May 8, 2019
man and woman celebrating their wedding

It’s spring and wedding season again. From “save the date” invitations and engagement parties all the way to flying to a destination wedding, weddings can be huge, elaborate affairs that cost a king’s ransom. But it wasn’t always that way. 

The wedding industry has changed expectations, but perhaps it is time to reconsider the no-limits wedding and start a marriage with an intimate local bash instead of a travel-intensive affair that costs as much as a college education.

My mother-in-law told me of a charming custom from her past called a football wedding. It was a way for people from large, working class families to have a memorable wedding celebration and not break the bank.

This is how it worked. A family would rent out a hall where they could hold a reception after the wedding. Usually, this was a Knights of Columbus or Rotary Club hall. The night before the wedding, the women of the family would make piles of sandwiches wrapped tightly in wax paper. Even the bride could help. The family would get a wedding cake from the local bakery, buy soda and drinks, and they were all set for the big day.

After the wedding ceremony is when the football wedding took place (and the reason why those sandwiches were wrapped up so tightly). During the reception at the hall, the bride and groom tossed sandwiches to guests the way you would hurl a football during a game! Guests could join in the sandwich tossing, too.

I can picture how much fun those affairs must have been: the shrieks of laughter and maybe an “ooops!” or two when the sandwich missed its target!

Maybe we didn’t all want such a fun, homestyle affair, but most of our weddings then were relativity simple. We purchased everything we needed locally — from the dress to the rings. We hired a photographer from the neighborhood. And we held the reception in a local hall or “the best restaurant in town” as a beautiful end to a beautiful day.

I have spent many happy hours listening to stories like this from my mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law. Stories about a simpler time when people got by with less but managed to have a rich, happy life filled with wonderful memories. The older women in our family had a lot to teach us; I am so glad that I had them in my life!


Joanna, the Green Maven

About the Author

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.


By Earth911

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