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Ah, itís the month of June when many couples decide to tie the knot in holy vows of marriage.

Men often spend way beyond their financial means to try and impress their love and of course her mother of his good intentions. The bigger the ring the better. Off the couple go to the jewelry store to try on some diamond rings. For double ring ceremonies the female will often purchase a 10K very plain gold wedding band at a fraction of the cost of her engagement ring.

Before going into teaching I worked in my fatherís store, London Credit Jewelers, and know of what I speak. The females are oh so happy and the males want the whole selection process to quickly pass.

I never purchased a diamond ring for wife, Ella. She still has her original wedding band that I bought. Her mother contributed a simple gold ring for me to wear. We wanted any extra little monies that we had to go towards putting a down payment on our small farm. I have to admit to splurging $20.00 to buy her a very large Zircon ring for our 25th Anniversary that she refuses to wear.

The loving couple with ring in hand rush home to the girls parentís home to show off the sparkles to the folks for their approval. Now, the dye is cast and plans are made to fix the wedding date and gala reception.

Many females have been planning their marriage since the age of eight hoping to marry the man of their dreams. Males see marriage as an end of their evenings out with the "boys"to sew their wild oats.

Bridal showers, engagement and bachelor parties, "Stag and Does" are held to help defray the expenses of the upcoming big event. Ella and I had never been included in any prenuptial parties and never knew they existed.

Each family are supposed to write out long lists of friends or relatives that may be invited. Discussions are held and cousin Terry who is estranged from his fourth wife is summarily deleted. Announcements are sent out by slow mail or computer based email requesting that you send in your RSVP by the due date to inform the sender of how many guests are coming.

Ella and I wrote out our own twenty-five wedding invitations with directions to our farm and ran the copies on an old Ditto Duplicating Machine and mailed them to our immediate family with directions for them to call us on the phone.

Often times the wedding ceremony is very elaborate with music, orchid floral displays. We canít forget the best man in his rented tux, shoes and shirt with the matron of honour and of course brides maids galore in their dresses. I have never known a bridesmaid that didnít cry that the choice of the dress that they were required to wear was ugly. They vowed that they would never wear that awful rag again.

Ella picked out a beautiful simple pink dress and I wore my best (only) blue suit and a red bow tie for the ceremony. As fate would have it we did not have anyone to stand up with us at our wedding. Her sister, Deborah, was nine months pregnant and didnít want to waddle up the aisle. I held my hand out to Ella and off we skipped down the aisle to share our vows in front of our families.

There was no expensive photographer. My brother, Jack, agreed to take photos of the proceedings.

I know that hiring the right caterer is most important to try and guarantee a just perfect wedding feast. Champagne Cocktails, hors díoeuvre and followed by overcooked rubber chicken served by waitresses is in fashion.

After our wedding ceremony we invited everyone to follow us to our farm to enjoy some chocolate cake and ice tea. We were oh so relaxed and happy to show our family around "Shalom Acres.". Everyone as I remember had a pleasant time.

We hand wrote our thank-you notes for the household presents that our guests had purchased and mailed them out.
I know that tradition states that after the formal wedding that the newlyweds are supposed to go away on an expensive honeymoon to exotic expensive romantic far away destinations. We had a simple wedding and had neither the money or the need to leave our new home.

Ella and I spent our first moon lit night at our farm with the windows wide open to be serenaded by the crickets and frogs. We were abruptly awakened very early the next morning by the sound of our Western cattle escaping from the barn. They were on the move to our neighbourís, pristine English gardens.

"Donít worry", I counseled Ella: I had the matter in hand. I prayed for divine intervention. We called Barry, the local equestrian, who lived in the adjoining property for help. He arrived in the nick of time packing his rifle, whip and dog. Our six Herefords became steeple chase hunters jumping over our fences on their way to the highway.

Ella called CFPL Radio station to ask for people to call us if they sited our truant cattle. There was no time for a leisure romantic breakfast because we had to help round up our livestock before they created mayhem on the road. Cold toast and jam with hot coffee hit the spot.

Ella and I are still married and have resided on the same farm for the last 40 years. We named our farm, Shalom Acres that is supposed to designate a land of peace. Ella will testify that our marriage has been challenging but never ever peaceful.

Expensive rings, dresses, flowers catered affairs do not guarantee a happy marriage. A simple ceremony at home with oneís family can be very beautiful.

Marriage is all about trust and friendship with a blending of some romance and excitement. Love and marriage can endure and flourish over time if nurtured Donít be intimidated by what you are supposed to do: remember to have fun and enjoy your self.
I recommend prospective brides and grooms along with their parents to rent the very funny movie, "Bridesmaid," to get a different view of the wedding game.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com