Weddings seem to be all the rage.
I fear I may have entered a time in my life where many of my friends, close relatives, random acquaintances, and complete strangers will marry and I will attend. This summer my first paternal cousin married, and this experience along with a number of conversations focused on the concept and practicality of marriage, in concord with discussion of upcoming weddings has led to what became this post.
Over the past months I have collected a short series of notes and general pieces of advice for those planning or considering some matrimony in their own lives.
These notes are mostly my opinions, other people’s opinions, or complete lies, and as sarcasm is my truth – it is unlikely you should follow these instructions, unless you are seriously insane or looking for a good time.
In Regard To Planning
- If you are going to pick a date that has some trivial numerical significance such as July 7th of the year 2007, remember that our calendar was quite arbitrarily started and your thirty-eight thousand closest friends likely had the same trivial idea. Note today is the eleventh of November, or 11/11 which I think makes today full of super specialness!
- It has been suggested that the best time for a wedding is in autumn or winter. Spring and summer are both highly frowned upon. Especially summer, it is just too hot so please stop doing that.
- The area where the wedding reception should be held should be relatively close to the location of the wedding itself. And by close – I mean walking distance, the walk can however, be lengthy if it is an interesting walk. This will remove the awkward hour where the guests must fumble around in their cars or arrive ridiculously early. Currently I am recommending museums for receptions, that way if the people are boring, there is still something interesting to look at.
- Photo-shoots between the wedding and reception are frowned upon and you can do that before hand. Seeing the bride really isn’t that bad, you like looking at her, that is why you are getting married.
- Churches are hard to find these days, it seems all the good ones are shutting down. However many other buildings are just as pretty, and some people like modern architecture. Consider art galleries, museums, science centers, historical landmarks, libraries, universities, or the spectacular outdoors.
- A suitable altar (or backdrop for the ceremony for those of you who were unable to find a church or are heathens) should be found, I recommend little backlighting from stained glass, a solid color/texture, and a non-reflective surface (for example, the above … do you have any idea what is going on there?).
- Also it is expected that the altar is raised about four feet, what is even more useful is stadium seating and the best: stadium seating where the aisle is raised or spaced so that as the wedding party walks down the aisle, everyone can see them (free popcorn, not allowed).
- Guests should be invited in at least the following ratio: For every guest invited more than ten years above your (bride/groom) age, two must be invited that are your age. (Note the mean age of the wedding should be no more than ten years above the age of the older of bride/groom)
- Guests will be expected to dance at the reception when the dancing occurs. This hinges on the average age of attendees being low. In an exhaustive array of measured samples less than 10% of people over 60 years of age have been shown to dance (vigorously), yet even that 10% tires quickly.
- Some say it is necessary that all guests will be expected to speak English, if they cannot speak English than they will be expected to become highly intoxicated and sing karaoke (if English is not the native language of the bride/groom or the wedding is being held in another country please swap out English in this statement with your language of choice).
- Picking meal options is difficult and for best results a buffet of varying ethnic cuisines is recommended. If you must have guests pick their meal at RSVP, make sure the choices are specific, with lists of ingredients. Never should an option be simply called “Vegetarian” unless the only other option is simply called “Slab of Meat.”
- I want my readings to be chosen from novels, with variety. I want the congregation to be familiar with the characters. I want them to laugh and I want them to cry.
- Normal Christian type psalms and music of that variety is fine. I feel like Classical is appropriate. Phantom of the Opera songs are near the line. ABBA is over the line. Bjork is highly recommended.
- For some reason at wedding the Catholic Church (and maybe others? I am suffering a lack of experience here) actually steps back and does not have people walk around with collection baskets picking up the expected twenty dollar bill (recommended?) per family. I don’t know why this is, if they are going to do it every Sunday, they might as well do it at a wedding. I recommend having this done, and requesting a cut, probably something like seventy percent, fifty if you are more religious.
- The wedding should have a program guide, possibly with instructions, and the names of attendees and their relationships. Also it should provide short bios and pictures, especially of the guests who are single. This will be useful at the reception.
