Everything Old Is New Again

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Beverly Cleary, arguably one of the most brilliant writers of the twentieth century and the woman responsible for bringing us Ramona and Beezus, eloped in 1940. Her parents were against her inter-faith marriage but, to appease societal norms at the time, she had two wedding receptions afterward: one at her parent's home in Oregon and the other with friends in California. At her California reception, instead of cake they served individual ice cream to each guest with a personalized library catalog card attached (a nod to her profession as a librarian).

In the 1960's, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy created a mild uproar and began a new trend when she ditched the long rectangular tables in favor of round ones for an official White House event. At the time this was hugely controversial as these types of tables were just not used for formal dinners. She wanted the guests to have a more intimate experience and felt the round tables would better accomplish that goal. The round tables have since become the standard in venues around the world and wedding planners today do anything they can to avoid using them.

Similar ideas come honestly and creativity has existed throughout the ages. A few years ago, the vintage charm of card catalogs lent itself to weddings themed around simpler times. The designers of today's library-themed weddings didn't copy Beverly Cleary's nuptials from 70 years ago, nor did they probably even know the details of it.

History repeats itself. Wedding cake has come in and out of style for as long as it has existed. Ice cream isn't a new wedding dessert. Round tables will make a comeback after they've been retired for a little while, for similar reasons to Jackie O's. Your job as a professional is to deliver work that your clients love. I like to say that imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism, but don't get so wound up if people have similar ideas to yours — there is very little in this world that is truly "brand new."

Originally published May 2011. Image via JFK Library.

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