Today, we will address the wedding thing. “I want my daughter to have beautiful pictures of her wedding and remember the ceremony and the reception as times of joy and fun. I want her to close her eyes and smell those flowers and see the fun on the faces of her wedding party as they pile into the limo. I don’t want her life as a married woman to begin with want and making do.”
Weddings are a big industry. It is an “event” that takes months of planning and thousands of dollars. It’s promoted as “Her Day” and we promote this as the most significant event in a woman’s life. Why isn’t it the most significant event in a guy’s life? I am watching commercials about getting “the perfect ring for the perfect girl.” It seems his entire investment consists of a ring worth 1 year’s salary. Here’s a hint: your house should be no more than 1 years’ salary. But it is not the most significant thing in a guy’s life. Weddings are all about the bride. She will spend lots of money on a dress she will wear but once. She will spend lots of money on flowers that wilt in a day. She will spend lots of money on a location that’s just perfect for the 500 guests she’s invited (and the 25 guests from her husband’s family and friends.) She will spend lots of money on the cake. They will spend lots of money on the DJ and the open bar and the reception venue with the floor space for all 500 guests to dance. They will spend lots of money on the catered dinner. They will spend lots of money on the photographer/videographer to catch all the perfect moments on this perfect day. Toooooo many perfects for me. Any time you have that many activities that must be perfect in order for the day to be perfect, 1 thing that goes wrong throws a monkey wrench into the whole thing and it blows up.
We MUST change our perceptions. It is a very significant day for a couple. It changes the focus from I and me to We and us. It is not the best day for either one of the couple however. How can you have the best day in your life be so early in life? Aren’t things supposed to get better as you and your partner Build a life together? What do you really need for a wedding?
- An officiator. A judge or a minister who will explain the commitment to each other as husband and wife, and will take the oaths from the couple.
- Witnesses. Maid of Honor and Best Man are all that’s required or 2 friends who will confirm that the couple has indeed made this oath in the presence of an officiator and other witnesses.
- A shared symbol of fidelity. This is usually a ring. In modern times, both the husband and wife have rings rather than just the bride to show she’s property of the groom. This is better, I think. It shows that both the bride and the groom belong to each other.
Optional for a wedding:
- Cake. It can even be a nicely decorated sheet cake. It doesn’t need to be 5-10 tiers with life-sized caricatures of the bride and groom. (And for heaven’s sake, do not smash cake into your new partner’s face! You have to live with this person the rest of your life! Don’t start life off as a couple with an insult!)
- Reception. The word “reception” means to receive. The couple stands at the door and receives the good wishes of the guests and witnesses. Punch, nuts, and mints are perfectly acceptable for a reception. It is not necessary to feed the group. They would be at the wedding without the promise of a 4 course meal. They do not have to be entertained. It is not necessary to provide libations and music in order to thank the guests for coming to the wedding. They were invited to share in the ceremony of two people changing their live’s direction.
- Pictures. It’s always good to document significant moments in your life. It doesn’t take 400 pictures to do that.
I was at a wedding where the bride and groom had a getting-ready-for-pictures luncheon which consisted of pizza. They all dressed together and then proceeded to the 3 hour picture session in a lovely garden spot. This included the 2 toddlers who would be the ring bearer and the flower girl. They were 3 years old. During the pictures, the groom was blindfolded so he wouldn’t see his bride in her wedding dress, so the pictures of the bride and groom together were to be taken after the ceremony…another picture session. About 4:00 after the toddlers should have had at least a nap and a snack, they all headed for the ceremony. They decided that with the hundreds of people coming to the wedding, they couldn’t have it in a church, so they rented a hall. By this time, the toddlers were getting cranky. They didn’t have the use of the hall for the rehearsal, so they had practiced at another venue. That was also a picture-fest and another meal. The bride had spent nearly $600 for her dress, and the bridesmaids had chosen and bought black dresses and the custom jewelry instead of the ghastly bridesmaid dresses you usually see. This was a good idea. The fact is, when the bride and groom marched down the aisle, it was the 1st time they’d done it at the hall. The Pastor was worried! The toddlers, when done with their duties, were supposed to stand in line like big people and be part of the ceremony. I should say ceremonies. There was the sand ceremony where they mixed the wedding color sand to show unity and make a pretty art display. Then there was the unified candle ceremony to show their dedication to each other…2 lights become 1. Then there was the rose ceremony where the parents of the bride and groom were presented with roses to represent the grandparents that had died and missed the ceremony. Then, finally, there was the marriage ceremony. Now the bride and groom and all the bridal party and the parents of the bride and groom went out for MORE pictures while the staff changed the venue to a buffet. (I might say at this point that the dinner cost in excess of $7000: $21/plate and $6/glass of beer and the “glasses” were plastic. For the same price, they could have all gone to Perkins and had steak dinners, and it would have been cheaper. What was on the menu? Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls. Yes, it does sound like Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yes, it would have cost 1/2 as much.) After the buffet, remember the toddlers have not yet had a nap, they proceeded to begin the reception with a DJ that had them dancing for about 5 more hours. The wedding, then, was a 12 hour affair. Did it go off as the “Perfect Day” then? Of course not. This particular venue was also hosting 2 other weddings at the same time. The 3:00 wedding was in full swing with their reception while this wedding was in the ceremonies. So when the pastor asked, “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband…we heard a “YAHOO” from the next room. The little flower girl was running around the front of the church and poking the ring bearer and refused to spread the flowers she was given. They didn’t have the 500 guests all show up, so they could have had the ceremony in the church and saved another $1000. That also meant they had LOTS of left overs from the banquet.
The point is: The focus was on entertaining the guests, celebrating the event, showing off how much the parties could spend on celebrating the event and entertaining the guests. It was NOT, however, focused on this very solemn and meaningful marriage ceremony, of two people changing the directions of their lives and dedicating themselves to each other.