21 November, 2009


I can't stand weddings anymore. How could anyone get excited about a wedding these days? Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with marriage, it's just the "show" that I can't stand. The typical bride thinks she's going to have the wedding she's dreamed about since she was a little girl. She'll want it to be all her own, better than other weddings, but it usually ends up being just like the others. There will be a small army of bride's maids and groomsmen who usually look less than interested in the whole dog and pony show. The bride's maids have to purchase their dresses, which is stupid, and the groomsmen have to rent poorly fitting tuxedos. A night or two before the event there's usually a rehearsal. I don't know why. I'm surprised that there's anyone out there that doesn't know how things go. Everyone's at the church/local garden/backyard early. There's a lot of milling around after changing into dresses or tuxedos until the photographer calls people up. This is the time when the wedding party gets their photos taken. Groomsmen lined up on either side of the groom, holding the groom off the ground, lined up with one hand in a pocket etc. After the routine groomsmen shots, the groom is shooed away and the bride is brought down. Same routine, different spouse. Lined up either side, lined up hand in pocket, bride on best man's knee... the groom is doing something similar with the bride's maids during this time. Pre-game photos done, the wedding party lines up outside the sanctuary with the last bride's maid and last groomsmen at the front, maid of honor and best man at the end. The first pair walks down the aisle and when they get half-way down, the next pair starts down the aisle. The pairs split when they reach the front and go off to their respective sides. Repeat until the maid of honor (henceforth referred to as MOH) and the best man (BM) are in place. The groom walks out on cue from the minister and waits awkwardly until the ho-hum organist starts the wedding march. The bride and her father then walk down the aisle. The bride cries and gives her father a peck on the cheek and a hug before she's passed off to the groom. The bride and groom take the usual spot on the top step, in front of the minister and the MOH will pass her flowers to the gal behind her so she can straighten the mile long train on the bride's dress. The minister starts his monologue. The next hour or more is nothing but songs, communion (if applicable), lighting of the unity candle, more monologue, another song, exchange of vows (which are mostly a joke these days), the presentation of the newly minted husband and wife, then the exit which is just the entrance reversed. After everyone exits there's the three hours of sitting on your ass waiting to be called for the standard wedding photos. The bride and groom with every possible combination of wedding party and/or family. Ahhh, but it's not just bride, groom, wedding party and family waiting around. The guests are outside wondering when the hell the bride and groom will be coming out so the damned bubbles can be used. OK, run of the mill photo session done, bride and groom exit church to be showered with bubbles. Bride & groom, wedding party, a couple of kids and some family members get into the limo/bus/old car/carriage... whatever, then head to at least one bar just long enough for the best man to get a beer and have a few sips from it before everyone is rounded up to leave. "Son of a bitch! Couldn't even finish my beer!" At long last, everyone arrives at the place where the reception is being held. But wait! We haven't come to the end of this script yet. By this time, the only thing the people in the wedding party want to do is just sit down and relax, but noooooo. Wedding party pairs up yet again, bride and groom at the end of the line, and the pairs are announced as they enter the hall. The bride and groom, obviously, get the biggest round of applause as they enter. Finally at the head table, the wedding party gets to sit down and eat some sort of food that has been prepared in bulk (unless you're lucky and get some home cooked buffet chow, but it's rare). The minister provides a prayer and dinner is served. Though blinded by incessant use of flash from the photographer, dinner is started. Then comes the round of toasts *groan* in this order. BM/MOH, bride, groom and then the bride and groom's parents. Champagne and other booze is consumed until the cake cutting is ready to go. Bride and groom both grasp the knife and slice off cake for themselves, pose for the photographer and then they may or may not shove it in each others face. After the cake walk is done the DJ, who until now has been outside smoking while his "dinner music" CD/playlist runs, comes in to start his bride and groom dance. This is followed by parents dancing with bride or groom and the groomsmen dancing with their respective bride's maids after that. Depending on the DJ, the next thing will either be the dollar dance or the bouquet/garter toss. We'll go with the toss in this example. The single women (a few girls thrown in for the "cuteness" factor) gather while the bride is spun 'round a few times. The bride tosses her bouquet over her shoulder causing the single women to look like a pack of wild dogs going after a fresh kill as they scramble to catch the bouquet. Then the single men are begrudgingly pulled away from the bar or the outside smoking area to gather for the garter toss. The bride is placed upon the BM's knee, the DJ spins the beaten-to-death striptease music and the groom sticks his head up the bride's dress to remove her garter with his teeth. As with the bride, the groom is spun 'round and then tosses the garter over his shoulder. The single men (with a few boys in there for "cuteness factor") make a half-hearted attempt to catch the garter and, unless the garter happens to land directly on some guy, it will fall to the floor only to be scooped up by one of the boys because they have know idea what the whole process means. Next up is the "dollar dance" segment. This is usually the time when the wedding party, who has been bored out of their skulls until now, starts perking up. Some of it has to do with the booze that's been consumed and some of it has to do with the fact that they know this is their last "duty" in this three ring circus. The bride and groom are placed on the dance floor, usually in front of the DJ's booth, and guests line up. Women line up for a dance with the groom (with the occasional guy mixed in there for laughs) and men line up for a dance with the bride (with the occasional woman in there for laughs). The BM takes the dollar bills from the women and limits the amount of time they have with the groom and the MOH is doing the same thing over by the bride. Finally, the dollar dance comes to an end and everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief. Obligations to the bride and groom done, the wedding party splits up to socialize with the people of their choosing. The people not crafty enough to know how to escape it, will have to suffer the "chicken dance" and the "hokey pokey" sometime during the night. Usually early enough so that the old people can either watch or participate. The rest of it is just a typical night at a bar, but in formal wear. Guys looking to score with the good looking single ladies and fat/ugly ladies trying to break out of their shells enough to (maybe) score with some drunk groomsmen. There might be some people passing out, or there might be an angry drunk to spoil things. The night finally winds down and everyone goes their separate ways, hoping that the marriage they just witnessed is one that will buck the odds and last. The BM and MOH might wind up back at the church getting the b&g's shit together and cars moved where they need to be. All the while realizing that despite the bride's planning of every minute detail of her wedding for three years in advance, nobody had thought of how to get gifts, clothes, vehicles etc. to the proper places. Luckily(?) the over-achieving, annoying, obsessive-compulsive, batshit-insane friend of the bride (who's bitter about not having been the MOH or even a bride's maid) starts barking out orders. The MOH and BM ignore her and go about getting things done. It's 02:00 after all, and everyone's tired and possibly grumpy.

Think I've been in a few weddings? Trust me, it's been more than a few. I'll never be in one again, that's a fact. A good friend called me a couple of years ago and said he was getting married. I was in his first wedding and was placed at the end of the line. At least the gal I was paired with was smokin' hot. Anyway, he called me not long after I had been through yet another wedding as best man. I was thoroughly sick of weddings by then and when he asked me to go out to California for his second wedding, I told him that I didn't have any vacation time left and was about to explain that I couldn't afford the trip when he hung up on me. I wasn't too concerned. I hadn't exactly seen him much the previous five years and I don't remember him returning my emails or phone calls. I guess I was an on-demand friend at that point. Besides, I honestly don't think I could have faked my way through another wedding.

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