stad Thatcher

    KentForrester: The whole affair cost us 90 bucks: 25 bucks for the minister, 45 bucks for a ring for Marie, and 20 bucks for a marriage license.

    Who needs a $20,000 wedding to have a wonderful experience and a happy life together?

    Great post!

    • #2
    • July 23, 2019, at 5:54 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  3. She Thatcher
    She

    KentForrester: Now let’s see if theirs lasts 56 years.

    That’ll be the acid test, won’t it? As they say (or should, but it’s so often misquoted), “the proof of the pudding . . . .” (Not “the proof is in the pudding,” which is only appropriate for describing desserts with a sizable dose of the liquor in them.)

    Great post. Saw my first “green hair” wedding about a year ago. Must be a thing.

    AQ (View Comment):
    And you take me back 47 years to my own wedding, celebrated at my mother’s home, at the cost of $225.

    I might have you both beat. 38 years ago tomorrow.

    • #3
    • July 23, 2019, at 6:01 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  4. EJHill Podcaster

    She: …which is only appropriate for describing desserts with a sizable dose of the liquor in them.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Simple is good. Thrifty is better. A wedding is the only thing we voluntarily pay more for. It’s like insisting on paying five times the market value for a car or house. For Kent’s $90 wedding doesn’t make him any less married than a couple that spent thousands. (And so far clocking in at an impressive $1.61 per year.)

    • #4
    • July 23, 2019, at 6:33 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  5. Front Seat Cat Member

    I thought you made it up! The Woodstock generation has come full circle. Loved the details – felt like I was there! 

    • #5
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:04 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Pictures? Then and now?

    • #6
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:16 AM PST
    • Like
  7. Kay of MT Member

    Mine was in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, 25 cents for a handful of posys, and I suspect the ring came from a vending machine for another quarter. I finally had to put on flip flops as too many stickers. We wrote our own vows, our friends provided the wine and music. My love said a prayer and more in Hebrew, then declared us married. Following day he took me to his bank, put me on the account, and changed my name forever. Now that is a “Hippy wedding.”

    Forgot to add the date: August 1960.

    • #7
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:28 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  8. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Pictures? Then and now?

    I should have, Gary. Would have made an interesting though pathetic contrast: callow youth with a life ahead of him versus broken down oldster with most of his life behind him, — sans hair, sans teeth, sans ability to bend over without grunting .

    I’m not sure I can face the truth. 

    • #8
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:33 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Mine was in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, 25 cents for a handful of posys, and I suspect the ring came from a vending machine for another quarter. I finally had to put on flip flops as too many stickers. We wrote our own vows, our friends provided the wine and music. My love said a prayer and more in Hebrew, then declared us married. Following day he took me to his bank, put me on the account, and changed my name forever. Now that is a “Hippy wedding.”

    Forgot to add the date: August 1960.

    Boy Kay, you really were a hippy. Did you ever get a marriage license? 

    • #9
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:35 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    AQ (View Comment):

    What a wonderful post! You are so generous to this young couple, not a fuddy-duddy at all.

    And you take me back 47 years to my own wedding, celebrated at my mother’s home, at the cost of $225. I thought that was rock bottom, but you have us beat. My mother made my dress and supplied the cake, I bought both of our rings, and my brother bought several cases of Rolling Rock beer for the small group of friends and neighbors who gathered in the oppressive heat of a July day to celebrate with us.

    “Cakes and ale,” something even the poor can enjoy!

    AQ, it was that second ring that drove the cost up. Your brother was generous to buy all that Rolling Rock.

    • #10
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:39 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    KentForrester: The whole affair cost us 90 bucks: 25 bucks for the minister, 45 bucks for a ring for Marie, and 20 bucks for a marriage license.

    Who needs a $20,000 wedding to have a wonderful experience and a happy life together?

    Great post!

    Stad, thanks. We’ve been lucky. 

    • #11
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:40 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Now let’s see if theirs lasts 56 years.

    That’ll be the acid test, won’t it? As they say (or should, but it’s so often misquoted), “the proof of the pudding . . . .” (Not “the proof is in the pudding,” which is only appropriate for describing desserts with a sizable dose of the liquor in them.)

    She, you’re going British on us again, aren’t you? Damn I wish I had a British background instead of my Okie roots. I would have known things like that. 

