Wherever you went in June you saw brides billowing like wind-tossed roses. You saw grooms too, standing a little behind them and looking like they’ve just had the skin sanded off their faces. Ah, weddings are a great invention. I love everything about them: the public witness, the pomp, the fruit cup…
When I was a bride, I wore my hair off my face with fake sideburns dripping down and looked like Elvis circa 1978. My groom, for his part, had enough hair on his head to stuff a sofa with. And a wedding wasn’t a wedding in those days unless one of the guests showed up in dressed like Mork from Ork, and the services were filled with vows not to obey the other guy or tamper with his karma in any way.
These days many bridegrooms are back in top hats. Many brides march down the aisle strapless, with almost no fabric above the waist but plenty trailing behind. They arrive in rented Rollses or horse and-buggy contraptions. They’d arrive go in Cinderella’s pumpkin if they could figure out how hire her fairy godmother.
So fashions change, and change again, and yet there are some things about a wedding that remain the same. You can mess with the style all you want – print the couple’s name on every square of paper goods in the restrooms – but all really good weddings are alike in that they have certain key elements in common:
- First, hordes of relatives who can be counted on to provide noise, a sense of history and sometimes-iffy behavior.
- Second, sufficient libation.
- Third, plenty to eat. No one ever had fun at a wedding with a melon ball on a toothpick or some Cheez Whiz smeared across a Ritz. What you need is hearty food and plenty of it. I attended one wedding where the portions of Veal Parmigiana were so huge that the guests were encouraged to scoop whole platters of what they couldn’t finish into doggy bags provided by the waiters. And that was just the first course.
- Fourth, music of a kind all generations can enjoy. The success of the day is guaranteed if a person 90 can be talked into dancing a hora, jig or tarantella.
- And last but not least, sobbing at reception’s end. An especially nice touch is added if the bride is one of the sobbers. I know I sobbed myself, bidding farewell to my childhood home and foolish hijinks and meals cooked by people that weren’t me. It heightens the sense of drama to have waterworks like this, strikes the older folks as hilarious, and provides everyone with a dandy catharsis.
That about covers it, I think. A wedding with any three of these key components is sure to succeed for the couple. A wedding with all six will fortify them for years. Some nights I still pull out my Elvis wig and we relive the day all over again. :-)