‘Tis the season for prettily packaged invitations, light summer frocks and days spent in sweltering churches as we watch our friends and acquaintances tie the knot. What great way to waste a beautiful summer day.
Yes, wedding season has arrived. It arrived enveloped in high quality stationary yesterday morning. I gave them marks for that ( my friends that is) good paper stock is the first sign I look for which indicates whether the event will be tacky or not tacky. The invitation was gorgeously designed and very traditional. There was a postage-paid envelope included. I noticed that the invitation included myself and ‘guest’. Guest who? They knew I wasn’t bringing a guest. In fact they were already prepping me for the set-up with the best man, a well-to-do lawyer who lives in the city. Apparently we have a lot in common, like pushing 40 and still being single.
With the invitation came a wash of gratitude. I was not standing up in this wedding. Well, not having to wear an ugly dress anyway. I would be the Mistress of Ceremonies. Perfect. The last wedding I stood up in I was the Maid of Questionable Honor.
This time I could choose my own dress, and what fun that was going to be! I’m looking for a dress that looks good with a glass of champagne and a slice of their yummy lemon wedding cake. My only job at the wedding shower was to show up with a gift. My only job on the wedding day is to give a speech and get them to the first dance. Woo-hoo, a wedding I will enjoy!
A number of years ago, I sat in a country church next to one of my colleagues and watched a wedding party solemnly walk, step, by step up the aisle to altar. It was hot and already I, and the people around me were using their order of service as fans in the close air. I missed the beach and felt a little bit cheated having to spend my day in the restraints of obligation. This was not fair. A drop of sweat trickled from between my shoulder blades and slowly, made its way down the middle of my back, and finally, most uncomfortably down the crack of my butt . Soon another followed.
I was trying not to squirm in my seat, when one of my colleagues leaned over and said, ” I can’t believe she’s marrying this douche-bag.” He said what everyone on her side of the church was thinking. I didn’t crack a smile, just nodded, and looked straight ahead at nothing in particular as I continued to wave my order of service in front of my glowing face. I was somewhat a professional at this, having sat through at least a zillion Italian funeral masses. But the heat was getting to me, and I knew that when I stood up I’d have to pry my dress off the back of my wet thighs and away from my damp panties. I thought of the court room in to Kill a Mockingbird and wished at least there were ceiling fans in this church.Despite my physical discomfort, I was honored to be invited to the wedding. I mean they had to choose only 250 of their closest pals to share their special day with them.
I have had the distinct pleasure and honor of standing up in a plethora of weddings throughout the years, and I have, despite having been married for a brief time myself, always been one of the token single girls prodded to go out and take part in the catching of the bouquet. Just to be precise, I have caught the bouquet 6, yes, count’em, 6 times. I’m not sure what 6 means in this case, the only thing that remotely relates is the advice given to a friend of mine by her very cool father that good girls wait 6 dates before hopping in the sack with a guy and absolutely blowing his mind, or whatever else she decides to blow.
I have worn pink shiney dresses with puffy sleeves trimmed in lace. I have had to coax small children dressed as fairy tale characters up the aisle to fulfill their duties as ring bearer and flower girl. I have danced with bad-breathed, drunken ushers while wearing some of the ugliest clothes on earth. I have had to manipulate bra straps and cups to hide underneath cubist dress back designs.
Ironically, in all cases, I have been told by the bride to be that, “I’ve chosen something you can wear again.” Yah, right, I thought to myself wondering what nutbar bride might like me to wear an iridescent cocktail length teal skirt with a cotton chintz bodice to her wedding too. I have worn a pink dress one size too small and felt like a giant piece of chewing gum. I wore navy blue when I was three months pregnant and spent most of that day, a very hot August 1st finding places to vomit. I’ve worn red, light blue, more pink, and was quite satisfied to deliver every single one of those dresses to my local charity shop.
I have organized wedding showers with lingerie themes, wine themes, and a traditional shower with over 200 people and more potato salad than a mid-west hoe-down. I have obeyed the bride to be and taken them to their first ever strip joint – with the end result being that I now have seen more paid-homosexual-dancers be spanked by my married girlfriends than anyone should ever have to witness. “Oh, if Dave EVER found out…tee-hee-hee,” one of my friends said teetering inebriatedly on her stiletto heels after an hour in the VIP lounge spanking some Asian guy named Gary. “Holy cow woman!” I thought to myself, ” After what I just saw you do in there, don’t tell me you just lay on your back, put your heels in the air and do if for the flipping queen with poor old Dave!” And my friends wonder why I’ve been to therapy.
I have had to save money for an entire year to afford a flight, a dress, a gift, a shower gift, my satin shoes dyed (thank the good lord that trend is over everywhere but Redneckville), a hotel room and spending money. I have had to buy super-duper-suck’em in underwear for weddings to make the dress look decent, and masses of silky stockings. I have had the night-before-the-wedding-I’m-scared-shitless-to-do-this talk, at least a dozen times.
Everyone who knows me well enough to ask me to stand in their wedding knows me well enough to know I fly solo. Unless someone ‘puts a ring on it’, I will not be taking a date to a wedding. If I’ve had to buy the ugly dress, wear it in public, and spend a small fortune to send my pals off in style, I want one hell of a party at the end of it all, and I don’t want someone I’m not committed to dependent on me for a good time.
Since my marriage biodegraded, I have only ever had wedding talk with one man, and we were pretty clear about the simplicity of it all. We knew where, what time of day, what we would eat, the music we’d like, and the general ‘atmosphere’ we wanted. In the end, I decided that a wedding wasn’t such a bad thing, it was the forever and ever that made me sweaty and shifty, just like sitting in a sweltering country church in mid-July.
Times they are a’changin’ though. My friends are at an age where weddings don’t take on a life of their own, the relationship does. Despite my little rant about being a bridesmaid, I love very simple weddings, because I think they represent simple relationships, and in my experience, simple relationships are the strongest. It shouldn’t be that hard to meet someone and treat them the way you wish to be treated.
So, here’s to the wedding season – ugly dresses, neurotic brides and single bridesmaids pining for a groom; old churches with no air-conditioning, and my personal favourite – vocal soloists. The piece de resistance and icon of everything that is tacky.
Sacred marriage vows be damned! Nowadays it’s all about the ‘wedding’. Someone please bring me more champagne, and that man, yes, that one over there…..