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.
And
And
And…

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?

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

7 Comments »

  1. OK – you win. That’s… wow. WOW. Holy hell. I know a bride who incorporated a bellydance performance into her wedding – as in, she did a bellydance – and I thought that was a wee bit strange. AND THAT WAS ONE PERFORMANCE NOT ALL OF THEM OH GOD.

    A bellydancing bride is quirky, for sure. I hope she saved a dance of the seven veils performance for her lucky groom later that evening! 😉

    I win only because I’m older than you. With a few more years (decades?) behind you, you will definitely have an equally awful wedding story to tell. Not that that’s exactly something to look forward to, I know…

    Comment by Hannah | August 23, 2012 | Reply

  2. SO…. you’re saying you did NOT have a good time at MY wedding?!?

    Haha, Just Kidding!! :o) That sounds completely awful!

    If I thought you were anywhere near old enough, I’d be worried, but I suspect you were in grade school at best when this wedding happened!

    Comment by abbystrand@hotmail.com | August 23, 2012 | Reply

  3. I think the couple whose wedding you describe has Australian cousins. I went to a wedding with lots of similarities last year. No booze, no dancing – both of which I’m ok with, but terrible, terrible family entertainment that went on, and on and on.

    Guests helped with the catering, which I’m also ok with. What I’m not ok with is that I bought the couple, who don’t have much money at their disposal, an expensive wedding gift and have not received a thank you. No thank you for the effort in preparing food, helping set up, buying said expensive gift. I have however received an invitation to their baby shower, accompanied by an expensive list of wants. Golly gosh, sadly I was busy that afternoon!

    Comment by Ali | August 24, 2012 | Reply

  4. Best wedding by far – Bride from Transylvania (aka old country), Groom from west Texas – ceremony in Van Can. Romanian Orthodox wedding (short version = 1.5 hrs and the bride fought for that). No idea what was going on but they served chocolate candy during the ceremony, we queued our standing/sitting off the little old ladies up front who show to all events at the church and you’d better feed them, the bride/groom had crowns at one point. The priest spoke in broken english but got really excited/loud/clear in his homily about ACTIVE LISTENING oh and babies, babies, babies. We didn’t loose it but came really close. Then the Romanians proceeded to drink us under the table at the reception. My Big Fat Greek Wedding pales in comparison to that wedding.

    Worst wedding – Total shotgun wedding. As in found out they were pregnant on a Tuesday, church was scheduled by Friday for Saturday after that. It was the most uncomfortable wedding I’ve ever been too. They just looked so shell shocked and railroaded.

    Weirdest – I got mentioned in the Maid of honor speech about how the bride waited for the groom to be out of relationship (mine and groom’s) when they met. They didn’t. Like at all. I’d moved on so it was fine with me (she could have him) but we still had a lot of friends in common and I had no ill will, so I got an invite. Needless to say the groom’s/I’s friends laughed about that one.

    Fire dancers, swing dancing lessons, photo booths with silly props are all pretty common in our circle for weddings now.

    Comment by RHCD | August 24, 2012 | Reply

  5. WOW. That is awful.

    We had four speeches at our wedding, which occurred between food courses. All of them were under 5 minutes except for my father in law`s speech which will live in infamy forever, because the poor nervous man starting talking about all `the alcoholism`and `the gambling`in his family. My husband spent all of his time at my family bbq the next day desperately explaining to my mother`s side of the family that he had ONE great grandfather who was a gambler, and ONE great uncle who was an acoholic.

    Comment by IfByYes | August 24, 2012 | Reply

  6. One post-wedding reception we attended had a long hallway leading to the venue itself. In said hallway was a videographer, who invited each person traversing the hallway to record a message for the bride and groom. Fine and good, whatever, blather something for the happy couple to view later, and continue on to the reception space. WHERE YOU SEE THE LIVE FEED OF THE HALLWAY VIDEO UNDERTAKING PLAYING IN GIANT SIZE ON THE WALL! Panic, try to reassure yourself and your companion(s) that you didn’t say anything too stupid, then watch as repeated attendees make a similar horrifying discovery every time one enters the main room. Awful idea, simply awful!

    It would have been nice for someone to have given you the heads-up. I wonder if it just didn’t occur to them that people would find it embarrassing, or if they wanted the candid nature of the clips … or if, more deviously, they knew some people would refuse to be recorded if they knew? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they’re a gregarious, out-going couple who would love it for themselves, and thus had no idea other people might respond differently!

    Comment by MsHuisHerself | August 26, 2012 | Reply


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