- The wedding should also have a website, a videocast, and probably a live blog. I expect up to the minute updates for those who could not attend: “Oh oh, she tripped walking up the aisle a little, but I think I am the only one who noticed (me and the whole interwebs).
The Rehersal & Occumpanying Dinner
- This is going to be the biggest day of your lives, make it a production.
- Practice twice, and real practicing, like get your full pretend on. I expect the readers to read and the vows to be said.
- The rehersal dinner should only be moderately good. This will cause the wedding to be even more pleasant in comparison.
- The bride/groom should cry while speaking to their closest family and friends, real big tears. This will cause other people to cry, because crying is contagious and then later you can all laugh about how silly you were.
- It has been suggested that some sort of action also take place: a person jumping through a window, a fight between two relatives, or an angry ex-boyfriend/girlfriend should appear unexpectedly.
- When walking up the aisle be sure to pause every three or four feet. When you do this look to the left and smile, then pause, then look to the right and smile. This will assist the audience in their photography.
- Make sure that people can see you and hear you (but not smell you, no smelling should occur – tasting and feeling can be okay, depending on the wedding). I expect to hear your vows, not just a few muffled noises.
- Icelandic wedding tradition requires that all females sit on one side of the room and all men on the other. This is good when one side of the marriage equation doesn’t actually have any friends or family and the whole place looks unbalanced (it is more likely the gender balance will be even). Plus this gives the whole place the feel of an awkward middle school dance.
- I expect the priest to ask if anyone has any reason they should not be wed. If this doesn’t happen you are sure some in the audience feels like they are missing their chance to stand up and make a scene. Plus movies equal reality.
- Something planned by the bride/groom should happen that no one else knows about. Remember you are in control. It is your day. It is your day.
- Hire a designer! (Unless you think you are good enough yourself, which you likely are not.) Allow them to define the look and feel of the entire event. This should start at the invitations and carry over to the program, the decor, the style of the cake.
- Contrast in outfits. The bride/groom should provide complete contrast. If the bride wants to wear an all black dress than the groom should be in an entirely white tux, if the opposite is true I expect the groom to be wearing a black shirt with his black suit – fear not, it is fashionable.
- Speaking of, white dresses overrated. It was cool when Queen Victoria did it â€“ but I completely support anyone who plans on choosing an outfit that they can wear again. This was how it was done a century ago and it is not a bad idea.
- Priests are also overrated, and break the color contrast by standing between the bride and groom. Tell him/her to stand off to the side if you feel he/she is necessary at all.
- A dress code should be given for the guests. I recommend the following: Jeans for all men, shirts should all be white, red, or black, ties are allowed but also should remain white, red, or black – quiet patterns are acceptable; for the women, dresses or jeans and fancy shirts, again recommended colors are white, red, and black, however pink is also acceptable. Black or white pants are acceptable instead of jeans, however jeans are encouraged, they give good texture.
At some point, and maybe in a future post I will explain why and when people should get married. Remember, marriage may not be for you. If you are a hipster or even a bit indie you might not want to get married, because marriage is currently not “cool.” Also if you are gay, you probably don’t want to get married right now because you likely can’t and even if you do it might not count later. If you like to use the term “living in sin” you might not want to get married because it is really fun to say, and if you do the marriage thing you will only be able to use it to recount the good old days. Plus divorce can be messy and is even harder to pull off in style.
In conclusion, your wedding is going to be remembered in photographs, videos, and its internet presence. Many of these suggestions will help make these lasting memories in media turn out better. It is also important to remember to have good lighting, food that will not be too messy. I recommend hiring at least two photographers (or a team) and do exactly as they say. I also recommend having some sort of raffle or prize, which will convince people to stay longer at the reception (especially if the prize is good). This way the reception will have a decisive ending and not people leaving from the moment dinner is over. Plus who wants to spend four hours saying goodbye to each guest as they get bored in turn. A striking conclusion the evening will leave a lasting impact on those who have attended such a celebration, and will further convince them that your wedding is better than theirs could ever be.