Weddings always get me thinking, and summer is always jam-packed with weddings when you’re in your twenties and early thirties. You see your friends and family all happily pairing off in the trappings of tradition, doing silly things like tossing bouquets and garters… and the Electric Slide… ugh… And you find yourself whispering under your breath, “Don’t fuck this up, guys. Good luck!”
Maybe that’s just me. But suffice it to say, I’m not thirty yet and I’ve already been to several second weddings, a few weddings I knew damn well shouldn’t really be happening, and a few weddings that were just confusing. It’s not that I have a problem with weddings. Far from it—I totally and completely support the rights and choices of other people to declare their companionship in whatever way they choose, especially if it makes them happy to do so. And weddings are fantastic ways of announcing the noble intentions of a couple to be partners, lovers, and supporters of one another. Weddings make the families of the nuptial pair happy. They provide a great excuse for excessive eating and drinking. And it’s so lovely to see the bride all dolled up and the groom looking spiffier than usual. They’re great fun.
But they often leave me scratching my head. What, I can’t help asking myself, is the point of all the rigmarole, really? In this day and age (I love using that term—it makes me sound way old and wise), is a wedding really anything more than an elaborate ritual? Isn’t it just a good luck charm on an already-established relationship in most cases? Again, nothing against good-luck rituals. Hell, why not? But I watch the bride tossing a bouquet over her shoulder, the tears that the lucky catcher or unlucky un-catcher sometimes shed, the “something borrowed, something blue” trope that nobody can explain, the white gown that becomes the centerpiece for the entire affair even though there’s no real reason it’s not a blue or red dress… And I just go, “Huh.” Here we all are, dressed up to the nines and waiting patiently for the bar to open, often having traveled long distances and spent huge wads of cash on some ridiculous set of cutlery you know the couple will only use when you come over for dinner, to watch people behave in elaborately codified rituals that mean next to nothing. And it’s really fun and it’s fabulous if those rituals make everyone happy. But, still… huh.
I say, why not have un-weddings? I have no intention of putting a ring on it and I’m happy as can be! Would it be disrespectful to, like Sam Jones in Sex and the City (which had its many faults but also some really good ideas, I think), have an “I’m Not Getting Married” party, buy myself a fabulous dress that’s not white, and get everyone drunk on my tab? Would it be ok to throw a joint “We’re Not Married” party with one or both of my partners and invite all our friends and family to witness our vows of love and respect without putting rings on each other’s fingers that, to me, would only symbolize outdated notions of ownership and exclusivity?
…am I just too bored at weddings to appreciate how pretty the bride looks and enjoy the free hooch? …that might be it.