From the Basement

June 4, 2010

It’s Wedding Season! (break out the Xanax)

I have four – count them, four – friends getting married in the next 15 days. I can only attend one of the weddings, which breaks my heart, but as a result of this nuptial frenzy, weddings are on the mind. I was discussing them today with a good friend and once again was faced with the fact that I am quite possibly the only woman in the world who does not like weddings.

Don’t get me wrong – I am thrilled for my friends who are getting married. All four of them are with good men, and I don’t say that flippantly. And marriage itself, the institution at its heart, is something to be celebrated. But for reasons unknown to me, I find wedding ceremonies to be voyeuristic and rather awkward. I don’t know why. I feel like I’m – snooping? – into someone else’s intimate moment. I know that guests are meant to be witnesses to one of the most beautiful moments in someone else’s life, but still …

Strange though this predilection is, I’ve come a long way, baby, over the last two years. I used to be anti-marriage as well as anti-wedding, but a good man (and a savior with a great sense of humor) helped (is helping?) cure me of that … phase. I’d still rather elope than face a crowd of 200 loved ones in an embarrassingly tight white dress, but my boyfriend is stubborn. I figure that if I have to go through relationship Purgatory, it may as well be walking down an aisle.

This propensity may be why I enjoy movies such as Wedding Crashers. Don’t click that back button – stay with me. Notwithstanding Bride Friend #1’s amazing commentary for this movie, I truly enjoy the way the film pokes fun at weddings. The premise of the film is that two guys go to weddings to get laid by women who are supposedly floating on a sexual high (clearly, they never met me). Sleazy though that premise may be, the film does an excellent job of showing how predictable, commercialized, and non-personal weddings can be. They integrate themselves into the wedding experience, making toasts and dancing with flower girls.

In short, they show how overdone and predictable weddings can be in our culture. How focused on the tradition, on the ceremony, rather than on the couple. And this may be my issue at its core: is it necessary to have a bridal party? To have 200 guests? To have a champagne toast, a DJ, an ungodly enormous cake, ridiculous floral arrangements – is all of that necessary? Weddings, and the marriages that lie beneath them, have been turned into commercial affairs when, really, all they need to be are simple vows between a man and a woman, with the witness of an officiate and perhaps a few friends.

This is not meant to insult anyone, and it’s certainly not meant to upset my friends who are getting married over the next few weeks. I’m simply questioning the necessity of the ceremony, of the pomp and circumstance. Not of marriage, not of love, and certainly not of a couple’s genuine desire to share their day with their loved ones (however many hundreds there may be). After all, why should any two weddings be identical? Shouldn’t they be as unique as the people who are getting married?

I’ll end my thoughts here, because this is starting to venture off into rambling, but I just want to say: I think that weddings are awkward and at times over-commercialized, but love is supercalifragalisticexpialidocious (or however Mary Poppins said it) and marriage is something our culture has forgotten how to value. And beneath everything, buried under all that pomp that I can’t seem to ignore, marriage is what weddings are about. And I need to remember that. I think we all do.

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