As June ushers in the wedding month in many countries, it was but apt that we would be invited to one last week. Over the years, weddings have become more and more like media events. With swarms of wedding coordinators and event planners doing business these days, the exchange of “I do’s” have certainly become more fashionable, more deliberate, more costly, and often more tedious, since they now take a year of planning at the very least.
Perhaps my notion of simple, elegant weddings just happens to be outdated and utterly boring. These days, when photos and videos of pre-wedding, during-wedding, and wedding reception pictures are flashed on big screens around a banquet hall or even on YouTube, it utterly makes my own wedding photos seem so outmoded and old-fashioned. Even more, perhaps the intentional flair and fanfare at weddings these days have become the norm for many celebrations.
Nowadays, from the moment the church doors are opened wide as the bride walks in alone, a break from the traditional bridal walk with the father, while the most poignant love song plays on, the drama is not lost on the wedding guest. In fact, the traditional wedding march hasn’t really been played at all lately.
The ceremony itself though isn’t the highlight for most weddings today. The production is even more scripted once the reception begins. Decades ago, the newlyweds would often be the first ones at the banquet hall, standing at the receiving line to welcome family and friends into the reception. It was the best chance for guests and loved ones to sincerely wish the couple well. Lately though, the bride and groom often arrive at the reception quite late—having spent an hour at a photo shoot after the church ceremony and barely get a chance to mingle with their guests. And so, most guests will have to find their way into the hall themselves.
And then, it has also become norm for the newlyweds to dance rather than walk into the reception hall—a feat that may be slightly embarrassing and awkward for grooms or brides who aren’t really very affable or naturally vivacious. So too, the traditional toasts and cake-cutting ceremonies depart from habit as these are now thrown in at the start of the reception. Even more amusing is that when the bouquet-throwing ritual is due, instead of scrambling to catch the garter or bridal bouquet, noticeably reluctant bachelors and single ladies would rather make a run for the nearest exit than to be the next betrothed.
It must be difficult for young couple these days to try and outdo concepts for weddings. Decades ago, there was never even a mention of a concept—often over-the-top, outlandish concepts that even outdo Disney fairy tale ones. For many young couples planning their nuptials, it may be well to bear in mind that the most memorable weddings will be those that truly reflect the couple’s inherent personalities and the graceful presence of people who matter to them. Even more, the wedding ceremony and your wedding vows ought to be the most significant memories you will have of your wedding day—memories that only you as a couple would have truly shared.
Weddings need not all be that contrived. Sometimes, the spontaneity of howls and laughter from friends and family in conversation is what makes weddings a real celebration. Then too, little flower girls and ring bearers running around the banquet in their formal gowns and Barong Tagalog, the slightly tipsy best man fumbling with his own speech, or the inevitable moving and emotional toast of the bride’s father are often the best, unpredictable and unscripted moments in perfect weddings. Finding the balance between the scripted and the unrehearsed, and drawing out the natural candor and raucous cheerfulness of family and friends gathered together are what will make a perfect wedding after all.