Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Behind The (Wedding) Veil: It's Not Pretty

A friend of mine told me that an otherwise wonderful woman he knows has gone crazy planning her daughter's wedding. I believe the exact phrase was, "She's lost her fucking mind." We've shared many stories about the particular insanity that surrounds a certain kind of Southern, first-time wedding. They are all outrageous. And they are all true.

We're cruising into bridal season, and it's interesting to observe 11 years removed from my own wedding. It seemed pretty reasonable at the time, because it's not like we had a gigantic budget. But from my older, crankier perspective, it looks like a carnival of tulle, tulips and satin. Did I mention the complete loss of perspective? I distinctly remember arguing with my proper, Baptist mother about whether I should wear long gloves to counteract my (apparently scandalous) sleeveless gown. We went back and forth in the shop until my then-17-year-sister snapped and said, "Look, she doesn't want the gloves. OK?!"

Since then, I've been to a lot of weddings — some that didn't result in lasting marriages. That's not a criticism, but a statement of the obvious. When you consider the fact that half will end in divorce, it's amazing that people can summon the optimism (delusion?) to get married in the first place. So when I see all those young, starry-eyed couples in the newspaper's "Celebrations" section, well, I just hope they're not completely high on pixie dust. Good luck to them.

Anyway, that conversation with my friend got me thinking of some of the more memorable events and issues from my tours of duty as a wedding guest/participant:

  • Choreography: My husband was a groomsman in a wedding where the bridesmaids were doing some kind of swaying thing to a Luther Vandross song. At one point, each groomsman had to twirl the bridesmaid they were paired with. Oh, and the maid of honor did a dramatic pose on her way to the altar that was straight out of the Ebony Fashion Fair.

  • Courtship Re-enactments: I've been to at least two rehearsal dinners where the couple showed videos intended to represent their courtship. They included walks on the beach, fireworks and campus strolls. My friend M. was so floored by this idea that she came right out and asked, "Is this a black thing?"

  • Lutherization/Mariahzation: This refers to the tendency of certain soloists to emote shamelessly, no matter what they're singing. I don't know if you've ever heard the hymn "Sweet, Sweet Spirit," but melisma doesn't make it more soulful. More tedious, perhaps, but not soulful.

  • The Electric Slide: I think this one is a black thing, because I've seen it at almost wedding among my people. What gives? Just because everybody can do it doesn't make it a good idea. And I'm convinced that the accompanying song, along with "Macarena," is on the playlist in hell.

    My advice to my kids will be to spend more time thinking about the marriage than the wedding and the honeymoon. And no re-enactment films, please.

    downtown guy said...

    My sister just got married a couple of weeks ago. I performed the ceremony for them (I'm a notary). The stuff I had to get them (her) not to include in the ceremony was insane. Candles, rose ceremonies, long, heartfelt speeches. Good god. In the end we kept it fairly simple, and I think they'll do the long haul together.

    The best part of the reception was watching my new bro-in-law, normally a very quiet, background guy, bust out the full choreography of Billie Jean, complete with moonwalk and crotch grab. Open bar!

    Sghoul said...

    Weddings are one of the many many retarded things we do because women say so.

    In a society where your marriage is essencially based on the flip of a coin (50% divorce), weddings have become one of the silliest things we waste money on...because there is a good change this won't be the only wedding you have.

    EDP said...

    Downtown Guy, I need video of that moonwalk! The most enjoyable weddings I've been to had open bars. Not a coincidence, methinks.

    Sghoul, this post was just for you! You have to remember that many women have been thinking about a wedding since they were little girls. It is irrational and princess-y. That being said, I will not complain if my kids want to elope.

    downtown guy said...

    Oh, I wish there was video. I'd slap that shit on youtube in a minute.

    H F said...

    Sorry, but I will not attend a wedding where I cannot do the electric slide or strokin'. It's a deal-breaker. :)

    EDP said...

    Strokin'? Really? Phew, that's funny.