It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Weddings, Wonderful and Weird

Hannah wrote about a wedding she attended recently, so of course I started thinking about Weddings I Have Attended. There have been lovely weddings, silly weddings, joyful weddings, supremely touching weddings, and just plain odd weddings.

All weddings are joyful, but the wedding of two lovely young women who, until the previous year, had been excluded from even the possibility of a wedding? That one had a level of exuberance that topped any other wedding I’d ever been to. Wonderful.

All weddings are touching, but the 50-something friend who had long since accepted (reluctantly at first, then with perfect contentment) that marriage was not going to be part of her life? Her groom gave the most touching speech expressing profound gratitude, and not a little joyful surprise, that she had given up her happy and well-established single state to welcome into her life. Touching times ten. *sniff*

And then there were the receptions. Long and short, fun and tedious, joyful and just plain embarrassing.

The worst reception I ever attended was almost 27 years ago now. I know, because I was pregnant with my first child at the time. The wedding itself was lovely, just as wedding should be (and usually are). Things started to fall apart when the reception started quite late. No one ever found out why, since the wedding-party pictures had been taken the day before. (Really. They all got together and staged those pictures. The photographer attended the first bit of the reception to get candid photos of friends and family, but there were no posed pictures of bride and groom with their parents, etc. Which, in hindsight, was also weird, though I didn’t think about it at the time. The bridal couple had good relationships with their parents. There were no estrangements to account for it. At least, there weren’t until then…)

So. It started late as I said, at least an hour, maybe two. The reception itself lasted a mere four hours, short by the usual dinner/speeches/toasts/dance standards … until you realize there was no dance. This reception was four hours of speeches.

And toasts.
And skits, put on by friends and family. Many, many skits.
And songs sung by nieces and nephews.
And musical performances by all manner of friends and family on all manner of instruments.
And jokes told by an aspiring stand-up comic friend.
And a 12-year-old (was he a cousin of the bride?) magician.

Hour after hour.

I kid you not.

Though the master of ceremonies knew who to call next, there was no programme for the rest of us. There was no list. No count-down. No possibility of knowing WHEN WAS IT GOING TO END? With each new act, our hopes would rise. Is this the last? Surely it can’t go on? Only do be dashed again, when the MC would introduce the next happy performer.

Until finally, we all believed, No, it was NEVER GOING TO END. Never, ever.

It is relevant to note that, with the sole exception of the uncle of the bride, who gave an extremely funny and, bless him to bits, SHORT, speech, not one of all those entertainers was particularly talented at whatever they were doing. In fact, some went so far as to be anti-talented.

It was three hours into this never-ending stream of vaudeville wannabes, when a sister of the bride and the bride’s (adorable) 4-year-old niece began a rousing mother-daughter rendition of “There’s a Hole in my Bucket” that I realized I had to leave. Had to, before I burst out into incredulous laughter or cries of outrage. Or just started sobbing into my drink. (My drink of water. This was a ‘dry’ event. Not content with boring their loyal and captive audience to catatonia, someone had made the decision that we should suffer all this without the gentle numbing comfort of booze.)

But, oh HURRAH!!!, I was pregnant at the time. (So no alcohol for me anyway, but it did seem a tad harsh on everyone else.) Pregnancy may be a pain for some things (as in no drinks when so supremely desirable) but it is a pretty near infallible get-out-of-stupid-shit-free card. I claimed … something. Fatigue? Backache? Sciatica? Can’t remember. Whatever, I claimed it, quite possibly limped pathetically over to the head table. We made our so-regretful apologies and got our bored witless selves out of there. If a few people stared at my waddling backside with murderous envy? Oh, well.

We were told later that it had gone on for another hour.

I have no idea what the bride and groom were thinking, turning a wedding reception into an Open Mic Vaudeville Event. It was many years ago, and we’ve long since lost touch, but in all the intervening years, never has a reception topped that in Weird and Tedious Beyond Imagining. Thank goodness.

How about you? Any weird (or wonderful) weddings in your memory?

August 23, 2012 Posted by | Mischief, quirks and quirkiness, random and odd | 7 Comments