I like marriage. I like the idea of people gathering and sharing their love with friends and family. I'm just not crazy about weddings. If I wanted to stand around all day in uncomfortable clothes and tell people where to sit, I'd work for Delta.
Oh, I had a wedding years ago, but it wasn't exactly fairy-tale material. The whole thing probably cost $300 and had all the magic of an afternoon at the DMV. But here I am, many years later, engaged and contemplating it all over again. And I still don't get it.
There are so many things people do as part of their celebration that I simply don't understand. Why does the groom need a cake? The bride doesn't get a separate cake. If he's going to get a cake, I think everyone should get one. And why do we give people an opportunity to object? Why the hell did you come if you're just going to make trouble? Put my liquor down and get out. And what's with the "something borrowed, something blue" business? Why, because it rhymes? How about "something salty, something sweet, something sticky on your feet"? That rhymes, why don't we do that?
Of course, some things are more mystifying than others—here are my top five.
1. "ART" PHOTOGRAPHY
There you are, the two of you, floating in a wine glass for no discernible reason, or superimposed on a sunset, like a David Cassidy album. Why do people want pictures like this? It's just so dated and schlocky. I know what my ring looks like; do I really need a close-up of it floating over wet roses? Whenever I see a picture like this, I always imagine it shellacked and hanging over a water bed, next to a copy of "Desiderata."
I also really hate those artsy black and white shots with just one thing in color (like a boutonniere). I mean, is there anyone who can't do this at this point? Hell, my phone can do this. But wedding photographers really enjoy throwing in shots like these, and I have to believe it's because they're so bored they'll do anything to amuse themselves.
My friend's photographer did both of these—unasked—and handed in some winners. My favorite shot is of the bride in the bathroom putting makeup on. Everything is black and white except a bright yellow container of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes on the countertop. MEMORIES THAT LAST A LIFETIME.
2. BITCH-WIFE CAKE TOPPERS
Cake toppers are meant to be a representation of the bride and groom. The tradition of putting figures on top of cakes dates back to the 1890s, and has long been a way to show the closeness a couple feels on their wedding day.
So why in God's name would anyone want a cake topper of a bride holding her husband on a leash? I don't know, but I've seen it. I've also seen a groom with a ball and chain, a bride dragging her husband by the hair, and one particularly charming one of a bride holding her betrothed at gunpoint in front of the minister. Cute!
I'm sorry, but I don't understand why anyone would think it was funny to portray the bride as a scheming, conniving, domineering, controlling bitch. It just plays into all those sad old stereotypes about men not actually wanting to be married, and feeling trapped and emasculated. This is not something you want for your wedding day. It's really more suited to your 10th anniversary.
3. THE GARTER THING
Nothing makes me more uncomfortable at a wedding than the garter toss. Really, I get a little sweaty just thinking about it. There's just something so wrong about watching your little girl, or your sister, or worse—your mother—sitting in a chair while her new husband sticks his head under her dress and takes her garter off with his teeth. NO, NO, NO.
Now, I realize that the purpose of this tradition is to see which of the single men in attendance will catch the garter and be the next to marry. But the subtext here is that the groom is seeing his new wife's undergarments for the first time, and damn it, now you're picturing them having sex. Yes, you are, you know you are. And everyone is encouraging him, and he's making faces like; Look what I get later! And you're cheering like a bunch of idiots simply because it hasn't occurred to you exactly what you're cheering for—you're just drunk and they're playing "Disco Inferno," and that's good enough for you.
What makes this even weirder for me is the whole pantomime aspect. Chances are, the couple are already living together and have been having sex for quite some time. So all the winking and backslapping about The Big Night just adds another layer of "surreal" to the proceedings.
And if by some chance the bride actually is a virgin, well, God bless her. It will be hard to get the image of Grandma cheering out of her head when her husband takes off the other garter later on.
4. SHOVING CAKE IN EACH OTHER'S FACES
On a day when I've probably spent more time and money on makeup than any other day in my life, I would not welcome having cake smashed into my face. I can only imagine how happy I'd be after I wiped the frosting off and everyone saw my fish-white skin underneath. It would be like a scene from V, only not as funny.
I don't really understand why people think this is a cute thing to do. It seems very passive-aggressive—and I've actually seen it get out of hand a few times. Everyone is in such a heightened emotional state that playing pretend food fight seems very dangerous to me.
Personally, I think everyone should just put on protective gear, go outside, and have a paintball fight. That way you can be on the same team as your husband, and you can both pelt the hell out of your mother-in-law.
5. THE WHITE DRESS
- April Winchell has been a talk radio host, a sitcom writer, an advertising executive and the voice of hundreds of animated Disney characters. In October of 2009, she created the hit website Regretsy.com, which led to the publication of "Regretsy: Where DIY meets WTF" in April of 2010. Even though she has been writing professionally since 1989, she still finds talking about herself in the third person really uncomfortable.*