We need shorter weddings, longer receptionsPublished 1:05pm Saturday, April 30, 2011
Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster
I come from a family of interlopers. Wait, that’s not right. A family of elopers, we are elopers, my parents, my sisters and I. Perhaps that’s why I never developed a fondness for weddings, we didn’t have them. My friends dreamed about what their weddings would be like, but as a little girl I imagined actually being married. My fantasies were realistic. We would have matching motorcycles and live in a tree house.
To me, weddings are a little tedious, so you can imagine how much I’ve enjoyed the recent fever of royal wedding hype.
For one thing, I think if our Revolutionary War friends knew how fascinated we are with the monarchy, they’d drag us to the town square and put us in the stocks, but I also think the traditional wedding ceremony could use an update.
Couldn’t the wedding reception come before the ceremony? If the bride and groom are still pleasant after mingling both families with the “Chicken Dance” and too much alcohol, they are meant to be together and everyone should stumble over the church and make an honest couple of them.
Wedding vows are cluttered with redundancies. Even during my own vows it was tough for me not to stop in the middle and ask, “Didn’t we say the same thing three different ways? That’s just bad writing.”
We could trim off several minutes if somebody took a red pen to all that overstating the obvious. That would leave more time for the part that is criminally overlooked, the call for objections.
Personally, I want to know why the bride’s Aunt Josephine is crying and saying her rosary during the ceremony.
I want to know why the groom’s mother popped what looked like two Xanax before she entered the church.
If we gave these people a couple more minutes to work up their nerve, I bet we’d find out. It wouldn’t stop the wedding. It would just give it a nice dramatic arc, and you know it could use it.
If Harry had turned to Will and said, “Dude, don’t do it,” the whole abbey would have slid to the edge of their seats. Elton John’s head would have exploded and the Sultan of Brunei would have passed out.
My conscience has been heavy ever since the wedding of my best friend, Christina. I was the maid of honor, and I stepped out of her receiving line and went to the bar. I’d like to say I regret it, but I don’t.
Receiving lines are awful. This one was longer than Hands Across America. After the first 50 I was getting the itch to greet the guests doing my only two impressions, Katherine Hepburn and Christopher Walken, so I had to leave and the receiving line was better for it.
We wouldn’t have to have receiving lines if the wedding party lined up on one side of the aisle and the guests on the other, then passed each other lightly slapping palms and saying, “good game.” Message received, and it would take about 45 seconds.
The readings are often the best part of a wedding service, but once in a while I’d like to hear something other than Shakespeare or Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Why not mix it up? There is a great quote from that unappreciated gem of a Chinese horror flick, “Mr. Vampire” that asks, “Who would take a bride so shady?”
Sometimes that’s a valid question. Though on Friday it certainly was not.
I’m telling you it was insomnia that got me up at four in the morning to watch the royal wedding, and I wasn’t crying! I have allergies and somebody next door was chopping onions.
If I looked humbled by the unusual reverence to civility and ritual, I’m sure that was indigestion registering on my face. And if I trembled a bit at the Bishop of London’s profound words, it was probably because I drank too much coffee. None of these reactions could have been because the occasion was an event of taste and loveliness with every tradition serving its right and true purpose.
None of that affected me at all. Not me, I promise, now and forever, until death do us part.
Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at email@example.com, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at alexandrakloster.com.