     

    • #12
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:47 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    EJHill (View Comment):

    She: …which is only appropriate for describing desserts with a sizable dose of the liquor in them.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Simple is good. Thrifty is better. A wedding is the only thing we voluntarily pay more for. It’s like insisting on paying five times the market value for a car or house. For Kent’s $90 wedding doesn’t make him any less married than a couple that spent thousands. (And so far clocking in at an impressive $1.61 per year.)

    Hill, I’ve never figured that out, probably because long division is a bit much for this liberal arts graduate. A buck sixty one. Hmm. Sounds like a good deal. I suppose I could have spread out the original cost on the installment plan. 

    • #13
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:50 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Arahant Member

    KentForrester: Marie called me a fuddy-duddy. I called her a hippie. 

    All is right with the world.

    • #14
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:52 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Marie called me a fuddy-duddy. I called her a hippie.

    All is right with the world.

    She also drinks fancy craft beers, especially IPAs, and goes without a bra sometimes. Pure hippie.

    • #15
    • July 23, 2019, at 8:08 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. EB Thatcher
    EB

    Much better than the “Millennial” wedding we went to last spring! I could go on and on. Maybe I’ll do a post on it once I’ve changed enough minor details to protect the innocent.

    • #16
    • July 23, 2019, at 8:26 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  17. Gary Robbins Reagan

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Pictures? Then and now?

    I should have, Gary. Would have made an interesting though pathetic contrast: callow youth with a life ahead of him versus broken down oldster with most of his life behind him, — sans hair, sans teeth, sans ability to bend over without grunting .

    I’m not sure I can face the truth.

    Hey, I used to have hair and weigh 40 pounds less than today. And I got divorced twice. No worries. We love you exactly the way you are and you aren’t.

    • #17
    • July 23, 2019, at 8:56 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. Kay of MT Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    Boy Kay, you really were a hippy. Did you ever get a marriage license? 

    Nah! I was really ignorant and naive, believed every word that came out of his mouth. He was raised on stories of his great grandfather’s harem in Morocco, tried to keep one in the USA. By the time he decided, after having a child to make it legal, I had tossed him to the curb. I had extreme problems with the idea of sharing my man. However, up until the day he died, 2 years ago, he still considered me his wife and refused to give me a “Gett.”

    Under Jewish law, declaring me his wife in front of witness, and giving me something of value, like his bank account, made the marriage valid. Did I mention his family was from Morocco? Of course CA didn’t recognize the marriage.

    “A get or gett (/ ɡ ɛ t /; Hebrew: גט ‎, plural gittin גיטין) is a divorce document in Jewish religious law which must be presented by a husband to his wife to effectuate their divorce. The essential part of the get is very short: the text states “You are hereby permitted to all men”, which means that the woman is no longer married.”

    • #18
    • July 23, 2019, at 8:59 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  19. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    Boy Kay, you really were a hippy. Did you ever get a marriage license?

    Nah! I was really ignorant and naive, believed every word that came out of his mouth. He was raised on stories of his great grandfather’s harem in Morocco, tried to keep one in the USA. By the time he decided, after having a child to make it legal, I had tossed him to the curb. I had extreme problems with the idea of sharing my man. However, up until the day he died, 2 years ago, he still considered me his wife and refused to give me a “Gett.”

    Under Jewish law, declaring me his wife in front of witness, and giving me something of value, like his bank account, made the marriage valid. Did I mention his family was from Morocco? Of course CA didn’t recognize the marriage.

    “A get or gett (/ ɡ ɛ t /; Hebrew: גט ‎, plural gittin גיטין) is a divorce document in Jewish religious law which must be presented by a husband to his wife to effectuate their divorce. The essential part of the get is very short: the text states “You are hereby permitted to all men”, which means that the woman is no longer married.”

    Kay, I had no idea you had such an exotic and interesting past. You ought to write about that past for Ricochet.

    • #19
    • July 23, 2019, at 9:03 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. aardo vozz Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    She: …which is only appropriate for describing desserts with a sizable dose of the liquor in them.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Simple is good. Thrifty is better. A wedding is the only thing we voluntarily pay more for. It’s like insisting on paying five times the market value for a car or house. For Kent’s $90 wedding doesn’t make him any less married than a couple that spent thousands. (And so far clocking in at an impressive $1.61 per year.)

    Hill, I’ve never figured that out, probably because long division is a bit much for this liberal arts graduate. A buck sixty one. Hmm. Sounds like a good deal. I suppose I could have spread out the original cost on the installment plan.

