Depression Era Hobo Theme

by admin on December 6, 2012

Hi Miss Jeanne. Last August I found a link to an Etsy blog post where a woman described her DIY Depression Era/Hobo themed wedding.

http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/handmade-weddings-depression-era-hobo/?ref=fp_blog_title

I don’t mean that she made her wedding simple, like a person in the Depression might have done. I mean that her wedding invitations said, “Dress is hobo casual.” I think the dangerous thing about this particular theme is that I like some of the individual elements of it (I love the simple vintage clothes, for example), and the set-up is so well-done and polished that you almost forget that it’s basically a glamorization of the hardship and homelessness of the 1930s. At the same time, I cannot help but note the irony that her inspiration was “simplicity” and “back to basics,” while this wedding sounds like it was more complicated to put together than your average, run-of-the-mill banquet-hall-ceremony/reception.

Note:  The comments on this Etsy site were closed long before Ehell readers knew of it.   I would imagine some people found the theme to be inappropriate.

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel December 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

Frankly, I dislike theme weddings in general; I think that they often come across as childish and dramatic, and minimize the importance of the actual marriage ceremony. I would personally be uncomfortable asking my guests to wear a costume to my wedding, but I understand that others enjoy such things, and it is merely a difference of opinion. However, I find this particular wedding to be in extremely poor taste. It seemed to make light of the poverty experienced by millions of Americans in the past, and completely disregarded the continuing poverty experienced by many today. “Hobos” do not buy vintage dresses on Etsy, nor do they plan to have sandwiches due to their whimsy. I think there are many ways in which this couple could have had a beautiful down-home, rustic wedding without appearing classist.

Reply

Page December 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm

As Miss Manners says, “Your wedding already has a theme: marriage.”

Reply

Stacey Frith-Smith December 7, 2012 at 8:29 am

I agree with Page. Costumes and over the top elements added on make the event more like a play or a pageant than a milestone to be celebrated.

Reply

Rachel December 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I had not seen that quote before – it is perfect!

Reply

KiKi December 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

Thanks so much for this! I remember when I first started planning my wedding, I went out and bought all those wedding planning books. The first one I read said you needed to pick a theme and then proceeded to list at least 25 themes. I distinctly remember turning to my fiance and showing the book to him. He looked at me and said, “we’re getting married, isn’t that enough of a theme?” I laughed and told him that I was thinking the same thing. I tossed that book the same day.

Reply

Anonymous December 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

I agree with the comment from @threelle on the etsy site: “I appreciate the idea of a simple and intimate wedding, but glamorizing the Great Depression and poverty is tacky.”

My grandparents, father, and his siblings managed to live through the Great Depression and I can assure you, they would not think this was “cute”,” cool”, “sweet”, “fun”, “creative”, etc. I know the intent was not to mock the poor and homeless, but IMHO, this is exactly what it did. My grandparents, rest their souls, would be horrified.

Reply

Angel December 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with this. I am astonished at the number of positive comments (on etsy) on this particular wedding theme. It is not appropriate.

Reply

Kate December 7, 2012 at 4:48 am

I was also reminded of my grandparents’ experience during the Great Depression. My grandfather would walk- they couldn’t afford anything more – throughout our entire state looking for work. He would not have found making a mockery of poverty very cute.

Reply

AMC December 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

Agreed! As my great-grandmother often said, “The good-old days weren’t all that good.” I heard many stories from her about how tough life was during the depression and the world wars, especially while raising five kids. There’s nothing glamorous about poverty or war.

Reply

Library Diva December 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Oh, this thing set off an absolute firestorm across several websites. Regretsy, which is a site that mocks things found on Etsy (from bad crafts to pretentious descriptions to blatant resellers and everything in between), featured this and it got over 1000 comments, many of which were quite heartfelt. One indignant reader, for example, shared how her grandfather worked in California during the Depression and was so poor that instead of a house or even a room, he had a shovel. At night, he’d dig a hole on the beach, get in it, cover himself up as best he could, and that was where he slept. Similar comments were left on the Etsy thread, and the admins eventually closed it because you’re not allowed to say anything bad over there.

