Since the thing to do at weddings is to ask the other guests (women) around you what kind of weddings they’ve dreamed up, I was asked often the other week at my cousin’s reception. I have to admit I could never give a satisfying answer. Truth is I don’t imagine a specific color or flower. I can’t decide on any type of gown, strapless or taffeta whatever. The venue— Jesus, I’m not even sure of the season. All I can think of with any amount of clarity are the vows. How me and the guy would look at each other. How’d they’d be mostly funny with a few moments of seriousness slipped in when all of a sudden, one of us would burp really loudly on accident—maybe fart—or the minister would trip and instinctually grab my boobs for stability and then my Nana would faint and let me explain.
My favorite part of weddings isn’t seeing the dress or the open bar (though I like that plenty). It’s certainly not the toasts – people honestly must come up with that completely wasted the night before, write it on napkins, and say, ‘Tis good enough. And no, 27 Dresses screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, the best part is not seeing the groom’s face when the bride walks down the aisle. Unless you’re in the front row, you’re not seeing anything but the love handles of the lady in front of you, let alone being able to appreciate the expression of pure love on that sucker’s face. My favorite part of weddings isn’t even the cake, and I spend about 75% of the ceremony guessing what kind of frosting it’s going to be wrapped in.
My favorite part of weddings is the fuck-ups.
It’s the little mishaps—amusing and cringe worthy alike—that happen along the way. It’s the moment when the microphones don’t work and you can’t hear any part of the vows, or when the mother of the bride stumbles a little down the aisle and the crowd collectively goes “Awahoo.” It’s when the flower girls keep stopping a quarter-way down the aisle to try to catch the petals they just threw in the air two seconds prior. It’s the absolutely adorable five-year-old who’s so bewildered he’s not the center of attention that he starts running around the altar, only pausing to wave flirtatiously at random guests before taking off again.
It’s when everyone takes off their shoes and the smell of feet is so strong, the petals of the centerpiece wilt a little. It’s the overcooked fish and the undercooked steak and the too many hugs. It’s the bad seating arrangements and the stale small talk over stale bread. It’s the mediocre cover band and somebody’s grandma yelling, “What the fuck is this song?” ‘cause she’s drank too much rum.
It’s not that I like to see a day or a dream or a vision ruined. I don’t take delight in the genesis of bridezillas. I simply believe that in these little mishaps, love resides—and so does life.
It’s how people burst out of conventions and ceremony (and sometimes dresses) because none of us can perform rites rightly. People weren’t meant for tucked-in shirts and intricate updos. We’re all frizzy waves and drunkenly swaying on too small dance floors. We’re all a well at least I know the chorus people, a well this person isn’t sitting down at the moment so yes I am taking their cake and hey some drunk person took your cake when you were in the bathroom I tried to stop them people.
We’re all fuck-ups.
And really if nothing else, weddings are just test drives for the real deal because life is nothing but an endless and completely un-romantic series of disasters. And if your partner can’t handle running out of champagne or serving the wrong hors d’oeuvres, then how in the world are they going to handle midnight diaper runs or a daughter who gets detention for sticking too many eraser heads down the ears of her 7th grade mortal enemy?
I think more than a celebration of love, weddings are a celebration of life and all the weird chaos that comes with it. It’s saying I do to mishaps, messy kitchens, and all the misadventures that life forgets to put on the menu, and who are we to object?