I have a theory about weddings. I think the way people go about getting married predicts what kind of marriage they’ll have. There are some things in life that tell us a lot about someone- and how they get married is one of them.
The ideal wedding for some is the spare-no-expense extravaganza that takes two years to plan. The guest list includes immediate family, close personal friends, their high-school graduating class, and every acquaintance within 4 degrees of Kevin Bacon.
This kind of wedding will have more flowers than the florist has on hand. They’ll have to be ordered.
And no church, no matter how beautiful is ever beautiful enough. It must be decorated, but only to great excess.
One photographer might miss a very special moment at this very special wedding, so at least two or more are required. If you really want to go all out, you hire a film crew.
Weddings of this style require a dress that cost more than the car the bride came in. The groom can rent a tux.
Once things get going the routine is the same, it is after all an age old ritual. The groom waits at the altar, the bride appears in a flourish of music. She’s walked down the aisle by her father or suitable replacement. Tears are shed. Vows are recited. The bride may be kissed.
Weddings like this have receptions that look the same as the ceremony. Another large order for the florist. The film crew follows. The fanciest restaurant in town does the catering.
You may have been to a wedding like this, or at least seen one on TV. This may even be your wedding.
Is there anything wrong with this? Not necessarily, but I think if the bride and groom aren’t careful, they’re at risk of mistaking this lovely day for the finish line instead of the starting line, which is what it is. After the honeymoon hangover subsides the next day- that’s when the effort really begins. And the next day. And the next.
Any couple who thinks the big-fancy wedding is the point of it all is in real trouble.
That’s not to say every extravagant wedding is askew. There could be a couple who love and care for each other just as much if they had gotten married at the drive in chapel in Vegas. Maybe their families wanted the big wedding and money was no expense. That’s fine. Just as long as they understand THEY are the point, not the flower arrangements.
I like small weddings, especially if they’re small on purpose. Here are people who understand what a wedding is- two people making a loving commitment to each other in the presence of their family, their friends, and their God.
Flowers may be there- but they are clearly not the point.
The décor may be Spartan- but the rest is the same- again, that age old ritual.
Tears are shed. Vows are recited. The bride may be kissed.
The writer Robert Fulghum, who ministered countless ceremonies, said weddings just announce what is already known. The couple has made the commitment to each other long before the ceremony began. In their hearts, they’re already married. The wedding is held to share the good news.
What a lovely way to look at it. Sounds about right to me.
So those are some thoughts about weddings.
You may now kiss the bride.
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