Saturday, October 10

Lesson #4 - Weddings (In Any Form) Are NOT For The Faint Of Heart

Let me first start by clarifying something. By "in any form" I do mean any form. This includes (but is not limited to) the; engagement before, planning of, contacting of vendors for, paying for, being in, or attending of a wedding. When you really stop and think about ALL of the aspects involved - it is mind-boggling, I promise. Consider, for a minute, these fascinating - and (mostly) true - compared to those of the man and myself:

* The average engagement lasts 15 months in the US (ours was 3 months)
* An average couple will use 16 different vendors (we used 8)
* The most popular wedding month is June (ours was in January)
* A traditional American wedding costs about $22k (we spent about $10k)
* 99% of newlyweds choose to go on a honeymoon (we did not)

I say mostly true statistics for a number of reasons...the biggest being that wedding vendors don't like to divulge how much they ACTUALLY charge for their services. There are a lot of vendors - like photographers, videographers and tuxedo rentals (like Men's Warehouse) - who charge a set prices for the products or services they provide. There are even more vendors - like florists, reception locations and dress suppliers (like David's Bridal) - who charge a variable price. That is really what makes the planning of, contacting vendors for and paying for a wedding so stressful. The cost of flowers, for instance, varies from a $.30 per stem rose to a $5 per stem hydrangea and beyond.

The above statements only account for the stresses of the couple - and any other willing party helping to pay for the event. We then have those brave (or misdirected) souls who agree to be a part of the bridal party. Call them best friends, call them family, by golly you can even call them crazy, but don't - under any circumstance - call them sober. I'm not quite sure what it is about a rented tuxedo or a teal blue taffeta dress that SCREAMS "I need to be drunk"...ok, maybe I can see the connection, but it has happened at every wedding I have ever been to - the wedding of the man and myself was no exception.

One of the best men (they were all best men and maids/matrons of honor so we didn't have to choose a favorite) was selected by popular vote - really, he was forced by the other best men - to give a speech. Well, lets just say that he isn't much of a public speaker and alcohol really leaves something to be desired. While I'm sure it helped him get over his fear of crowds, the bulk of his speech consisted of, "I love you guys" and "I really love you guys." The rest of the drunken debauchery - people being flipped off their beds mid-sleep and paintings being knocked off walls - happened within the walls of individual hotel rooms...thank goodness! I'm sure, though, that when making reservations at another Marriott at any point in the future, the operator will hesitate a minute to read the note on my rewards account, "Beware - This rewards member has been known to associate with the following "unsavory" individuals: a minister who, in a drunken fit, added over $2k in damages to his final hotel bill; grown men who, in a semi-conscious state, were caught canoodling in the hotel lobby; and other various trouble-makers."

In all honesty, our wedding was peanuts compared to one I attended a few years back - strictly as a guest. I didn't even know the couple, but I went with a friend. The wedding was interesting from the beginning. The actual ceremony was held in the same space as the reception. While this isn't usually a problem, it becomes a problem when the table I am sitting at during your nuptials magically transforms by my turning 90 degrees to eat. It is boring and unimaginative...and I dislike it...a lot!! Besides that, the ceremony was beautiful...the couple wrote their own vows...parents and grandparents cried. Little did they know what was soon to come!!!

The groom's brother, who was the best man, also had claim to the aforementioned public speaking phobia. By the end of the ceremony it seemed as though he went from sober to completely, utterly, drop-your-pants-and-boxers-to-run-around-the-reception-hall wasted about as quickly as I can go from giggling to get-the-hell-out-of-my-way-if-you-want-to-live-to-see-your-next-birthday pissed during my happy time of the month. The entire shin-dig-turned into a train wreck in the blink of an eye...and I was happy to watch the pieces fall apart.

About the middle of the reception, the DJ gets on the mic and says, "it has come time for the groom's attendants to leave the room to get ready for their surprise" - oh lord!! Surprise, now, here, tonight?!?! Don't mind if I do...have any popcorn?? This, I knew, was going to be the BEST time for popcorn. Once the guys had left, the DJ then continued by asking for the bride's attendants to each get a chair and congregate in the center of the dance floor. At this point I just KNEW whatever was coming next was going to be good!! The bride's attendants then brought their significant others onto the dance floor and each one (the men) sat in a chair. Not more than 30 seconds after the guys sat down, the DJ started playing some raunchy go-go song. The guys who were, at this point, thinking "hell yeah...I'm gonna get a lap dance from my girl" soon changed their tune when the groom's attendants came into the room...wearing the worst looking clubbing clothes I have ever seen in my life. I can't even begin to describe the picture in enough detail to really convey what I saw - mostly because months of therapy has forced those pictures out of my mind. Lets just say that grandma almost had a heart attack.

When it came time for his speech, the best man couldn't even see straight! He was holding a bottle of Jack - with his name on it - in one hand and the mic in his other hand. I'm not sure if he didn't prepare a speech or if he just forgot what he was going to say...either way, no one could understand a damn word he was saying. Another groomsman walked up to the best man with some words written on a napkin...but he couldn't get through that either. So, reluctantly, the best man relegated his mic duties to the groomsman, who finished the speech for him. The best man then stormed out of the room slurring something and waiving his Jack bottle around his head like a lasso - thank goodness the cap was on.

Thankfully it soon came time to leave. My date wanted to say goodbye to the bride, since he was a friend from her side, so we scoured the hall for her. Wouldn't you know it - we found her at the bar!! After he hugged her and said his goodbyes, I just had to chime in...I couldn't help it!! I asked, with the most innocent face I could muster, "I loved that skit the guys did...was that something they came up with and what did they have to do to get you to agree to it?" Much to my dismay, her response was, "I'm so glad you liked it!!! It was MY idea!!" OH. DEAR. GOD!!!!

So, the lesson within the lesson is - it could ALWAYS be worse.


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