This week’s Tea Time Talk covers a bunch of wedding-related questions I’ve pondered — such as why favors exist and what’s the rehearsal dinner all about.
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What we’re lovin’ this week
Due to our intense and stressful wedding planning, we doubled down on batch cooking this week.
- Thai yellow curry – with broccoli, green beans, bamboo, baby corn, sweet potatoes, and bricks of tofu. We added wild-caught frozen Gulf shrimp to spruce up the curry. (You can follow the Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Sweet Potatoes for a similar dish.)
- Chana masala – using canned tomatoes.
- Chinese-style scrambled eggs with tomatoes – Despite scrambling a dozen eggs, I still crumbled a brick of tofu to stretch the dish. Remember to add the sugar.
We batch cooked on Saturday and Sunday. I was so grateful for frozen leftovers to enjoy during lunch and dinner.
Try out this recipe
Speaking of batch cooking and Thai curries, try out the Thai Green Curry with Sweet Potatoes recipe.
I can’t stop thinking about…
Traditions. Etiquette. Propriety.
With wedding planning on my mind, I can’t stop thinking about how weddings turn perfectly reasonable and rational humans into emotional, logic-defying, OMG-who-is-this-person?!?!? caricatures fit for reality TV.
What’s keeping me sane is looking back centuries, even millennia, to analyze where these traditions came from.
Why do we have wedding flowers and favors?
Because the “Victorians tended to see all indulgence as filthy,” writes Claire Stewart, author of As Long as We Both Shall Eat: A History of Wedding Food and Feasts, they shifted their attention from food to centerpieces and wedding favors according to an NPR article.
RELATED: Check out this week’s new post on How to Make Easy Tea & Coffee Wedding Favors (+ Free Printables to help speed you up).
Why do we have rehearsal dinners?
This phrase “rehearsal” really confused my dad who thought we had to do a “practice dinner” to rehearse for the meal at the wedding reception.
It turns out rehearsal dinners are an American tradition that naturally evolved once weddings became “large, personalized affairs that they required the participants to have a walk-through,” according to Joan Morris at The Mercury News.
Why are weddings commonly on Saturday evening?
In the early 1900s, the most fashionable time to get married was at noon and on a weekday. “This mimicked the English wedding style at the time” and it was “considered back luck to get married on a Saturday,” according to an Insider article.
Times have changed. Now that weekends make travel more convenient and it’s possible to party all night long (thank you electricity and lightbulbs), Saturday afternoon to evening seems to be the most preferred wedding time. We’re bucking (and returning to) the fashion by going with a noon Saturday wedding.
Why do we have a wedding registry?
The Chicago-department store Marshall Field’s invented the wedding registry in 1924 to allow an engaged couple to signal the kinds of “china, silver, and crystal” patterns they wanted. It avoided duplicate gifts from friends and family.
Alex and I are skipping the registry and asking our guests to make a tax-deductible donation in our name to ProPublica.
Why do people spend so damn much on weddings?
Quartz compared data from the Knot’s 2013 survey to find that the average wedding cost $29,858. Compared to a 1939 study by B.F. Timmons, a sociology professor at the University of Illinois, couples in the tail-end of the Great Depression spent $392.30 ($6,481 after adjusting for inflation). Lest you think the 1939s were a frugal time, this wedding cost was “worth one-quarter of household income” compared to today’s costs which are closer to half.
Stewart writes in her book that peasants used to have “raucous wedding affairs with lots of drinking and games.” It was a giant party and everybody was invited. The wealthy elite, on the other hand, “didn’t have to work to project wealth.” The middle-class took notice and incorporated many aspects of the elites’ weddings, including precise guest lists and scheduling.
Why do we have to do a wedding at all?
Alex and I agreed that having tried both eloping and planning a traditional wedding, the elopement is far simpler and less stressful.
So, why are we planning a wedding?
Well, it gives me a chance to design tea and coffee wedding favors and share the tutorial with you.
It makes me more empathetic for the “bridezilla” phenomenon. (Wedding planning is a systemic health risk. The shorter your planning, the better your mental health.)
It gives us a chance to hang out with friends and family.
It gives me a chance to see my family in a different light (wow, Midwestern and Chinese families aren’t all that different, especially when it comes to hospitality.)
Most importantly, weddings give us all the chance to look forward to returning to our normal selves. Normalcy never sounded so good.