The couple who had the hobo wedding found out about the negative reaction and took to Twitter, insulting everyone who had something bad to say, explaining over and over again why they were in the right, etc. Took about two weeks to die down altogether.

Personally, I do find the theme offensive, and also bizarre for a wedding. I think any theme that exists should reflect the couple, not just be “look what I thought up and how clever I am!”

Reply

Lady Macbeth December 7, 2012 at 12:00 am

Library Diva, how did I know that you would be a faithful Regretsy reader (as I am)?

Reply

Library Diva December 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Hahaha, I love that site! After this one, it’s probably my favorite.

Reply

Ally December 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I am about a week late, so you may never get this. But thank you sooo much for making me aware of regretsy….a new website to scour and devour!!

Reply

Jen December 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I don’t this was quite as bad as that colonialism wedding, but I definitely think that this couple didn’t stop and think this through.

The idea of glamorizing the “hobo lifestyle” makes it sound like it was a choice. But it wasn’t. My grandfather was nomadic because he, as a teenager, went around trying to earn as much money as he could with odd jobs to help out his mom and grandma. My other grandparents traveled around trying to find a new job to support their family after the factor my grandfather worked in was closed. He ended up getting severely underpaid in a mining town, living in houses so poorly insulated that the whole family ended up getting sick, and moved on to try to get better medical care for my grandmother. My grandparents real 1930s wedding? They just wore the best clothes they had and got married. There was no party, cake, guests, or anything.

Reply

Emily December 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm

The negative commenters on this particular wedding post were all rallied from a website called “Regretsy”, which aims to expose the ridiculousness of the Etsy website; I remember when the call first went out to Regretsy readers that that particular blog post and been put up.

I understand that the couple wanted a shabby-chic wedding, which is very trendy, but I do feel they took it a step too far with labeling it specifically depression-themed.

*DO NOT* (I repeat: do NOT) go to the Regretsy website if you are faint of heart. There are some pretty gross stuff there (for example, they currently have a listing from Etsy for human teeth!) and are also a very crass, sarcastic bunch. I enjoy it, but many people take great offense to it!

Reply

StephM December 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Regretsy is the polar opposite of Ehell.

Reply

Yvaine December 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

But so, so funny,

Reply

June First December 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Oh, so pretentious.

Reply

SZ December 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm

This looked familiar… Regretsy did a scathing post about this wedding.

http://www.regretsy.com/2011/08/02/its-called-poverty-youve-probably-never-heard-of-it/

Reply

cindy December 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Wow all of those negative comments made me sad for the bride and groom.
Really people just look for a reason to be offended.
I love my grandparent’s stories of the depression era. They were dirt poor and multiple generations lived together but most of their stores about family and love. I seem to come from a long line of not easily offended people I guess.
My grandfather, when a teenager, did what he called, ‘ a little hobo-ing” as he would jump trains and ride the rails in search of adventure before returning home and settling down. In the 70’s a hobo was a most popular Halloween costume. A little dirt on the face, a banana tied on a stick and collecting candy in an old rusted Folgers can. No one was offended. Really what happened to the golden rules… If you can’t say anything nice…..

Reply

Library Diva December 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Maybe I’m mean, but the smug, self-congratulatory notes present throughout the entire blog post made me not feel bad for them at all, coupled with the fact that they sought out the attention pretty aggressively. It’s naive in the extreme to expect it all to be good. I submitted a story earlier this year to this website, fully prepared for people to blame me, to tell me I was the ridiculous one, etc. I thought about whether or not I could handle that before I sent it in, and decided that I could.

What these two did was just massively insensitive on so many levels, and as other posters have noted, they spent as much as a traditional wedding, if not more. I think there’s a difference between a child dressing up as a hobo, and an adult couple spending something like $20,000 to play poor for a day.

Plus, they committed the #1 etiquette sin of a theme wedding: they forced guests into it, too. Oh, sure, no one was “required’ to be a hobo, but they came down kind of hard on the people who chose not to buy a $400 “hobochic” dress.

