Marriage has never been a priority for millennials – faster computer speed, the newest tech gadget? Yes, Buying the latest iPhone, earning a PhD.? Definitely! Getting married? Not so much. Recently we heard about a millennial wedding and speculated about the details of such. Suzie (the American name given by her single Korean immigrant working mom, from the name Soobin) is in her early 40s, raised in the San Fernando Valley and just turned 42. He is Erik, just turned 40 and was reared in Minneapolis by his Swedish immigrant widowed mother. Both are agnostic, employed in jobs which pay just enough for each to live paycheck to paycheck with a reasonable amount of credit card debt (but not an overwhelming amount). Defying some societal statistics about millennials being reluctant to marry, they decided to go against the trend. Is it the new secularism or the fact that so many of this generation have been raised by single parents? Is it the terrible economy? We simply don’t know the answers but this new breed seems to thrive in a blended family, not the traditional mom and pop variety so everything about them is skewed differently. Including, of course, the wedding. As a generation who never witnessed the closeness of parents to one another, celebrating landmark anniversaries, giving each other support in tough times or arguing in stressful times, they have missed a chunk of life which is irreplaceable. Suzie’s mom bought her a copy of Brides Magazine and a copy of Modern Bride. Suzie went into convulsive laughter. “Do women actually read this stuff?” Suzie didn’t mean to insult her mother but she could not connect with any of the traditions mentioned in either magazine. For a female to adopt the surname of anybody else is a positively archaic and absurd notion, let alone having to wear a floor-length white gown with veil and have attendants traipsing around in a church. Suzie assured her mother that she and Erik would be able to plan the day of their union without any magazine’s advice.
Suzie wore a short one-shouldered, white dress with a small pouf of flowers in her hair and blue heels. Erik wore a light khaki summer suit with a shoestring black bow tie and Air Jordan red and white sneakers. He wanted so much to buy Suzie a special engagement ring but she opted instead for a single Stockholm Ikea chair for their living room. One of Erik’s uncles performed the ceremony. When he asked for the rings, Erik handed him two plastic rings – one pink and one blue as a substitute for the matching tattoos they will eventually get. The bride and groom recited a saying that each had written to speak to the other. A small kiss and that was that.
The reception featured unmarked seating and a Mexican buffet with beer. Jazz played in the background and there was no traditional first dance. Suzie’s uncle had insisted upon supplying Kim Chee and a big rice bowl with thinly sliced steak. Her best friend at work had whipped up a batch of spicy Cajun shrimp (she was brought up in New Orleans and mighty proud of her culinary addition to the meal). Suzie and Erik had seen pictures of newly wedded couples offering each other cake. Instead of a wedding cake they chose fresh peaches on a layer of sponge cake with vanilla ice cream on top. There was no bouquet toss. Suzie had made fresh preserves of various fruits as keepsakes, so each guest could pick out a few miniature jars of jam. She also brought white, paper Chinese food containers for leftovers so the guests could leave with some takeout food for an evening snack. When asked about their honeymoon plans they laughed and explained that they hadn’t really planned anything but had reserved seats that night at the Arclight Theater for a new movie they wanted to see. With that, they departed and promised they would have a few pictures they had taken with their iPhones printed for distribution soon.
We wonder what the reaction would be if Suzie and Erik ever saw a vintage iconic photograph of a young newly married couple leaving their wedding in a getaway jalopy with tin cans tied to the back and a "Just Married" sign attached to the trunk. It would be heading to Niagara Falls of course. Now it all seems like ancient history but many of us can still remember witnessing this bit of history.
We wish Suzie and Erik a long, healthy and happy life together.