I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone that my views on marriage are … ever so slightly against the grain.
Especially when it comes to weddings.
They are such elaborate undertakings aren’t they?
From the dress, to the upholstery, the entire process is painstakingly detailed oriented.
As an aspiring event planner, weddings are the one event that I avoid. It’s too time-consuming, too minute and depends so much on the client. A relaxed bride is just as annoying as a stressed groom. Both have their follies that I cannot be bothered with.
Let’s not forget, the entire concept of “buck/hen” nights, which in itself are contradictions because …. you weren’t single for a long time anyway, hence you’re getting married? So why celebrate some supposed night pretending you are “single”?
But I want to touch on an experience, that not many people consider when it comes to weddings.
What is it like to attend a wedding, as an event-goer?
A humble guest, who RSVP’ed, slapped on some formal wear and have no active role to play in the proceedings.
What is it like for them?
If you had asked me as a child, when my father was a more prominent figure in our community, and thus was invited left, right and centre for weddings, I would succinctly answer:
So what is it like as an adult?
Perhaps one of the most selfish milestones ever designed, I’ve always found weddings to be incredibly over-rated as an event. They are so solely focused on the couple, that I find it difficult to enjoy them.
After all, you just sit in your chair for hours, listen to bad speeches, fake laugh at inside jokes you don’t understand, stuff your face with food, smile awkwardly for the photographer, then drink cheap beer casually before heading to the dance floor, where you’ll regret it instantly when you hear the bad karaoke and at that moment you’ll choose to drive home.
Going to a club, would be a better use of time. At least the strangers there are more scantily-clad, the drinks are more potent and there’s probably better music.
In my short lifetime, I know that I’ve attended at least 20 weddings. Only 3 of them, I knew the bride and groom and even then, I wasn’t particularly interested.
Out of the 20 I’ve attended, the only one that stuck out to me, was during my VCE years, where I actually studied for a test, right in front of the bridal table. The whole night was a blur, but I remember she was moderately attractive enough, that I kept wondering why she was looking at me.
Until it hit me, all my giant textbooks were on the table and it wasn’t hard to see some dumb, young man flipping through pages and taking notes, when everyone else was staring at the Best Man making a speech.
Some vibe huh?
So whilst I sat there, eating my meal, toasting this, cheering that and clapping politely at the dancing, I would run through a hundred weird thoughts about this whole occasion.
Allow me to list some of them here:
- I wonder how he proposed to her?
- Man, they really cheaped out on this catering.
- What the hell am I doing here?
- Why is the bridesmaid so angry?
- Is it her ugly purple dress?
- That looks bloody uncomfortable. Yep. She’s adjusting it a lot.
- They’re gonna have sex tonight …. aren’t they.
- I wonder how many kids they want?
- Another fucking toast to their marriage
- The Dad is talking in Vietnamese … great. Where’s my translator?
- Oh, the other Dad is yapping in Chinese. Great. Where’s my translator?
- These two families look like they hate each other
- The jug of Coke is empty. Great. I can only drink stale Sprite now.
- When is this going to be over?
- Fuck. I knew I should have bought my Alex Rider book.
- No, that’s too short. I should have bought Shogun. That James Clavell book is probably the only one that will last the length of this wedding
- When are they going to dance? I want to get out and breathe some fresh air.
- It’s so stuffy in here.
- They’re gonna have sex tonight … man, that’s so weird.
- Another speech? Really?
- Why are all the groom boys so rowdy and can’t shut the hell up?
- Who are all these people on my goddamn table?
- Who is the most attractive one here?
- No one. No one is attractive on this damn table.
- No … No, don’t sing boys. Oh for fuck’s sake. Please stop with the Hotel California song.
- Why am I wearing my blazer. Why did I choose to be uncomfortable?
- Jesus …. that lobster looks disgusting. Waiter please …. not too much ….
- Ah crap. You just piled all that goop into my bowl.
- Guess I’m gonna politely eat this. And by politely, do my best not to vomit.
- They’re coming around now …. along with that infernal photographer.
- She looks like she hates taking photos of everyone. I bet she’s gonna charge any idiot that want to commemorate this farce, 30 bucks for one lousy shot.
- I wish I was younger, my brother and I would be at the carpark, playing handball right now.
- Look at them, I don’t want to imagine them naked. But they’re having sex tonight. I just know it.
- Why didn’t I bring a damn book!?!?
- How long has it been? Fuck! Only 1 hour?!?!
