Thursday Morning Quickie #19

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the M Men-Gleaner Manual, “Love, Marriage, and You” used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 14

Wedding and Honeymoon

A FEW YEARS ago an M Man who had been president of his ward group and an attractive Gleaner girl were married in the Salt Lake Temple. They had known each other since they were children, had gone together off and on for nearly five years, and were deeply in love. They had both finished two years of college and he had a satisfactory position working in a business with his father. They had gone “steady” for about a year and had been engaged for five months. They held a huge wedding reception in Salt Lake to which they invited six hundred friends, relatives and acquaintances. About five hundred people came through the reception line to wish the couple well and to give them presents. Prior to the reception the girl had attended fifteen dinners, parties, teas and showers in her honor; the young man had attended three.

The groom had two weeks off work for their honeymoon. They went on a long trip in an automobile which they had borrowed from the girl’s parents. Neither had been East before and on their trip they visited many of the important cities and points of historical interest of the Church. They included in their itinerary a visit to Niagara Falls and also to Canada. Before they returned to Salt Lake City they had travelled a distance of more than 6,000 miles, an average of about 500 miles a day. Needless to say, they returned to the Rocky Mountains, tired and travel-worn.

Quickie Questions

1. What mistakes did this couple make in planning their wedding and honeymoon?
2. Is it always best to have a wedding reception? Why or why not?


  1. This sounds a lot like my wedding and honeymoon. Well, minus a considerable amount of detail from the honeymoon. But let’s compare:

    Married in Salt Lake City. I was married in Nauvoo.
    Had a reception with 600 invited guests, about 500 of whom showed up. We invited about 450, and about 300 showed up.
    Traveled about 6000 miles in two weeks. We traveled to Knott’s Berry Farm (from Illinois) – about 4,000 miles total in a week.

    We enjoyed our wedding, our reception, and our honeymoon. So I don’t really see what mistakes were made by this couple.

    And yes, a couple should always have a wedding reception! It is how they can legitimately get all of the kitchen appliances necessary for a happy home, such as toaster, blender, and lemon zester!

  2. What do they mean, what mistakes were made? It sounds like the two did what they wanted and had lots of fun. Are the questions from the actual manual or are they ones you ask, Scott?

    As far as wedding receptions go, if all you’re going to do is get together in the local church gym and have a potluck, have a line to meet all your guests, you really ought to just forgetaboutit. What a waste. Seriously, it’s a freaking celebration. Have fun. On my mission one investigator was a drummer in a local band, and he invited us to come to the wedding reception where his band was playing. And let me tell you, those Romanians had a total blast at that wedding reception.

  3. Church history sites are not appropriate honeymoon destinations.

  4. Driving 500 miles a day for two weeks (driving for 8 hours a day, maybe more in the 1950s) is not an appropriate way to spend a honeymoon.

  5. Mistakes: It didn’t mention in the writeup, but chances are they did not use the proper formatting of their names on their wedding invites and instead cheapend their self worth by using a shortened name such as Dave instead of David, not including their middle initial and other such blasphemy

    Best to have reception: Of course it is always best to have a reception, it makes the whole gift shake down more tolerable for everyone

  6. #4: In 1956-57, 90+ MPH on the open national highways would not be unusual. Gas= $.25 PG, everyone had a large V8 engine.

  7. “It sounds like the two did what they wanted and had lots of fun.”

    Well I’d imagine the concept of “retrenchment” was still familiar at least to those old enough to write the manuals back then. The fact that this lesson seems so odd, as it encourages us to judge the apparent needless extravagances of another shows how far we’ve come (for good and ill) from the concept of exerting gentle social pressure toward retrenchment (ie frugality, financial sustainability – and you could probably add emotional and physical sustainability).

  8. As if fleecing the parents of the bride for an overly lavish reception wasn’t enough, they had to go drive the wheels off the family sedan too.

  9. 600 invited guests = ca. 300 invitations; 500 attendees = ca. 250 gifts. The girl was poisoned from licking all those envelopes and stamps, both from the invitations and the thank you notes which she sent immediately upon return from her honeymoon. The groom/widower soon found another bride and the story was repeated. Twice. He was then arrested and convicted of serial murder and was shot at Point of the Mountain in 1966. Happily ever after, I tell you.