Reply

Bint December 7, 2012 at 4:03 am

“If you can’t say anything nice…..”

If everyone adhered to that saying then there would be very little integrity in the world.

Reply

Enna December 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

True, but then this site wouldn’t excist would it? We wouldn’t be critiscing people for being rude.

I think the bride and groom were insensetive and naive in this. If they had called it 1920’s or 1930’s vintage then it would be different.

Reply

Katy December 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Both sets of my grandparents lived through the depression and it greatly effected all of them. When cleaning out Grandma’s apartment we found money and her ‘nice’ trinkets stored in almost everything, including pages of books. The stories were fascinating, but never once did I see it as a source of romanticism.
I have also experienced extreme poverty. I see nothing glamorous about it, and suspect if someone tried to have a “tent city chic” wedding today they’d be raked over the coals for their insensitivity.
And I also find irony in the fact that the couple, who claim to be ‘poor’ spent more on their wedding than my husband and I have made in a year (at one point). Poverty is relative.

Reply

Ashley December 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Oh gosh, I remember this. I’m an Etsy fan, but I also follow the Regretsy blog, that brought more attention to this situation than it would have gotten otherwise. So I watched this all go down.
If they had just called it a Vintage 1930’s theme, I honestly don’t think the whole thing would have gotten even half as much negative attention. Heck, it might not have even gotten any. But the fact that they came right out with it and called it a Depression Era Hobo Wedding was the start of their troubles. If you read the article, it’s written in such a way that it seems like the couple cannot actually grasp that the things they are doing to be fun and cute are things that hobos did to survive and not starve to death. I can’t say that I was personally offended by it. I agree that it was in bad taste but to say that I was actually offended by it would be going too far.

I will give Etsy credit though. Normally the second there is a hint of negativity in the forums or in the comments on blogs, they shut it down faster than you can blink. So I’m genuinely surprised and glad they allowed as many people to express their opinions regarding it. I just wish more of the posts would have focused on being articulate and more polite with their wording, because like anything that gets people riled up on the internet, there was some name calling and really just flat out disgustingly mean comments.

Reply

Kimstu December 7, 2012 at 5:51 am

Well said Ashley. If the Etsy poster had described her theme as “1930s Overalls and Jug Band” or “Wedding on Walton’s Mountain” (for those who remember the ’70s TV show The Waltons), she could have had all the patched dungarees and old patchwork quilts and moonshine that she wanted and I don’t think anybody whould have batted an eyelash.

But it’s just in poor taste to design a celebratory event with an overt theme that most people have negative associations with.* Explicitly evoking the Depression, with its very real context of crisis, poverty, homelessness and despair, in order to indicate cheery simplicity and down-home calico-sunbonnet sincerity is just bass-ackwards.

It would be kind of like announcing a “Vietnam War-era” wedding theme. Sure, maybe all you’re thinking of is the “Peace and Love” posters and the folk songs and the long hair and the tie-dyed T-shirts and other harmless or positive associations, but what it will make many other people think of is conflict and violence and suffering. Don’t go there.

* This is exactly why some people find goth-themed weddings, with their emphasis on symbols traditionally associated with the macabre and horror and death, intrinsically offensive. Personally I tend to give them a pass because goths self-identify and present as part of a specific subculture whose whole purpose and philosophy is largely about reappropriating cultural symbols of death in this way. I may not agree with their outlook but at least they’re not naively presenting it as just a culture-neutral amusing fun theme with no objectionable or offensive connotations that might reasonably upset other people, which is what the “hobo wedding” Etsy poster seemed to assume.

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:27 am

1930’s Overalls and Jug Band – sounds charming. Wedding on Walton’s Mountain – sounds charming.

Yep, the name made a HUGE difference.

And you’re right about how the people wound up paying SO MUCH MONEY for “authentic” hobo-chic clothes. And they bought them, instead of just getting a bunch of potato sacks and making their own.

It’s sort of ridiculous to spend that much money just to look poor and cheap. If you’re going for the cheap look, actually use cheap materials.

The sister of the bride wrote in about how one guest did not wear hobo style, and she stood out like a sore thumb. I wonder if she didn’t dress up because she disapproved of the theme?

