Monday, January 5, 2009

Memory Monday: Getting Married at Dr. Maiden’s House

The other day I was thinking about the documents that my husband and I need to make sure are preserved, which led me to think about where we put our marriage license, which caused me to remember our wedding.

Brides are usually supposed to be the “stars” at their weddings. I was not the star of mine, and that was fine with me. I had never wanted a big, fancy wedding, and was happy to have as little fuss (and expense) as possible. I wore a simple white blouse, a dark skirt I had bought at a thrift shop, and a garland bought at a florist’s shop – it’s still in our freezer 26 years later. We did not arrange to have a large church wedding and reception, but opted instead for a small potluck party afterwards at a friend’s house, and when we registered at the courthouse to get a marriage license we had a J.P. assigned to marry us.

The J. P. was a 97-year-old Methodist minister named Dr. Maiden, and he was the star of our wedding. We were married at his house, which was equipped with a special automated chair on the banister of his staircase that could be used to go up and down the stairs. One of the instructions he gave to Stuart was, “Now Stuart, one of the first things you have to learn when you get married is to put your wife on a pedestal, so I’m going to have you seat Greta on this chair, which is a lot like a pedestal, and let her take a ride up and down these stairs.” I enjoyed the ride. Then we let Stuart’s 2-year-old niece Kristy take a turn.

Dr. Maiden was still very sharp and had a wonderful wit, so wonderful, in fact, that Stuart and I had to fight to keep from dissolving in giggles throughout the entire ceremony. Almost all of the pictures from our wedding show us cracking up or with huge smiles on our faces. One picture shows Dr. Maiden cracking up.

I will never forget Dr. Maiden and believe our “humorous” wedding got us off to the right start. I do not look down on the more solemn ceremonies that are more typical of weddings, and I love the beautiful ritual of the weddings we have witnessed in our church, but I believe that one of the strongest elements of our marriage has been humor and that it was appropriate for us to start our married life that way.


  1. What a great wedding memory. Dr. Maiden sounds like a person I would want to know.

  2. He was just such a wonderful person. You can see a bit of his bio online if you do a search on "Arthur Lee Maiden." I have a copy of an article on him that appeared in the paper about a year after our wedding and came across it just week or two ago, but now I can't find it (story of my life).

  3. Sounds like a perfect wedding to me! We had some funny times at our wedding as well, which was as "informal" as yours, it seems; I was married in a purple cocktail dress and our J.P. went to high school with my husband!

    What a fun post!

  4. Hi Downtothesea - Thank you! We used the money we saved to take a honeymoon in Scotland. I've always been glad we did it that way. I think a purple cocktail dress sounds great!