  10. Who were this people?
    “the girl had attended fifteen dinners, parties, teas and showers in her honor”
    That’s a lot!
    I wanna get married, hundreds of people giving wedding gifts and many dinners, parties, teas and showers (of course for me only three). Sounds like a good deal.

  11. John Scherer says:

    “Prior to the reception the girl had attended fifteen dinners, parties, teas and showers in her honor; the young man had attended three.”

    The problem, unmentioned, is that the groomsmen scheduled the dancing girl to jump out of the cake at the wrong party. His bishop and in-laws were scandalized.

  12. I hear Jesus enjoyed a wedding reception once. He even provided all the booze.

  13. Needless to say, they returned to the Rocky Mountains, tired and travel-worn.

    Not unlike many other travelers from the East during, say, the 1850s and 1860s.

  14. A good mormon bride who honored the word of wisdom would never attend a “tea” in her honor.


  15. The Other Brother Jones says:

    Clearly we need another temple reccomend question: “How many people did you invite to your reception; and how many dinners, teas and showers did you attend?”

  16. The alliteration got me: “toaster, blender, and lemon zester” – it should be the name of a blog that these people set up after their return to continue to distract themselves from each other.

  17. they didn’t meet at a rollerskating rink…so they did that part right..hmmm

    they dated too long? they returned tired and travel worn but not pregnant? they stood in a reception line for 500 people?

  18. #12, some might suggest he was just being a good host at his own reception.

  19. Bob must have a selective memory of driving on those non-divided highways.

    Instead, drive through every town, slow down to 30 mph, or stop completely at the red lights.

    And those open two-lane highways were filled with slow-moving trucks or buses or cars, and passing them meant waiting for a stretch of straight road with no oncoming traffic.

    90 mph? In your dreams.

  20. Two years of college for the groom? Egad. How will they afford their two SUVs, a modest seven-bedroom above the Mount Timp temple, a boat, and all the other things that clearly show that a couple is living The Plan?

    No wonder they needed presents from five hundred people. They were practically living in poverty.

    Besides, I think the implication here is that they got home too tired to multiply and replenish the earth. Got to have that first kid 7-10 months after the wedding, after all.

  21. #19: Mark B- Not a dream, I lived it, I drove it. There was nothing between LA and Las Vegas, Very little between Vegas and Salt Lake (just Provo). Few trucks (railroads were in). Few cars. But yes, lots killed on the open highways passing slower cars.

  22. The Other Brother Jones says:

    The implied question is, “How will the young couple afford to reciprocate when they get invited to 600 weddings?”

  23. Nothing wrong with being “tired and travel-worn”. A quiet weekend at home in bed will cure all that.

  24. StillConfused says:

    What were they doing when they were driving 500 miles a day? I have had many long road trips like that but the spouse doesn’t complain!

  25. Man, every time we have one of these threads I think about my whining about Sunday School–then realize that if I’d been born 50 years earlier and investigated the Church, I’d have run away laughing and screaming.

  26. I totally thought this was going to end with “And you can be just this happy and successful if you read the scriptures, pray, and go to church”

    Just when I think I’m starting to understand the M/G manual, it throws me a curve-ball like this.

  27. IMHO no mistakes were made if that’s what this couple really wanted. If you wanna have a big wedding and honeymoon and reception and the whole lot then go ahead. If not, then don’t. Everybody should have exactly the kinda wedding they want and invite whoever they want to invite.

    The sad part is, that not that many do. I know I didn’t. I still don’t know why we had to invite all my hubby’s dozens of cousins when he doesn’t even know their names. Let alone all his aunts and uncles I’ve never seen since. Well, I know why: because that’s what my MIL wanted and since she was paying part of the wedding that’s what we had to do. That’s probably the main reason young couples end up having a wedding reception they don’t want to have. Too many people who really should just butt out want to make it THEIR party.