But “1930’s Down Home Style” might have gone just fine.

Reply

Angeldrac December 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Initially reading this post, I found the theme a touch distasteful, but after reading the detail of the wedding it seems to be far too….can’t think of the right words…theatrical? Camp? Kitch? [insert word] to be taken seriously. I like it – it think it was a fabulously unique looking wedding. Kind of reminds me of those old Disney cartoons featuring hobos, walki g along a train track with a pack on a stick over his shoulder – fun, in a theatrical kind of way!

Reply

Tom December 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Your comment highlights the problems many people have with the way this wedding was presented. The couple appropriated elements of a subculture built up around people trying to survive and, y’know, not starve and made it “fun”. Ooh, poverty, how fun is that?

The way it’s presented is really insulting and the “theatricality” you describe is people dressing up in expensive, vintage-style clothing to “play at” being poor. It’s insulting and smacks of naivete about the reality of how poor people live.

Reply

Angel December 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Depression and wedding, two things that should never be brought together. I agree with the poster who said if they’d called it vintage 1930’s maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad–but using one of the darkest times of American history as a wedding theme just strikes me as very, very wrong. It’s like a John Steinbeck novel complete with all the characters and costumes exploded all over the lawn.

Reply

No Wedding December 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I agree with what someone said earlier, I think if they had called it a “Simple 1930s/1940s wedding” they wouldn’t have had the backlash, but throw in the phrasing Great Depression hobo and, well, we see how it went. And I didn’t see anything about how much the couple spent on said wedding, but just from the descriptions of food/dresses/etc. it wasn’t any kind of “simple backyard wedding” like they were making it out to be. I think the norm for 1930s/1940s weddings was the bride and groom wearing their best clothes and getting married in someone’s house. If they were lucky there was cake. There wasn’t jugbands, cocktail hours or catered receptions.

Reply

Inkcap December 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

The only scenario I could think up for tastefully incorporating the Depression into a wedding would be if the bride really loves vintage 1930s fashion and wants to use styles, motifs, and music to give a historic flair to the reception– but also chooses to honor a family connection to the era by keeping things simple in commemoration of the hardworking spirit of perseverance that carried a past generation through something so terrible. At most, I could see the display of old family photographs and mementos; it might be meaningful to the couple to respectfully celebrate determination and resilience during a time when perhaps they and certainly others struggle to make ends meet. A wedding seems like an odd time to introduce such a dark and sensitive theme, though, and it might confuse guests or distract them from the primary reason for the celebration, or even make them hesitant to celebrate at all.

That being said, I’m surprised that the couple didn’t think that a costume party making light of a negative event in near-history wouldn’t result in some sort of backlash.

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:29 am

I am of the opinion that costume parties should be costume parties, and weddings should be weddings, and you shouldn’t try to mix the two.

Reply

JD December 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I don’t like the idea of using the Depression as a theme, particularly since many people are still suffering from the recession. My parents married in 1939 — they eloped to a nearby city with no one but another couple to witness. They wore nice clothes, suitable for the “visit to the city” they claimed they were making, but nothing special. They did it to spare themselves and their family expense and angst over not being able to afford a wedding. It was the Depression and that was a common Depression-era wedding; people did what they had to, even though they didn’t always like it. My mother’s family couldn’t afford the rent for her school books in high school– she had to try to get her homework done during school hours, but had to ask for a “free copy” in each class, which embarrassed her greatly. My dad was first farmed out to help family members get their crops planted and harvested when he was only eight, because no one could afford hired help or tractors. My father-in-law sneaked into boxcars and rode the rails, looking for work, eating out of orchards they passed, if he was lucky, when he was a teen. It was not a fun time. They had loving families, but they also had some really harsh times. Vintage might be a great theme for a wedding (I don’t like themed weddings either), but not “Depression,” which conjures up bad associations for many people. This couple’s theme is just a matter of taste to me: poor taste, maybe, but just taste.

