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The Goddess Speaks


Tuesday, June 12, 2001

For us, tying the knot
with ‘no fuss’ was the
comfortable way to go

When we got married recently, we took the "no-fuss" route -- we snuck off to the courthouse -- and it was everything I always dreamed my wedding would be.

I did not grow up dreaming of a fancy wedding. The idea of trying to plan and organize and keep track of all that white lace and all those chairs and tiers of cake makes me shudder.

My childhood best friend had those dreams, though, and when she got married -- we were perhaps 19 years old -- I was one of her bridesmaids, but only because she insisted. I wore an expensive, long, pale blue bridesmaid dress that, after her wedding day, spent a year or two on the floor of my closet. (When I finally picked it up and looked at it again, turning it this way and that, I couldn't think of anything else to do with it, so I threw it away.) Her wedding was very nice and it made her happy, but it was not for me.

I'm pretty down to earth. I like to look decent, don't get me wrong, but I don't own any heels, nor do I wear makeup, and I'm not big on dressing up. And I can think of much better things to do with the tens of thousands of dollars some people spend on weddings.

Here's how our no-fuss wedding added up: We got our marriage license ($50) and made an appointment for a judge to do the ceremony ($40). In order to avoid fuss, we didn't tell anyone about it ahead of time except the two couples we invited as witnesses. We designed a "Just Married" announcement at the computer one evening and took it to the printer a couple of days before the wedding (125 announcements for $36).

A day or two before the wedding, we looked through our closet and found clothes to wear, and I threw them in the wash so they'd be fresh.

On our way to the courthouse, we picked up two maile lei ($26) and a double tuberose lei ($22). Our friends brought us lovely lei, too, including a gorgeous lei po'o for me and a kika lei for him, and beautiful pikake and rosebud lei.

The ceremony was brief, about 15 minutes, but very nice and truly heartfelt. We both got choked up. One person in our party snapped some photos. The judge was very kind.

And that was it. Total planning time: about a week, and it was only that long because there was a holiday weekend involved.

A friend of mine points out that when she got married 26 years ago, it was at the courthouse with a $25 ring she was horrified to lose many years after. She says she wanted to get married in her jeans, but the friend who was her witness wouldn't allow it. (I didn't quite have the nerve to get married in jeans, but I greatly admire her for trying.) "And we're still married," she said. "What about all those people who had the fancy expensive weddings?" she said. "Most of them are divorced now."

Between my then-fiance and me, it's unclear who was more relieved to be avoiding all that stuff some people go through to get married. After our wedding, one of his friends told him, "I would LOVE to have gotten married that way. I had to do it the other way."

The guy who developed our roll of wedding photos said he's been engaged for a year now because they can't decide on the details. "That's what I want to do, just go to the courthouse," he said, wistfully.

And a cousin applauded our no-fuss wedding and said she tells her daughter, who is talking about getting married and has big, expensive plans, "Just go to Las Vegas. I'll pay you to go to Las Vegas."

After our wedding ceremony, we went with our friends and had a nice lunch. One of my new husband's relatives was just leaving the restaurant as we were sitting down, and she asked what the occasion for all the lei was. "We just got married," we told her.

I think the whole family knew about our wedding by the time we got home from lunch. We probably didn't need to go to the trouble of printing announcements after all.

Leslie Lang and Macario Timbal were married
on June 1. She is a free-lance writer living
at Pepe'ekeo on the Big Island.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
send it to: The Goddess Speaks, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O.
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