    We had a great honeymoon. We flew to Ireland and London. Slept at B&B’s ate lots of instant noodles and saw musicals and sights whenever we weren’t otherwise occupied :)

  28. Daniel (2),
    No, I did not make up these questions. The entire text, questions and all, was taken verbatim from the manual.

  29. They missed 100 people in the reception line?

    They had the reception in SLC?

    They went to Canada?

    They forgot their camera?

  30. Paul nailed it, they went to Canada. Now the questions make more sense.

  31. And people complain about correlation.

  32. “an M Man who had been president of his ward group and an attractive Gleaner girl”

    Are these two traits supposed to be equivalent?

  33. #31- ha!

  34. #27: “Everybody should have exactly the kinda wedding they want and invite whoever they want to invite”.
    The point is__this was not the Mormon way of the 1950s. The Temple marriage was simple and anything beyond that was to be simple also. I think that was the value they were trying to teach in this lesson(?)

  35. WVS (16), I have just convinced my wife to let me rename our blog! It is no longer going to go by the boring moniker of “Alex & Gretch” but is now “Toasters, Blenders, and Lemon Zesters”. It has nothing to do with weddings and receptions, of course, but I think it is an awesome name for a blog anyway.

  36. Brit (17) nailed it – she wasn’t pregnant upon her return.

  37. 500 miles a day, 6000 total, multiple receptions, hundreds of guests to greet. Oh, I totally see where this is going!: if you pack too much into your wedding and honeymoon, you’ll be too tired at the end of each day to “hop on the right foot, and do the wrong thang!”

  38. Did they write thank you notes for all those gifts? It seems not. Sad.

  39. This sounds like the kind of wedding I wished I could have! (But for that to happen, our parents would actually have to have friends . . . ) Our honeymoon was similar and exactly what I had wanted.

    I think britt nailed it, too. No honeymoon baby = failure

  40. Wait . . .

    a real live printed lesson with instructions on how to pass judgment on the affairs of others that are none of our business?

    Oh, dear.

  41. #24 – Rent the movie Parenthood. A lot of stress relief driving on the open roads 500 miles per day.

    It should be noted their twin sons grew up, formed the Proclaimers, and wrote that incessantly addictive song about 500 miles and love based on their parents’ honeymoon.

  42. I wish this blog had the “like” feature that Facebook has. So many of these comments deserve to be “liked.” Hilarious.

  43. Folks, perhaps I can provide a bit of back-story here that will help us see this item in perspective. I was on a general writing committee for a number of MIA (as it was then) manuals, and I can probably reconstruct how Lesson 14 was most likely written.

    The two paragraphs we have here took eight months to produce. Fourteen different writing committee members produced thirteen different drafts, none of which was accepted by the committee of the whole or by Correlation. Six members of the writing committee were then suddenly called on full-time missions with their spouses, and three more celebrated year-long wedding anniversary cruises (silver, gold, and platinum) and thereafter collaborated on a book titled “When Marriage Only SEEMS Eternal,” which was made into a highly popular musical freatured in several consecutive June Conferences.

    None of the remaining committee members could remember what the original lesson topic was, but the thrice- extended deadline had already passed. Under the gun, Remaining Member #1 wrote the first paragraph, member #2 the second, member #3 the first Quickie Question and member #4 the second. Each writer shielded his own writing from the eyes of the others, and when they finished, they shoved the results under Sister Florence Jacobsen’s door and raced up the canyon to Ruth’s Diner where they ordered the Early Bird Breakfast ($2.99), which they felt was well earned. (They left tips, respectively of one dollar, fifty cents, twenty-five cents, and twenty dollars and a signed mortgage.)

  44. Levi Peterson says:

    Re post # 43 by Elouise, on how M-Men and Gleaner manurals used to be written. A wonderful story, full of accurate detail, absorbing suspense, and utter realism. Like other realistic fictiion, even if it didn’t occur, it should have.

  45. How did they afford to do this? She obviously didn’t work (who could with that many social engagements?) and he must have had a cushy job at daddy’s biz to be afforded a 2 week vacation as a newbie. Obviously these kids were born with silver spoons in their mouths. Sweat shop owners? Factory tyrnats? Middle men to robber barons? Simple stock market or banking men?

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