    Nah. Pay it all up front. The interest charges alone might have tripled the cost.🙂

    • #20
    • July 23, 2019, at 9:23 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. She Thatcher
    She

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Now let’s see if theirs lasts 56 years.

    That’ll be the acid test, won’t it? As they say (or should, but it’s so often misquoted), “the proof of the pudding . . . .” (Not “the proof is in the pudding,” which is only appropriate for describing desserts with a sizable dose of the liquor in them.)

    She, you’re going British on us again, aren’t you? Damn I wish I had a British background instead of my Okie roots. I would have known things like that.

     

    Sorry. What’s bred in the bone. Otherwise, there’d be nothing left and I’d be sans everything.

    So to speak.

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    She also drinks fancy craft beers, especially IPAs, and goes without a bra sometimes. Pure hippie.

    Wait a minute! I resemble that highly personal remark. Oh, you mean Marie. Well, OK then . . .

    • #21
    • July 23, 2019, at 9:49 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  22. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Mine was in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, 25 cents for a handful of posys, and I suspect the ring came from a vending machine for another quarter. I finally had to put on flip flops as too many stickers. We wrote our own vows, our friends provided the wine and music. My love said a prayer and more in Hebrew, then declared us married. Following day he took me to his bank, put me on the account, and changed my name forever. Now that is a “Hippy wedding.”

    Forgot to add the date: August 1960.

    Kay, in 1960 you and I were both in Los Angeles. I was just home from a stint in the Army and staying with my mom and dad in Compton. I was just getting ready to enroll in Compton Junior College. 

    You should have dropped by the house. 

    • #22
    • July 23, 2019, at 10:25 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  23. Kay of MT Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    You should have dropped by the house. 

    You should have dropped by the park and rescued me from my ignorance.

    • #23
    • July 23, 2019, at 10:34 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  24. Kay of MT Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    Kay, I had no idea you had such an exotic and interesting past. You ought to write about that past for Ricochet.

    I’d have to think up new words to get past the CoC.

    • #24
    • July 23, 2019, at 11:52 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  25. Annefy Member

    JY and I attended a wedding this past weekend, also. It was amazingly traditional; the 25-year old bride (who was stunning) has a 7-year old from a previous relationship and the couple who got married share a two year old. The officiant said a lovely prayer, the vows were self authored and the entire wedding party arrived on the altar, and left, to hip hop music.

    The mother and father of the bride had two sons before they got married. I think she was 15 when the first was born, 18 for the second. 25 when they got married, then had two daughters. The mother of the bride is half Cherokee and half Mexican; the father is white. The groom is a mix of so many different races as to be indeterminate with model-worthy looks.

    The maid of honor was black; her younger sister was there with what we thought was an odd looking white guy – turns out to be an odd looking white gal.

    We met a lovely young couple (under 30) with four children and uncountable tattoos. They have recently relocated to Las Vegas where they can live on one income; she is a stay at home mom who home schools.

    JY and I may not have been the token white couple (there were a few others) but we were definitely the token non tattooed. 

    We were asked many times ” … so, how do you know the married couple …?” Imagine the parents of the groom in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and you’ve got a picture of how we looked.

    The newly married couple were absolutely radiant in their happiness, as were the parents and siblings and kids running around.

    I have no idea how much the event sent them back, but the father of the bride (our friend) brought it up several times with a grim expression. Our impression is that both families shared the cost and that it was at least 40K.

    JY and I had a blast. We danced all night, were the last to leave and scored a centerpiece on the way out.

    • #25
    • July 23, 2019, at 11:58 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  26. Kay of MT Member

    @annefy, I attended a wedding like that once, an Italian one. My friends sending their only child, a daughter off. 3 different ballrooms, etc., first time I had ever tasted Champlain, thought it was fruit juice, until my vision went out. My daughters at the time were 6 and 10, we went home (about 6 blocks away) singing, “Oh, ain’t it great to be crazy.

    • #26
    • July 23, 2019, at 12:09 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  27. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Annefy (View Comment):

    JY and I attended a wedding this past weekend, also. It was amazingly traditional; the 25-year old bride (who was stunning) has a 7-year old from a previous relationship and the couple who got married share a two year old. The officiant said a lovely prayer, the vows were self authored and the entire wedding party arrived on the altar, and left, to hip hop music.

