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13C--Julyj3 ! 1972 . Sunday Gaseu+Mail ﾃつｷ Chtrftston, Wnt Virginia/ Bringing Broader Horizons to the Altar A whole new generation cf lovely brides is now approaching marriage in greater numbers than ever before in the history of this nation. Forecasts indicate that more than 2,200,000 will take their vows during the next 12, months and that this figure will accelerate as time goes on. Although June and October h a v e b e e n c o n s i d e r e d traditionally as peak months for weddings, this is one of the time-honored traditions to which-young couples no longer adhere. Each month of the year now has its own rising number of marriages. Prevailing attitudes of brides, and their grooms, are trending most definitely to preference for time hallowed traditions--despite s w i f t changes that have been occurring in the social order. These trends call for a bride to be radiant in her wedding gown at ceremonies over which a member of the clergy officiates using a ritual that may have been slightly adjusted at the suggestion of the young couple, in a church, in tne home, or, weather permitting, possibly-in a garden. TODAY'S BRIDES are more than ever romantically interested in planning the gala reception that follows and at. which the groom will help cut the wedding cake. Brides have definite ideas about this i m p o r t a n t occasion for celebrating what has but a short time before been solemnized. While today's brides are marrying at approximately the same age as did their mothers (the median age is 20 years 3 months), the smart, fashion-conscious young couples of today have very firm notions about the "life styles" they want to set for themselves. This derives from 'their wider variety of experiences, their ever increasing ex-, posurc to the fast-moving interchange of information in this world of rapid "communication" which help make them knowledgeable. * * * SCHOOL VISITS to museums, high school graduation trips to national and state capitals, and the increasing number of young folks able to enjoy foreign travel, have all helped to shape their tastes ﾃつｷ and broaden their horizons. A great number of brides-to- be have become familiar with home making-thanks to companionship with their modern mothers who have more than kept pace with expanding opportunities for the better life. In this area also are the young women who have found highways to careers for themselves in cities to which they have been.permitted to m o v e f r o m t h e i r o w n hometowns, by confident parents. Marriage Is Not Outdated Despite Changing Picture ﾃつｷ These too have had some experience in the practical a s p e c t s of s e t t i n g up h o m e -- a n d h a n d l i n g budgets--in making informed ﾃつｷchoices of essential needs. * * .*' THERE IS another aspect in which today's brides differ from those of earlier periods. .None have experienced in so short a number of their young years so many social changes as have occurred during the past decade. Today's young people have been eye witnesses to sometimes violent unrest among their peers. They have observed shifts in moral attitudes. They may have participated in debates over changes in social values and goals, and a variety of life styles. The resurgence among today's generation of brides of interest in the traditional marriage ceremony, their growing nostalgia for the fashions of earlier times, their new understanding of the meaning of romance, reflects their own new attitudes t o w a r d t h e m a r r i a g e ceremony as meaningful expression of the value they place on home and family. NEW YORK-The latest' thing in popular life styles is, a c c o r d i n g t o e x p e r t s , marriage. Despite all the publicity given to a l t e r n a t e l i f e styles--young couples living together, and all manner of relationships formed without benefit of clergy or state con- t r a c t -- t h e f a c t i s t h a t marriage is at an all-time high in popularity in the U. S. A higher percentage of the country's total population is m a r r i e d n o w t h a n ever before. A continuous upward trend in first marriages that began in 1958 shows no signs of letting up. And there are more remarriages among divorced or widowed men and. women. '- ﾃつｷ . These facts were revealed at the annual home f u r - nishings conference of the National Retail Merchants Assn. at the Biltmore Hotel here. Marriage market experts told attending retailers that although there have been changes in the statistical picture about who is getting married, and how couples will live after they marry, the basic fact of marriage is not outdated. Robert M. Thorsen, predicted that "the family, as we know it today, will continue to be the dominant social and economic unit throughout this century." In fact, according to Thorsen, the nuclear family is becoming even more end u r i n g , w i t h m a r r i a g e statistics no longer seeming to dip because of adverse social conditions. Most major wars, for instance, have been generally preceded and followed by sharp rises in the marriage rate, with drops in the rate shown during the course of the conflict. But, although the war in Vietnam is the longest ever fought by the U. S., it has had no measurable effect on the marriage rate. Economic recessions and d e p r e s s i o n s , t o o , h a v e traditionally caused the rate to drop. The recent slowdown, however, has seen marriages increasing over the same month a year ago in every one but four of the past twelve months, Thorsen said. Consult an Agent About That Trip If the couple is planning to visit a very popular spot with limited hotel space, reservations should be made as early as possible. It's wise to consult a travel agent. His services can be invaluable, and they don't cost the bridegroom a penny. The fact that most brides intend to work after they marry, most for at least 3 years, accounts for some change in the style of married life: Barbara Donovan, editor- in-chief of Bride's Magazine, told the conference that studies of the magazine's readers have shown that new "wife-styles" are now emerging, most of which are variations on three major ways of life. T h e f i r s t , a n d most, traditional is the "two-for- one" marriage, where the wife supports her husband's career by e n t e r t a i n i n g business associates and doing community work that reflects his position, while spending the greater part of her time taking care of the home. A newer variation of this style is one in which the wife's career is the major focus of the marriage and the husband plays a supportive role. A second, and just as traditional style is the "baby makes three" marriage where children's interests and needs take precedence over parents'. Couples who choose this option usually take the traditional roles of housewife and working husband. A third and newer option, growing in popularity, is the two-career marriage where both partners work, take turns deferring to one another for the sake of professional progress, and choose to defer having children or spending much time with them. ﾃつｷ Thorsen added that brides 'are changing. They are older, better educated, and more affluent than ever before. Along .with marriage, they stick to another seemingly outdated custom--engage- m e n t , and are in .fact, lengthening the engagement period. The median engagement period of readers has risen from six months in 1960 to ten months now. The U. S. Census Bureau estimates that the median age of brides today is 20.9 years, an increase from the median of 20.2 years in 1959. Sixty per cent of all first marriage brides are 20 or older. 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