From a distance, the State of Matrimony looks a little different to each person who heads there. For some it is a romantic destination, a place of long sunsets, shameless cooing and perpetual snuggling. To others it is a place full of things of a more practical weight — doubled incomes, for instance, or tax credits, additional parenting help, shared health insurance.
By restraining themselves through their rash, passionate 20s and tempering notions of “marital bliss” with the realities of morning breath and bounced checks, our staffers managed to be clear-eyed about just what they were getting into. And why, exactly, did they finally take the plunge? Read on…
Something borrowed, several things old
Production Manager Laura Ladendorf met her husband, Dave Ladendorf, in 1991. They married after a five-year courtship, when Ladendorf was 37. “His mother asked me what the ‘theme’ of the wedding was going to be,” Ladendorf says. “Well, I thought about it and the theme seemed to be ‘old’ — we were old, the place we were married in was old, and the dress I wore, which my grandmother was married in in 1919, was old.
“It’s not like either of us had avoided marriage,” Ladendorf explains. “We’re more or less traditional people. We’ve followed a traditional route. We both have parents whose marriages have survived, and it seemed like the right way to go, as opposed to fighting it.”
Arts & Entertainment Reporter Alli Marshall, 33, and her husband, Tim Potts, were married two-and-a-half years ago in Asheville’s Pritchard Park. “It was maybe the only wedding ever held there,” Marshall says. “It’s hard to imagine why it’s not a more popular wedding place. I mean, there’s already an audience there.” Despite the swoon-inducing start to her and Tim’s life together (the wedding concluded with a high-stepping parade to the Namaste Yoga Studio), Marshall confesses to having precious few romantic notions about the arrangement itself.
“I hate to sound so practical, but marriage allows you to do certain things, gives you certain rights and privileges, like the ability to fill out paperwork for the other person,” she says. “We just felt responsible for each other, and it seemed like the right thing to do. I’m not interested in having kids, so it’s not like that was a factor. I’m glad we did it, but I don’t feel like it changed my life at all.”
Seemed like a good idea
Retail Advertising Manager James Fisher and his wife, Kate Brewer Fisher, married in 1998. Fisher, who had never been married or engaged, was 32 at the time. “We’d known each other since the early ’90s, and had lived together for a few years,” Fisher says. “We were planning on having kids, so … Not that marriage is a prerequisite, but it seemed like a good idea.” The Fishers now have two boys, McKillop, 5, and Sam Hopper, 2. And the event itself? The wedding and after-wedding unfolded, dreamlike, along the South Carolina coast in October, during a spell of Indian Summer. “We had a hell of a good time,” Fisher says. “It was a great party.”
Divorce’s long shadow
At some point in their courtship, Arts & Entertainment Editor Melanie McGee Bianchi, 34, and her husband, Scott Bianchi, counted the number of divorces in their immediate-family backgrounds. The figure they came up with — nearly 10 — was not encouraging. So they took their time broaching the ‘M’ word; seven years, in fact, despite the reality that after just one year, “we knew where it was headed.
“The ironic thing,” Melanie continues, “is that everyone was really pressuring us to get married.”
For the ceremony last September, they traveled to balmy St. Augustine, Fla. “Our minister’s name was Rev. Sharpton, I kid you not,” she says. “He was the only [church-based officiant] we could find who would marry non-residents.”
Less nagging from mama
Assistant Production Manager Kathy Wadham, 38, came within a hair’s breadth of being married twice before. At 22 she found herself hurtling in that direction, but then dug her heels in. “I even had the wedding invitations sent out,” she says. “Then a week before the wedding I changed my mind. Thank goodness. It’s good to wait. You’re more mature, more ready for it.”
In 2000 she met her now-husband, John. Their daughter, Alyssa, was born in October 2001.
“After we had our little girl, we figured, why not tie the knot?” Wadham says. They married on New Year’s Day two years ago. One invaluable benefit of the arrangement, Wadham says, is that “it made my mother happy.”