Sep 24, 2008


by Anna Arnett

(Because I missed blogging a couple of weeks ago, I'm doubling up today. I'm supposing age allows me some advantages.)

Last Thursday, Sept. 19, Mark’s daughter Andrea married Spencer Bates in the Arizona Temple. For me and my side of the family, emotion sometimes bubbled up with tears. Charles had had the privilege of sealing the first fourteen grandchildren and this was the first grandchild who missed having her temple marriage sealed by Grandpa. But Brother Perkinson, who knew the Bates family well and had worked with Charles for some time, brought a special, spiritual feeling as he performed the ceremony.

The Bates family had a wonderful brunch and program before the wedding, which I could describe in glowing details, but since this is my blog I’ll toot the Arnett horn. I suspect every mother finds her own children to be exceptionally unique.

Mark and Camille chose the Harkins Theater in east Mesa for the wedding reception. Actually, it was in the same theater room where Mark showed his “Baby Boomer” documentary the evening of Charles’ military burial. I might add, for the benefit of those who saw the film, that Mark would not accept the financial demands for rights to some of the music he had used as background, and replaced it with original compositions and new musicians, but finally got it all tweaked up and has submitted it to a dozen or so film festivals.

The reception was not only delightful, but comparatively easy. Announcements looked like theater tickets which didn’t even have to be shown. Decorations were minimal. Just a sign-in table in the hall by the entry, and black cloths on the refreshment table. The relaxed reception line lasted only until the beginning of each of the three showings, and only the bride and groom wore formal attire. The rest wore jeans, black T-shirts (well, the bridesmaids and best men wore red) emblazoned with the names of Andrea and Spencer, and stood in their most comfortable shoes. Refreshments were theater style: popcorn, pop, water, red vines or boxed Milk Duds. Pre-showing ads with a few weird instructions like “Please do not speak French during the showing”, and quizzes about the likes and dislikes of the new couple provided background for the reception line and seat-finding. Then the houselights dimmed. In theater-comfort we watched about a fifteen-minute wedding film done by Mark with his flair of humor sneaking out at unexpected times.

Andrea originated the idea for a theater reception several years ago, but Suzanne married first. So this became a new and improved version. I’ll freely admit that watching one of Mark’s dozen or so wedding videos in a theater far out-rated the hard chairs and stretching to see over heads in a cultural hall setting.

Mark claims it saved him several thousand dollars over what many of his friends spent for their more traditional but lavish receptions. I think the only cost for my own receptions, way back when, was for refreshments, and the orchid corsage my dad bought for me for the one in Utah. Invitations were by word of mouth, decorations were practically unheard of, and only cake and punch were traditional to serve. Of course they took sugar ration stamps, but returning servicemen were given a generous supply. Ah, how times have changed.

Thanks for listening.



  1. Actually I like the stories of the simpler times myself. My father use to joke he'd give me two bucks and a map to Mississippi. Back in the day, you went to Mississippi because you could marry there at 16 no questions asked and it only took 2 bucks for gas. Now there's a time line for you!!!!

  2. I love the theater theme for the reception! How fun! Anna, you have the most amazing family. Everyone is so creative. The ones I have met have such a joyful spirit about them...

    You done good!!!


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