It’s late spring and weddings seem to be a more frequent topic of conversation.
Though I think weddings can be way overdone, I’m not going to write something preachy about focusing more on the marriage than the wedding, that’s been done. Obviously everyone wants to have a day that is beautiful, fun and memorable. I’ve attended many weddings, I’ve been a bridesmaid, and I’ve had a wedding of my own. I just want to tell couples that if your wedding day is “perfect” you’ll miss out on all the fun. Perfect is the equivalent of boring. When you look back upon that day, details that you obsessed over are entirely forgotten. And you’ll find that had things gone off without a hitch, you’d be missing out on so many stories you’ll remember forever.
Your guests will not know if you spent $1,800 $800 or $80 on bridesmaid dresses. I might not be the best example because I’m pretty low maintenance, but when my bridesmaids and I went dress shopping, the saleswoman led us back to a room with sample dresses and said, “They are arranged counter-clockwise around the room by price, starting on the right.” Remember the Seinfeld episode where George turned to the back of the book to look at the cheapest wedding invitations? Well, we started at the far right side of the room and worked our way in all of about three feet and found something we all liked after the second try. I even called an audible and changed the color scheme from teal to red on the spot. Fortunately Kim and Julie didn’t suffer any fatal consequences from their modestly priced dresses.
So what if your DJ was late, and you had to ask him to stop playing hip hop music during dinner, and instead play the Sinatra that you requested. You’ll mostly remember that the mother of the bride was spotted Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, your Best Man and your linguine-legged polka dancing uncle became legends at the Shopping Cart, and that the same dumbass DJ dedicated Warrant’s Cherry Pie to your 7 year-old nephew.
No one will ever notice that the lemon yellow flowers in your bouquets were supposed to be a rich golden sunflower yellow, but everyone will notice that the unity candle was directly under an air conditioning vent and began to flame so high that the bride’s veil was almost incinerated while she obliviously took her vows.
You’ll be bummed that your brother didn’t make it there in time for the rehearsal because his connecting flight was delayed when the Memphis airport had to be cleared after some yahoo blew past the security check-point. You’ll also fondly remember driving to the airport with your friends at 11:30 pm to pick him up while listening to a Beastie Boys marathon on the radio.
A couple may hire the perfect pianist to play prelude music before their ceremony, but they’ll never know that two of their snarkier guests were giggling uncontrollably wondering if the supply of “cheeseball love songs” by the likes of Air Supply and Celine Dion would ever run out.
You won’t remember who you seated at what table, but you will remember your uncle going back to the kitchen to serve everyone coffee himself because the Village Inn was understaffed at 3am. You’ll also remember that you went to the IHOP for breakfast with your bridesmaids the morning of the wedding and that you all ordered the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.
Your family will recall that your cake was gorgeous, but probably won’t be able to tell you the next day what colors the little edible flowers were. But they will be able to give you the play-by-play of your aunt throwing up into a top hat party favor during the car ride home, and listening to her explain that the cake made her sick. Not the rum. The cake.
The uptightly devout woman in the prayer veil who called your bridesmaids harlots because they are wearing spaghetti strap dresses on a 95 degree day will rattle you a bit, but it will make you appreciate all the more your much less judgemental priest ending the ceremony by telling your guests to “go somewhere for a beer” because the reception doesn’t start until 5:00.
You will cherish your talented and beautiful friend’s sweetly simple rendition of How Can I Keep From Singing. You’ll also clearly remember both your new husband and your new father-in-law apologizing profusely to her the next morning because an intoxicated uncle made a rather inappropriate comment in her presence before taking out an entire row of bar stools.
Maybe you decided to give your family two days notice before you got married at the county courthouse. They’ll still want to join you. And they’ll love the stress-free summertime reception that follows a few months later where kids dance so much that they fall asleep on the floor right in front of the band’s amps.
I could go on with a hundred more tales. I guess my point is, lighten up, have fun, and remember the wedding day itself is just the beginning!
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2010