February 1, 2011 by Amy Elliott Bragg
Married in Michigan
For months, I have been meaning to write about weddings.
Because, in case you forgot, I love Detroit history, I am planning a wedding, and not long ago, the Detroit Historical Museum opened an exhibit about the history of weddings in Detroit. Naturally we went to see it post haste. With our moms. Incidentally, on my mom’s wedding anniversary.
My parents got married in Las Vegas in 1987. Mom looked fetching in a pale pink skirt suit. They hadn’t been dating for long, they both had kids, and they’d been married before — my dad more than once. (We had a good laugh when we found an old college transcript stuffed away in a safe box. The only class he aced? An anthropology class — about marriage.)
In 1934 (we think), my maternal grandparents, who met at a dance hall, were married in Jackson, Michigan. No one has any photographs. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen photographs of my grandparents together. Except this one.
My dad is not even sure when his parents were married. They never celebrated an anniversary. When he asked when it was, they’d say, We forget. He definitely doesn’t have any pictures. My grandfather was a flame-haired Jew from Ukraine and my grandmother was from Knott County, Kentucky. They met at a deli in Detroit where she was a waitress. Verdict: Shotgun.
I really wanted to put together one of those family wedding picture displays for our reception, but when I asked my mom about it, she rolled her eyes. Good luck with that.
[Detroit bride & groom, 1890. Burton Historical Collection.]
But I thought it might be worthy to put together a small, quirky scrapbook of Detroit weddings, marriages, brides, grooms, ceremonies, receptions, etc., throughout the coming weeks — so even those of us from families with decidedly ambivalent attitudes about matrimony (perhaps even those who personally aren’t so fond of it) can have a seat at Detroit’s family table.
Sound fun? We hope so. Worth a shot, anyway. If you know any tales of fabulous, fascinating or strange Detroit weddings, won’t you pass them along?
(P.S. A copy of How to Be Happy Though Married appears in the exhibit. You can also read it online at the Internet Archive.)