[LMB] Second Weddings

Susan Profit tinne at eskimo.com
Fri, 15 Feb 2002 17:00:29 -0800 (PST)


Part of the reason second weddings were often downplayed just a bit
was that in many cases the groom was a widower with children and could
not entail their mother's dowry and leave them penniless to marry a
second wife. This doesn't apply to Miles, but it certainly did apply
to Aral and Cordelia's wedding.

The other reason applies to Ekaterin. The bride was often a widow, who
may not have had her dowry out of the hands of her first husband's
heirs/executors/family hand yet. And at times, she had to have the
permission not only of her family members to remarry, but that of
her first set of in-laws to do so as well. The 'don't entail the
heirs' estate also applies, so she may not have had much to marry and
entertain the town with. 

This is even more important when the bride is in her year of mourning
and some of these conventions are firmly rooted in the renaissance
eras of Europe.

Most of the modern conventions are attempts by Victorian middle classes
and professionals to meet the standards of European noble weddings,
the conventions of whach may or may not have arisen earlier or in that
era. But we are not a Victorian society any more, neither are most of
us gentry, let alone noble or monied enough to play that game fully
without risking bankruptcy. It Is Bad Manners To Bankrupt Your Parents
or Self For a Wedding.

As to any bride and groom getting married - marriage is an ordeal. The
gracious passage through the conflicting desires of two families as
well as yourselves is not an easy task. It is not YOUR wedding, it is
not THEIR wedding, it is a community rite of passage for all of you.
YOU have to remain gracious and give some ground while still keeping
it to your basic desires, but THEY also have to remain gracious and
allow you your individuality as well. The prize for the bride and
groom are to (supposedly) be accepted as full adults in society. The
prize for your families is to have you still talking to them after
you gain that. Anthropologists have a heyday over wedding customs in
modern times, because they have such primitive roots underlying such a
veneer of perceived modernity.

If you run into problems, talk to your Emperor. If you don't have an
Emperor, talk to your clergyperson. It is AMAZING what a few glowing
sentences in a homily can do to help smooth ruffled family feathers,
especially when presented as a compliment to them on their child
raising. And if it gets too bad, part of the job of that clergy person
is to help build compromises so everyone feels included and feelings
are not too badly dented. 

Ekaterin was not only in mourning, the estate hadn't been settled yet,
she was Vor and had a Vor in-law who had control over her son's
welfare to compromise with rather than parents. She did not need to
bring in a clergy person, she had Gregor to intervene. But I wold not
be surprised if part of the discreet nature of the event had to do
with still-slightly-ruffled Vor feathers in the camp of her
ex-in-laws.

Susan In Seattle