Reply

bloo December 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I did appreciate Regretsy’s ideas for a hobo-themed wedding:

• Steal your own dinner

• Cigarette rolling contest with butts you find on the street

• Sterno martinis

• Hobo Stew bar

Read more at http://www.regretsy.com/2011/08/02/its-called-poverty-youve-probably-never-heard-of-it/#eWBdBioBrOq0iULq.99

“Steal your own dinner” made me laugh so hard! What a way to save on catering and think of how ‘authentic’ the wedding would be…

Reply

AthenC December 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

“Steal your own dinner.”

That made me laugh, too. Reminds me of a boyfriend I had in college – pothead who couldn’t hold down a job, but he was sweet and I needed the protection (don’t ask). Anyway, he was trying to convince me to have a baby with him (on purpose!). Uh, no. To try to demonstrate how he would take care of me if I had a baby with him, he goes to the local Fred Meyer and steals some fried chicken and seasoned potato wedges. Yes, because that’s a reliable, honorable method of providing for a family.

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:31 am

You know, human nature never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for giving me another example to enjoy.

Well, I enjoy it from a distance. LOL

Reply

Bint December 7, 2012 at 4:08 am

I remember reading about a couple who won a trip down to the Titanic’s resting place and wanted to get married down there. *It’s a MASS GRAVE*!!! This is NOT appropriate, no matter how ‘into’ the whole Titanic thing they might be. For goodness’ sake, put your respect above your desire to be different. Fortunately I don’t think it happened.

I agree with the poor taste of this, and especially the poster who pointed out that having a modern ‘tent city’ wedding is a good example of why this is poor taste. I have lived in poverty and it isn’t something cute to be picked up on one’s wedding day.

Reply

Library Diva December 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

I found a website once that was giving directions on how to hold a Titanic-themed children’s birthday party. I commented and told her that my great-aunt was on that ship and wouldn’t have made it off alive had an anonymous fellow passenger advised her to stay above decks and not go back to steerage for her things, and that I didn’t think this party was cute, funny, or a remotely appropriate way to celebrate a child’s birthday. The moderator didn’t let that one through, though.

Reply

No Wedding December 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

When my history-interested oldest was 10, I took her to one of the Titanic museums where they gave you the name of a passenger and you found out at the end if your passenger survived or not. Hers did, mine did not. But after that, she and I researched our people as much as we could, find pictures/stories about them. We both cried when we read that the lady whose name I got gave up her seat on the lifeboat for a woman who had a child waiting at home. I can’t tell you the amount of Titanic books she has read about the ship/passengers. A friend of hers made her a replicia Titanic ship one year for Christmas. I got her a giant book of photos from the Titanic for her birthday last year. She is very much aware that all of those people died. She was upset to learn that there wasn’t enough lifeboats on the ship for the passengers, they weren’t included partly because it would “clutter” up the deck. I honestly don’t know how the themed kids party was, but it may not have been intended to be cute or funny. I suppose it could be for a history-obsessed kid like mine.

Reply

Library Diva December 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

It’s funny about the Titanic…my younger sister was exactly the same way, at just about the same age. She went through about five copies of “A Night to Remember” and read anything else about the disaster that she could get her hands on. She was bitterly disappointed to learn of the great-aunt a year or two after her death — naturally, she had many questions and would have enjoyed just sitting in the same room as her.

But this birthday party theme was much more cutesy. It also was featured on Regretsy, and several commentors pointed out that in order to make it inoffensive, all the organizer should have done was called it a “nautical party.” I remember lots of anchors, life preservers, and pinstripes in the decor. Very little identified it as being Titanic-specific, which I almost found more offensive, using a tragedy to increase page views.

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:34 am

“What’s in a name? A Rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.”

Yeah, right.

You’re so right, though. If they had just called it a nautical party, it would have been just hunky-dory.

Bint December 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I still don’t see how it could be appropriate to base a child’s party on a mass death – which is what the Titanic story is , the horrific sinking and mass loss of life. One could easily extract other aspects to base a party around for a history-loving child (would there were more!), but specifically making it *Titanic* automatically makes it about mass death, and how many other kids there would understand that? Would one throw a Lusitania-themed party (your daughter might be interested – one lady was on both ships and survived!)?

