I’m not in the mood right now to go into why we’ve waited so long. Those who know us well probably already know the story. The rest of you can wait for another post to hear all about that. Suffice to say, we had good reason.
So. Now it’s all systems go for the wedding.
It’s the second time around for both of us and we have different views to what we had before. We’re a little older and a whole lot wiser. We’re also a fair bit poorer! So we’re looking at what is important about a wedding and what is not. What do you keep in and what unnecessary elements can you cut out?
In this day and age where almost every bit of correspondence happens electronically, why is there a need to persist with pretty pieces of paper and cardboard mailed out at great expense to the couple, after which it will be thrown away by all except the mothers of the bride and groom? Convention dictates that it is rude not to. I say that’s a load of twaddle. Are you any more or less invited if the medium of invitation were different?
We want the world to witness our commitment to each other before God. It would cost a small fortune to send out all the invitations! Not to mention I don’t have postal addresses for everyone. No, we shall be using modern means. Facebook and email. If guests are that affronted by this slap in the face of tradition then I would have to question their friendship.
So much of what is included in the ceremony that couples deem to be important is simply not. They allow fripperies to overtake what is a powerful and beautiful sacrament. What could be more beautiful than to declare your love for your husband or wife before your friends and family and wider community all in the presence of God? Why does this need to be overshadowed by multi-thousand dollar dresses and flowers that will wilt and die within days? I must confess that I speak predominantly of church weddings and specifically Catholic ones at that. As a church organist, I’ve seen more than my fair share of weddings and many of them have got the priorities wrong. The dress is pretty, the flowers are lovely but the readings are trotted out with lacklustre telling and bridal party are adjusting their attire while the priest gives his homily. Listen to him! He just might be opening up God’s Word to you and giving you some wisdom to live the rest of your married lives by!
It’s just a party. I’m into parties as much as the next person. Maybe more. But a wedding reception is a party with strict rules. Seating arrangements, for example. Oh the pain and anguish felt by couples as they work out the guest list only to discover it goes into overdrive when you have to decide who sits next to whom. I can still recall the headache of having to work out the seating arrangement for my first wedding. No thank you!
There must be speeches and toasts. Not only that, they must follow a certain order AND the speakers must mention certain things. This one thanks those people; someone else thanks another lot; oh and everyone has to say how lovely the bride looks. Give it a rest. Of course she looks wonderful. She’s spent the entire day and a small fortune employing people to ensure she’s as beautiful as she can be in real life. If that all fails, the photographer is under instructions to fix it in post! (I’ll come back to those guys soon.)
First dance. Nope. With apologies to Men Without Hats, I can dance if I want to but I won’t leave my friends behind. And now there’s all kinds of pressure to make that first dance worthy of posting on YouTube. No, thank you.
Bouquet toss. I neglected to mention that even the bouquet is archaic. Sure, it’s pretty and brides seem to think they need them because they won’t know what to do with their hands. What do you do with your hands every other day of your life? Flail about hopelessly? No. Just be normal! Having committed to spending ridiculous sums of money on these flowers that will inevitably die (or, if artificial, will gather dust), you up and throw them away!!! Oh, and I’ve seen far too many “fail” videos on YouTube to know this often ends in disaster. No, thank you.
Actually, speaking of the bouquet…it has its origins in a time when people didn’t bathe all that often. The wedding bouquet was used to mask the bride’s body odour! I’ll be having a shower that morning, don’t you worry. No bouquet required.
These guys are the absolute worst for taking your money. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for paying for a person’s expertise but the cost of hiring a photographer seems like downright extortion! And that’s just a basic package! I was very happy with the work of the photographer at my first wedding but I have to say that what I paid him constituted more than 50% of my entire wedding budget! Yes, it was more than the cost of feeding 60 people a three course meal, plus my dress, suit hire, bouquets, tiered cake, etc. All of it. And how often did I look at that album after I got it? Never. I showed it to my mother but I think she was the only other person to see it other than my then husband and I. I’ll be skipping that this time around. I’d like to think that my friends might be kind enough to share a picture or two. My parents only had a handful of photos of their wedding…possibly less than 10. They were no less married by the end of the day. We really only want a few nice pics as a memento. To spend many thousands of dollars on an album that nobody looks at seems wasteful.
There are probably other unnecessary things that people do at weddings purely because that’s what tradition seems to dictate. We’re taking a long hard look at these things and deciding on a case-by-case basis as to whether or not we want them in our wedding. I rather suspect it’s going to be like no other wedding I’ve ever been to and I’m pretty happy with that.