- Why don’t I have my own car yet? I could sneak out that fire escape and drive home right now.
- Do they REALLY have to play music this loud?
- I swear that the in-law Dad’s fifth beer.
- Yep. He’s drunk.
- I’m here, for the next 2 hours. God help me.
- I really do not want to eat any more lobster.
- I can’t believe I’m wasting 3 hours of my life, surrounded by strangers, watching two families get drunker by the minute, imagining two random people having sex and feeling queasy about their honeymoon.
- Where is he even going to take her?
- Ah fuck. That double entendre.
- I wonder how long they’ll last?
- The bride looks so aloof. I suppose I would be too if I was married to that guy.
- No offence husband, but your weight isn’t great.
- Finally they’re dancing … I can make my escape now.
- Nope. No one else is getting up to dance. Shit.
- How many courses left on this menu? Too goddamn many, that’s what.
- This reception is really in the arse-end of nowhere. The drive home is going to be annoying.
- Out of all the bridesmaids, who is the least uncomfortable at the moment?
- The answer is none. They’re all fidgeting with their dresses.
- I still cannot believe these two are going to have sex tonight.
That is the surreal nature of weddings summed up in my mind.
The couple in question, have gathered approximately 100-200 people to let them know that they’re likely to have sex that night, in hopes of producing a baby.
I’m joking of course, but you can’t deny it’s not a key part of the proceedings.
Of course, it’s not just that, that makes attending weddings surreal.
Another strange factor is acknowledging just how many people know the bride/groom. Even if I had a personal friendship with the bride, let’s say, it is strange to be surrounded by their many circle of friends, strangers whom I’ve only briefly interacted with at birthdays or seen in passing.
But now I’m forced to sit next to these guests and make idle small talk for the next three hours.
Hi, I’m Damocles. So how do you know ______?
Another strange element, is seeing the emotional range that everyone must go through, with speeches, toasts and various congratulatory compliments.
It all seems remarkably manufactured and oddly private, something that us guests should not be privy to. A speech by a taciturn father is often more powerful in an intimate setting than a room full of 200 randoms. The toasting is often better when you are just with your bridesmaids at a bar, instead of a reception hall.
In addition, the poor couple have to greet and meet every single person they’ve invited. Surely, you can only hear so many “congratulations!” before it becomes stale by the 49th person who’ve said it.
But, in all honesty, the most surreal part of a wedding, is how incredibly strange it is for me, as an highly observant individual, seeing all types of people exhibit all sorts of strange behaviour at a wedding and me sitting there, bored out of my mind.
The problem is inherent within the wedding planning. There’s nothing for me to do, except wait in line, until the bride and groom come around and engage me briefly for 2 minutes, before moving around the table.
It’s the lack of agency that frustrates me. I don’t like letting someone else control my time. If I despise a revolving door for wasting 3-4 seconds of my life, imagine then how I feel, being unstimulated for 3 hours, in clothes I’d rather not wear, and surrounded by people I’d rather not talk to.
It’s incredible that no one has really considered this, when planning a wedding. What the hell are the guests going to do for the whole narcissistic ordeal?
Here are some fun ideas, that should be incorporated into all wedding plans from now on, purely for the guests’ sake.
- Wedding themed icebreakers (are you with the bride or the groom?)
- Easter Egg Hunt (hide clues, and lead the way to some type of treasure.)
- Board Games (what better way to unite a table of strangers than fun board games?)
- Dart Board (for anyone who is bored)
- Drinking Game Station (university throwback and a much better way than drinking cheap beer on its own)
- Bride/Groom Trivia (the more embarrassing the better)
- Proper Photo Booths (with enough appropriate masks, eyewear, hats to match the formal wear)
- Shooting Range (Nerf or otherwise)
- A Wheel. Complete with dares, trivia, and other questions
- Toast Bingo (for all the incredible cliches that are going to be heard)
- Hot Ones interview with the Bride and Groom. (Loser who can’t answer the questions cannot have any milk/water)
After all, if you are going to attend an event, for goodness’ sake, it better be a good one.
If you’re going to invite 100+ people to an event, please give them something to do other than sit at a table with strangers and eat your food.
Otherwise the whole thing is just some surrealist, narcissistic nightmare that honestly, shouldn’t have to be that way.
It’ll also help people forget that the bride and groom are going to do the nasty that very night too.
Weddings are an event. Let’s make them a proper one, instead of some party.