When the only thing it is really known for is the death, I just don’t see how it becomes suitable for a children’s party.

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:36 am

If you MUST include “Titanic,” how about an “Unsinkable Molly Brown” theme? Lots of nautical stuff, and lots of red. And one or two mentions of the Titanic, because that was only a small portion of her life. She was unsinkable in her attitude about life, in general, not just on one ship.

Angela December 7, 2012 at 7:37 am

Can’t believe someone posted this as a serious comment at Etsy: “The pictures look like they came straight out of the 30’s! Except the gaunt haggard tired skinny faces are replaced by well fed, laughing loving ones! I love this idea!”
Adversity is such a downer.

Reply

Library Diva December 7, 2012 at 10:21 am

A firm that processed home foreclosures in my area held a homeless-themed Halloween party. It wasn’t an official company event, in that it was employee-directed and funded, but they used the premises. They had cardboard boxes set up, everyone wore beat-up clothes, a few made t-shirts with frequently-heard-reasoning from people who were being foreclosed on. The photos went viral, it made the national news, and a few weeks later, the firm (already legally embattled) closed its doors. Not everything is acceptable as a party theme.

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:37 am

Whaaaaat?!

Good grief. No wonder there were so many positive comments at Etsy. The foreclosure firm employees were readers!

Reply

Yvaine December 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm

That sounds like sarcasm to me!

Reply

Tom December 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

At first I thought the commenter was being sarcastic.

Then I saw it was posted on Etsy instead of Regretsy.

I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

Reply

Wren December 7, 2012 at 9:31 am

Wow, my dad is rolling in his grave like a chicken on a spit. He graduated from college in ’32 and spent the next several years wandering, working when he could. He did everything from build coffins to work for a jeweler to sweep floors. He used to talk about seeing his father sitting at his desk with a stack of unpaid bills, weeping. Weeping wasn’t something done lightly in that family. Growing up with him as my father wasn’t fun because he was obsessively frugal. We were eligible for government assistance but didn’t accept it because… ? I guess they were too proud? I don’t know, I only know we had to go without milk and bread and eggs lots of times. So yeah, I don’t like the idea of this wedding theme.

Reply

Lola December 7, 2012 at 10:25 am

What a creative couple! I want to hire them to do a Holocaust-themed birthday party for my 8-year-old.

Reply

Angel December 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Lola, I know it’s wrong but I just laughed out loud at your comment :( I wouldn’t put it past anyone to use a theme like that, sadly :(

Reply

Tom December 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I was waiting for someone to make a joke about Holocaust-themed birthday parties…

Reply

Valerie December 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

My father’s family was well-off in the Depression – they owned the town grocery store, so they always had food! That wasn’t something everybody could take for granted. He said some of the local black kids had scurvy and pellagra, and their skin was peeling off.

That isn’t just poor, that’s starvation. I’m sure there were some cute fashions during the Irish potato famine and Stalin’s purges, too, but I wouldn’t name a wedding after them!

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:40 am

Oh, yeah, Stalin-style! I have to admit, I really like the look of those old Russian clothes. I like the Russian peasant look very much.

As for the life that goes with it? Not so much. Mass death has a way of souring things for me. I’m weird like that.

Reply

Rebecca December 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Does this remind anybody of how Marie Antoinette and her friends used to dress as peasants and play at farming? She’d see these poor people from the window of her carriage and think it was such an ideal, beautiful, lazy life. Meanwhile her subjects were starving. She was not necessarily making fun of them, she was just completely out of touch with reality and completely trivializing their hardships.

This couple strikes me as being the same way… clueless and ignorant, but not malicious. They’ve never had an education in suffering.

I don’t mind themed weddings, but making guests dress up in costume is way out of line, IMO. My cousin had a “hoedown” themed wedding. Most people didn’t go because they didn’t want to be either foolish or poor sports, and most of the others refused to dress in cowboy clothes and just wore normal ones.

Reply

LB December 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Just in case the depression era wedding theme isn’t offensive enough, the comment section in Regresty sent me to this website: http://jezebel.com/5820577/colonial+themed-wedding-included-authentic-all+black-servant-staff.

