David Bruce: Weddings Anecdotes


Photograph of Phantly Roy Bean, Jr. (c. 1825 – March 16, 1903) was an eccentric U.S. saloon-keeper and Justice of the Peace in Val Verde County, Texas,

Judge Roy Bean used to perform weddings, saying, “By the authority of the Constitution of the United States, the great state of Texas, and the Law West of the Pecos, I, Roy Bean, Justice of the Peace of this district, hereby pronounce you man and wife.” He then was accustomed to add, “May God have mercy on your souls.” Judge Bean also used to grant divorces. When a District Court informed him that he didn’t have the legal authority to grant divorces, Mr. Bean explained, “Well, I married ’em, so I figure I’ve got the right to rectify my errors.”

When he was three years old, children’s book author Tomie dePaola attended the birthday party of his older brother, Buddy. For this party, their mother wanted to have a Tiny Tot Wedding, complete with a little groom and a littler bride. However, Buddy didn’t want to be the groom, and since it was his birthday, his mother said that he didn’t have to and she would ask another boy to be the groom. Unfortunately, Buddy got the other boys to say that they didn’t want to be the groom, either. That left young Tomie, who said that he was too short to be the groom — since he was only three years old, that was true. Nevertheless, Buddy and Tomie’s mother was resourceful. Carol Crane, the tallest girl at the party, made a wonderful groom, and there was a shorter bride. A woman asked Buddy who the pretty little bride was, and he replied, “That bride is my brother!”

During the early 20th century, Jewish families in the Ukraine followed the custom of having the eldest daughter marry first, followed by the next-eldest daughter, and so on. When the two daughters of Yosel Polevoi fell in love at the same time, Mr. Polevoi decided to have his eldest daughter, Ruchel, marry first, followed by the marriage of his other daughter, Manya, one week later. The reason he gave for the two marriages not being held at the same time was, “Let no one say that Yosel Polevoi married off both daughters at once to save a few rubles.” However, the real reason was that he did not wish to deprive his eldest daughter of the honor of being married first.

Charles Lindbergh became an international celebrity after flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 — this made his courtship of Anne Morrow difficult. They sometimes avoided reporters by wearing disguises or by climbing through cellar windows. When invitations to their wedding were sent out, the invitations did not mention the wedding, but stated merely that a reception would be held for Mr. Lindbergh’s mother. After the wedding was over, the Lindberghs left — with Anne lying on the floor of their car so reporters would not see her — and to confuse the reporters, the party continued until the newly wedded couple were far away.

The Pueblo, a Native American people in the southwestern United States, make pottery from clay they dig from the earth. One item they make from clay is a two-spouted water jar that is used in wedding ceremonies. During the wedding, the pot is filled with water, then the family of the groom and the family of the bride drink from different spouts. Afterward, the pot is broken to bring good luck for the wedded couple.

While John F. Kennedy was running for a seat in the Senate, he stopped in Fall River, Massachusetts, and ate some cupcakes baked by “Babe” Piourde. Enjoying the taste of the cupcakes, Mr. Kennedy told Ms. Piourde, “Babe, if I ever get married, you’re going to bake the wedding cake.” On September 12, 1953, Mr. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier. “Babe” Piourde baked the wedding cake.

When Susan Butcher, four-time winner of the 1,049-mile-long Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska, married David Monson, they had ring bearers, just as other brides and grooms do — but at their wedding, the ring bearers were two husky sled dogs, Tekla and Granite. (Before being married, the happy couple had a long-distance relationship — they dated despite living 600 miles away from each other.)

When comedian Bob Newhart married Virginia “Ginny” Quinn in 1963, she wasn’t completely sure she was doing the right thing, even as she walked down the aisle of the church. In fact, she was shaking so much that her father whispered to her, “Sweetheart, I can still get you out of this.” (Fortunately, the marriage turned out to be happy.)

Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco married on his 40th birthday, an event which shocked his mother, who had assumed that he would never get married because he had a very serious personality. In fact, Mr. Orozco arrived late for the wedding because his mother had fainted at the realization that the wedding was actually going to take place!

In 1982, Dorothy Hamill married Dean Paul Martin, the son of entertainer Dean Martin. President Ronald Reagan was one of her neighbors at the time, but she didn’t invite him to the wedding because she feared that the presence of the Secret Service guards would interfere with the wedding and with the enjoyment of the guests.

Shortly after Edmund Hillary had become one of the two first men to climb to the top of Mount Everest — an achievement for which he was knighted — he married Louise Rose. At their wedding, the happy couple departed from the church by passing under an archway constructed of ice axes.

When astronauts Sally Ride and Steven Hawley married in July 1982, two ministers performed the ceremony. One was the Reverend Dr. Bernard Hawley, Steven’s father. The other was the Reverend Karen Scott, Sally’s sister.

Little Richard occasionally interrupts his singing career to serve God as a preacher. He has officiated at the weddings of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, of Cindy Lauper, and of Little Stephen (guitarist for Bruce Springsteen).

At traditional Jewish weddings, a glass is broken underfoot to remind the couple of the destruction of the Temple and to remind them of the suffering of the Jewish people in times past.

In 1925, rodeo cowgirl Bonnie Grey got married. To celebrate, she jumped her horse, King Tut, over an automobile in which were seated her husband and her maid of honor.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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