    The mother and father of the bride had two sons before they got married. I think she was 15 when the first was born, 18 for the second. 25 when they got married, then had two daughters. The mother of the bride is half Cherokee and half Mexican; the father is white. The groom is a mix of so many different races as to be indeterminate with model-worthy looks.

    The maid of honor was black; her younger sister was there with what we thought was an odd looking white guy – turns out to be an odd looking white gal.

    We met a lovely young couple (under 30) with four children and uncountable tattoos. They have recently relocated to Las Vegas where they can live on one income; she is a stay at home mom who home schools.

    JY and I may not have been the token white couple (there were a few others) but we were definitely the token non tattooed.

     

    Annefy, a description of your wedding would have made a great post, but I beat you to it. I would put an emoji happy face here, showing that I wrote that sentence with a little smile, but I can’t get one to pop up.

    I feel awfully old when I read an account such as yours. The times are indeed changin’.

    • #27
    • July 23, 2019, at 12:10 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  28. Annefy Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    JY and I attended a wedding this past weekend, also. It was amazingly traditional; the 25-year old bride (who was stunning) has a 7-year old from a previous relationship and the couple who got married share a two year old. The officiant said a lovely prayer, the vows were self authored and the entire wedding party arrived on the altar, and left, to hip hop music.

    The mother and father of the bride had two sons before they got married. I think she was 15 when the first was born, 18 for the second. 25 when they got married, then had two daughters. The mother of the bride is half Cherokee and half Mexican; the father is white. The groom is a mix of so many different races as to be indeterminate with model-worthy looks.

    The maid of honor was black; her younger sister was there with what we thought was an odd looking white guy – turns out to be an odd looking white gal.

    We met a lovely young couple (under 30) with four children and uncountable tattoos. They have recently relocated to Las Vegas where they can live on one income; she is a stay at home mom who home schools.

    JY and I may not have been the token white couple (there were a few others) but we were definitely the token non tattooed.

    Annefy, a description of your wedding would have made a great post, but I beat you to it. I would put an emoji happy face here, showing that I wrote that sentence with a little smile, but I can’t get one to pop up.

    I feel awfully old when I read an account such as yours. The times are indeed changin’.

    They are indeed. My own kids’ weddings were a little different – my daughter and her husband left their 8-month old with me and ran off to Hawaii for a week. They got married on the beach, son #2 was stationed there and was the officiant. Traditional wedding gown, suit for the groom. She paid to have her makeup done and they found a wonderful photographer on the day of from Craigslist.

    Son #3’s wedding was also on the beach – here in Cali. The bride’s father is a minister and did a lovely job. The reception was in a friend’s backyard with a taco lady and my son-in-law in charge of lighting and music. I caught an Uber home at 3:00 am, son #1 and son #2 walked the mile at 6:00 am.

    While the way weddings are celebrated has changed, I’m encouraged by how sincere their vows and how serious they are about being married.

    Son #3 and family are moving to AZ. I think he nailed the job when he told the company owner “I want to live somewhere where I can be the breadwinner.”

    It’s heartening.

    • #28
    • July 23, 2019, at 12:27 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  29. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Annefy (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    I feel awfully old when I read an account such as yours. The times are indeed changin’.

    They are indeed. My own kids’ weddings were a little different – my daughter and her husband left their 8-month old with me and ran off to Hawaii for a week. They got married on the beach, son #2 was stationed there and was the officiant. Traditional wedding gown, suit for the groom. She paid to have her makeup done and they found a wonderful photographer on the day of from Craigslist.

    Son #3’s wedding was also on the beach – here in Cali. The bride’s father is a minister and did a lovely job. The reception was in a friend’s backyard with a taco lady and my son-in-law in charge of lighting and music. I caught an Uber home at 3:00 am, son #1 and son #2 walked the mile at 6:00 am.

    While the way weddings are celebrated has changed, I’m encouraged by how sincere their vows and how serious they are about being married.

    Son #3 and family are moving to AZ. I think he nailed the job when he told the company owner “I want to live somewhere where I can be the breadwinner.”

    It’s heartening.

    Annefy, I totally agree. The forms may change, but as long as marriage and commitment remain, all is well. 

    • #29
    • July 23, 2019, at 12:38 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  30. Stad Thatcher

    Someone has to do a “Then and Now” post of wedding pictures. I’ll scan some of our wedding pics before the wife buys Photoshop . . .

    • #30
    • July 23, 2019, at 2:29 PM PST
    • 3 likes