After all the bad press the couple did apologize, but it’s a typical “You took it the wrong way, but sorry IF we offended you” apology.
http://jezebel.com/5821657/colonial-wedding-pictures-taken-down-those-involved-apologize

Reply

Jen December 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I do think the colonialism weddings and the linked-to plantation weddings are quite bad. You’re play acting during your wedding at being people who exploited, enslaved, and murdered other human beings but are white washing that.

First of all – when you’re getting married, why are you playacting at being Rose and Jack, or Rhett and Scarlet or whoever? You’re not marrying Jack or Rhett (and you should be thankful for that), you’re marrying Bob or Jim or whoever. Second, why are you choosing to emulate people who exploited other people (Colonialism) or who were doomed to die (Titanic). Some people take their theme WAY WAY too far.

Reply

feesh December 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

It is the height of luxury to pay a bunch of money to pretend to be destitute.

I agree with those who say a 30’s theme would have been fine, but the way they went about this glamorizes a lifestyle that people only lived because they were forced to in order to survive.

I have never lived in poverty and am not very close to anyone who lived through the depression, but I find this to be really upsetting.

Reply

RooRoo December 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm

As it happens, my paternal grandparents were migrant workers back then. My father was born in the early ’30s; his sister a little earlier. Their father was a drunk, eventually leaving Gramma for another woman. She settled down in a small town and waited tables so her two children could go to school. It was a hard-knock life. Her courage and determination leave me breathless.

I spent a week with her around 1960. She lived in a tiny house, with cold water – and an honest-to-Deity outhouse. She was proud as heck of it, because it was *hers.* I may have gotten my conviction that the best thing you can do for yourself is have a paid off house, that no one can take from you, from her.

No, spending money to imitate poverty doesn’t amuse me. And I flinched when the bride spoke of cutting up old quilts to make table runners. Could be some of them were the ones on the bed at Gramma’s. Sure, they were only patchwork squares, but she had made them entirely by hand out of bits of clothes too worn out to wear. Store-bought blankets were way out of a waitressing single mother’s budget. Tres amusant for les aristos, I guess.

(P.S. In case anyone who “knows” me wonders, it was my mother’s parents who were the New England blue-bloods.)

Reply

Ange December 13, 2012 at 12:28 am

I’m glad I’m not the only one who is annoyed by their casual destruction of heirlooms for their decorations.

Reply

Stepmomster December 8, 2012 at 12:01 am

My grandmother contracted polio when she was little, and when the depression hit, she said it was worth having to recover from the disease, because a woman down the street had three chickens, and would give her mother an egg a week for her “her poor sweet girl” to help her get stronger. Her mother would cut the egg up in pieces and feed it to her a bit a day, it was often the only protein she got. Her classmates were jealous because she got an egg a week. it was an unimaginable luxury for that age.

Hobo theme… they are sweet, and did a lot of work…totally ignorant.

Reply

Angel December 8, 2012 at 10:26 am

Stepmomster, what a terrible thing for your grandmother to have to go through–I am so sorry. If I lived during the depression I would have done anything to have a chicken–how lucky that neighbor was. But sad that your grandmother had polio and this was the only way she could have an egg per week :(

Stories like this make me even more upset at this couple. What the heck were they (and their families) possibly thinking? If I were a relative of one of this couple I would have certainly voiced my dissent! Maybe some of them did but we don’t hear about them.

Reply

Angel December 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

For the heck of it I went and read over some of the comments on the blog. The first half of them were very positive, then, the floodgates opened and they got blasted! LOL I would imagine that’s when they were featured on Regretsy.

I also noticed through the course of reading the postings, this couple spent about 15K on their wedding. Forgive me but that doesn’t sound like much of a budget friendly wedding to me! I thought they wanted to actually save some money. Seems to me they could have done a similar theme for half that, or less. I think the problem was they bought a lot of the handmade items.

