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WINTER Wear: An avocet wades in the Bear River to look for a tasty snack. The bird's black-and-white winter plumage heralds the onset of cold weather. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 11, 2005

On journalists during wartime (for Veterans Day):

"[I]n the news media that covered the war both overseas and domestically, journalists also were willing to cooperate and do their
part. The public did not see journalists (and journalists did not see themselves) as being against the team. Journalists were part of the team. Some, such as roving correspondent Ernie Pyle, repeatedly visited combat zones even though they did not have to do so, and they paid with their lives."

--Michael S. Sweeney, press historian, 2001 (from "Secrets of Victory," about censorship during WWII)


Oh no! It's another Utah wedding reception

By Lauren Murakami

October 19, 2005 | Since I graduated high school, wedding invitations have become more rampant then junk mail. These invitations are a celebration of that couples happiest and most important day of their lives. Something they will remember forever and I am sure it is for them, they get to have a lot of firsts. But what about the rest of us? What about the guests who have already attended two weddings that month? Does anyone even attempt anymore to make their wedding reception a little different showing their personalities? Or is every reception the same? Déjà vu with different faces.

Growing up in Utah I have become well acquainted with the standardized wedding reception. A storybook fairy tale, a love worthy of a lifetime commitment, shouldn't have to be happily ever aftered with a handbook wedding reception.

In reviewing all of the weddings I have gone to this past year, they all rate the same; this is because they were all the same. Obviously it's a wedding so there will always be a white dress a wedding cake, and flowers. But when did Utah decide dinner is out of the question? When did the éclair and water become sufficient refreshments for all of their guests? Every food spread is virtually indistinguishable from another: mint brownies, chocolate-covered strawberries and lightly flavored pink mystery juice. We are all Americans, every social event is based around food, how did the Utah wedding receptions lose this focus?

I cannot stand the wedding lines. Standing in a long wedding line, sometimes upwards of 45 minutes, is not my idea of a good time. Suddenly being social with old acquaintances becomes dependent on when I arrive. While I am in the everlasting line, I both luck out and see someone I know, or I am quickly reminded how it is a wedding and I showed up all alone. Then I catch a glimpse of their wedding video for the two minutes I am positioned in front of the TV while still waiting. Upon reaching the happy couple, more often than not I only know one side, either the bride or groom. So then I get a quick introduction -- "This is my husband's mother and father and his sisters and this is my friend Lauren from high school." Then there is just enough time for me to say "Congratulations, I am so excited for the two of you, I love your dress, you look gorgeous," and then the line pushes me out of it. The congratulation/introduction handshakes and hugs are as quick as a person running through a dugout giving high-fives pumping up a team. There is just no time for being personal, maybe that is why they have a guestbook, for proof you stopped by to say hello.

Receptions held at stake centers are all too common. Round white tables and flower arrangements don't hide the fact there is a basketball court underneath these scantily placed decorations. I can see the appeal of having a reception at a stake center. It is nearby, entire neighborhoods go there, and it is free. But, it's a wedding! People go to the stake center maybe three times a week, so convenience and practicality shouldn't outweigh the fact that it is a wedding.

Furthermore, I know it's practical to have the neighbor to do the invitations, the other neighbor to be the photographer, the other neighbor to do the wedding video, and the neighborhood kids to serve the refreshments and take the presents. But it's a wedding -- why would someone want it to be a potluck wedding reception where people bring whatever small wedding talents they may have to share.

I understand most of these weddings included a six-month courtship, a three-month engagement, and then a wedding squeezed in between school breaks. But I think people should save up and go all out. It's your wedding, have a sit down dinner, get the professional photographer. Have a DJ or a band come and get granny on the dance floor. Go on a honeymoon other than Bear Lake or Park City.

In reviewing Utah wedding receptions as a whole, the slightest variation from the standardized reception is refreshing, making it worth wearing a skirt and buying the present. It is a wedding; it should be a big event, not just a weekly neighborhood gathering at the stake center.


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