Sunday, May 1, 2011

Resist the Festivalisation of Weddings

There seems to be an increasing trend in modern society towards ever more elaborate weddings. It’s not enough to have wedding plus reception. Obviously you need both bachelor parties and spinster parties.

But there’s been a proliferation of new add-ons.

Americans are big on the ‘rehearsal dinner’, which seems to have spiraled out of control from being ‘just the wedding party’ to ‘wedding party plus out of town guests’ to ‘practically everybody’. So now you’ve got to plan not one, but two huge parties.

And since the out of town guests will be there the day before, it would be a shame to not have some activity with them during the day too. Bam, there’s more planning and hassle.

And if two days wasn’t enough (and let’s not forget the local guests, slumming it with only a single full day of proceedings), there has been the pernicious proliferation of ‘next morning brunch’. I can think of nothing more ghastly as the Groom than to have to stagger down the next morning to put on my cheery face again. Plus most of the young people would rather be asleep too, especially if they’ve been out late the night before. So it’s basically only the oldies who’ll be enjoying it.

Screw that. If I had to plan a wedding (which mercifully I do not), you know what I’m going to be doing the morning after my wedding? Getting laid. Failing that, I’ll be asleep. Failing that, I’ll be on a plane to Tahiti. But come hell or high water, I sure won’t be glad-handing all the guests AGAIN.

And if three days of stuff isn’t enough (not including the bachelor parties), there’s now the engagement party. This is for all the other guests that you didn’t want to invite to the wedding, so now you get to plan a third party. Thankfully lower key, but that doesn’t help much. In truth, it probably would have been cheaper to just invite the additional guests to the wedding and cancel the party, but that doesn’t seem to occur to people.

This is of course either in addition to (or hopefully in substitution of) ‘bridal showers’, another excuse for the bride and her friends to get together, and the bride to get more presents. Traditionally, this wouldn't concern me, so I wouldn't care. But in this golden age of equality, it has been sometimes transformed into a ‘couples shower’.

Good God in Heaven, what kind of sackless man agrees to host a ‘couples shower’? You take a female tradition, and insert yourself into it like an emasculated appendage to bride-zilla. And on top of that, the concept of a ‘shower’ (unlike just a ‘party’) is that the guests are required to bring gifts. How tacky! How classless! How do you send out an invitation saying ‘Come to this party, bring me more presents!’ and not feel like a tool?

Thankfully, all these things have served one very useful purpose - they provide an excellent screening mechanism for potential brides.

To wit, the more elaborate wedding the bride wants, the less I am likely to want to marry them. They don't have to be as curmudgeonly as me (because let's face it, that's asking a lot), but a little skepticism towards the idea of 'three straight days of celebrating meee!!!!!' wouldn't hurt.

It is a strong signal of quality if your bride-to-be is more excited by the idea of marriage than the idea of a wedding. It is a strong negative signal if the converse is true.

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