Reply

AthenC December 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

Anyone else notice that they got the idea from the groom’s grandmother? The lady who had her wedding in the 1940’s, which means …. she grew up during the Depression. So the one person in their circle who had standing to be offended not only wasn’t offended, but gave them the idea in the first place. Seems to me like this couple know their own circle of family and friends well enough that they picked a theme that seemingly everyone liked.

Also, I liked that the invitation seemed to list all the parental parties – how very progressive!

Reply

Angel December 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I don’t think most people have a problem with the bride and groom having a wedding like this–if it’s okay with their circle of family and friends, that’s fine. I think what a lot of people take issue with is, the fact that these people blog about it and put the photos out there for everyone to see–an instructional for people planning their weddings. To me that isn’t okay. Some people might disagree with that and we can agree to disagree–but just because their friends and family were okay with it and the grandmother suggested it, doesn’t make it any less offensive at least in my eyes. If they didn’t want reactions (the good, the bad and the ugly) they should have never posted the photos and blogged about it IMO.

Reply

Bint December 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

It’s amazing how many people insist that everyone *loved* that mass begging email they sent about their wedding, or told them it was a great idea.

Of course they did. Of course they didn’t say, “I can’t believe you sent me this! You trashbucket!”

Someone here had a pay-as-you-go BBQ for their wedding, cash bar, invited over 300 people and asked them all for money in a ghastly little poem. Funnily enough, nobody told them it was hideous, yet an awful lot of people said so when they weren’t around…

Reply

Harley Granny December 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I’m a little torn on this one.
I didn’t feel they were glamorizing the Depression Era.
I enjoyed the pictures and thought it was a creative idea.
They even explained their meaning of Hobo…one they looked up. Great Granny even loved to ida.

What gets me if it was call a “Walton Wedding” or “Little House on the Prairie” wedding, they’d get themselves a plaque on the wall. Same wedding different name.

Have we really gotten so PC that we have to put ideas thru to the PC police before they can be done?

Reply

Alanna December 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Ugh, I live in a less affluent suburb right near where this wedding was held. It doesn’t surprise me one bit. I’m fine with their down-home theme, I do think some of it is cute, but to use the words “hobo” or ‘depression” in your wedding theme is just atrocious.

Reply

Mary December 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm

If they wanted a true Depression era wedding, the bride would have to quit her job upon getting married. My grandparents got married in 1935 and were engaged for at least four years due to the fact that married women weren’t allowed to hold most jobs. They had to save up their money and wait until my Grandpa was earning enough money to support both of them and a family since Grandma had to quit her job as soon as they got married.

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:06 am

Admin – your note about how they closed the comments, and that the viewers thought it was objectionable was spot on. I remember when it came out. My sister was howling with laughter at the incredible ineptitude of the bridal couple and their naivety at thinking this was acceptable and “cute.” And they thought they were “making a statement.” They were, but not the one they wanted to make. Their statement was more like, “We are morons.”

Oh, yeah, people were NOT happy about this. And I was amazed at how many people who had been around at the time were still around now, and reading online.

Reply

GleanerGirl December 11, 2012 at 6:11 am

I just went back and re-read the etsy entry. I find it hilarious that they talk of how they wanted a simple, back-to-basics ceremony, and that is why they chose this, and then they had to “bust our butts for months” in order to pull it off.

If you want simple, back to basics, you put on clothes you already own, go to the courthouse, sign the papers, and maybe have a cake and punch.

Reply

josie December 11, 2012 at 6:42 am

Okay, what I want to know is…..What do you get them for a gift???? A pot and pork & beans? Did they have a registry at Macys/Bed Bath and Beyond/Ikea?????? Was the bride in sequins and fluff or was the gown simple/or regular clothes?

Reply

Akili December 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I LOVE historical themed anything, if I ever get married my poor spouse will be forced to do a 1920s theme because it’ll be the one thing I’ve wanted forever and ever.

This? This is a bit tacky, though not the most tacky theme I’ve seen. HOWEVER I am amused by how they go on about how they didn’t have the money for a fancy wedding, but could buy antique hand-stitched quilts for it. I could oay my rent and buy food for a week with how much those usually cost.

Reply


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: