I rounded off my road trip last week with a little stop by Minnesota for a family wedding. I learned a very valuable lesson while I was there, which I’d like to share with you. Here it is in a nutshell:
Never, ever, ever go to a large family function where you are a peripheral guest without your own transportation. Don’t do it.
Now, that out of the way, I’d like to share with you the list of Wedding Don’ts I’ve compiled over the last five or six years of wedding attendance. Some of these may be personal preference, but I’m convinced I’ve stumbled upon a few universal truths.
1. The Ceremony
I find humor generally distasteful during the talk that the pastor/judge/whoever gives, and that is a personal preference. I think this comes from the fact that the speaker doesn’t usually know the couple well enough to be as funny as he thinks he’s being. But here is the line I draw between tackiness and total tastelessness: Do NOT joke about the couple’s bad habits or bodily functions. I do not want to hear about Billy Bob’s tendency to get pulled over for speeding or Sally Mae’s morning breath. Yuck.
But far, far more important than that: Do NOT talk about divorce during the wedding talk. Yes, divorce statistics are sobering, and yes, we hope this couple will defy the odds… but why make us think about it? This is a happy occasion to celebrate a union, not to induce people into taking bets about how long it will last.
2. Dress Code
I think brides who choose giant, formal wedding dresses for outdoor weddings are funny, but that isn’t the worst offense. The worst is the bride who has seven attendants and forces them all to wear the same dress. Skinny girls, fat girls, pregnant girls, old girls, all wearing the same clingy pink number that shows far too much cleavage on one, and the painful lack of cleavage on another, etc. It is cruel.
3. Glass Clinking
It’s a tradition as old and annoying as time, and I’d be kidding myself if I thought it could be stopped. But I’ve recently seen a twist on the theme that crosses the border of annoying into the land of “I’m gonna kill that guy with the spoon!” Every time glasses were clinked, another couple first had to stand and kiss, giving the bride and groom a standard they had to exceed. This created more episodes of glass clinking than I’ve ever seen at a wedding before, and some rather vulgar displays of affection as couples tried to one-up each other. Dood. Get a room.
4. The Slide Show
These have become more popular lately. I had one at my own wedding, and I thought it was fabulous. The slides show pictures of the wedding couple starting from infancy, up until the time of the wedding. Everyone “ooh” and “aah”s, the parents of the couple cry, and the couple has a nice souvenir. Here’s the Don’t: Don’t include pictures with old boyfriend/girlfriends. Not even if they’re still friends.
5. Open Bar, Open Mike
This is my very favorite, and it’s a mistake I actually hope people make, because it makes the reception SO much more interesting. Open bars are dangerous for any number of reasons, but much more so if you’re going to let anyone who wants to give a speech. Remember the Wedding Singer? Uh huh. A lot like that. I think I need to give a couple examples to make my point:
From a bridesmaid (imagine the crying starting about three sentences in):
I just want to say that Sally Mae is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known. She’s smart, and funny, and she was my friend when no one else wanted to be. She was the only one who stuck with me when Biff was being so awful, and that one time he tried to break in, she was right there with me and told him she’d call the cops and she even DID it, I can’t believe she’s so brave! And I think it’s so great that she and Billy Bob are getting married because I can’t think of anyone who deserves a better person. I mean, I do. I deserve way better than Biff, but since he left me knocked up I guess I can see why no one is interested. But anyway, Sally Mae is my best friend, and – sorry, I’m only crying because I’m so happy – I’m going to miss her so much, but she knows my living room floor is always available if she needs to get away!
From a groomsman (I can’t bring myself to color this with all the appropriate vulgarities, so fill in your own blanks):
Billy Bob is quite a man. From the very first panty raid we went on together, I knew there was no guy with more guts and more sex drive than Mr. Billy Bob, heh heh. But no, seriously, he’s a really great guy, and quite a catch. There was this one time we were at a party, and the chick he was with had WAY too many drinks, and soon enough she was barfing on these designer shoes she had? Well, gentleman that Billy Bob is, he got those shoes off her and held her hair while she puked for, like, the next two hours. Paid off for him too, if you know what I mean, heh heh. There weren’t too many chicks he didn’t know how to charm, so it’s about time Sally Mae pulled him back to earth. It’ll be good for him to have to stay inside the fence for awhile, though look out, Sally Mae! He’s always been a bit of a wild card… didn’t always know when to keep his hands off other people’s property. I mean, you’d think that he’d KNOW June Belle was dating his best friend, but I guess sometimes too many beers tend to fog a guys brain, huh Billy Bob? Uh, right. Anyway. Have a great life.
I’ve heard good ones from the parents of the wedding couple too. Who lets parents speak at these things? Many tears, much embarrassment for all.
6. Inappropriate Music
Here’s a list of inappropriate wedding songs I heard at a wedding a couple years back:
I’m A Wanderer
Leavin’ On A Jet Plane
Highway To Hell
Where Oh Where Could My Baby Be?
Oops I Did It Again
It had to be on purpose. You pay DJs to know better.
7. Sponge Cake
Cakes are a great place to trim wedding costs. If you’re on a tight budget, you can get a pretty, styrofoam cake with a single layer that is cuttable. You can then serve your guests a less expensive sheet cake and if you do it right, they’ll never know the difference. Here’s how to do it wrong: Cut your big, beautiful cake which looks like chocolately, moist, yummy goodness, then serve your guests pasty, white cake with the texture of a dried sponge while leaving the big, beautiful cake out for all to gaze upon. Boo!
So how about anyone else? Any other wedding Don’ts to share?