Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm Marrying the Sea

Yet another member of my high school class is getting married. This time, the nuptials will take place at a posh, Caucasian country club in northern NJ, a locale almost offensive in its obviousness: of course you’d get married there. It’s gorgeous, convenient, and innocuously unmemorable, which seem to be the three pertinent wedding venue criteria in 2007. These days, the only way to gauge a wedding’s efficacy is to review, in retrospect, how many negatives were averted. Did anyone die? Did anyone get hurt? Was anyone unexpectedly offended? Did the bride/groom get lost on the way? If not, the ceremony was a success. The industry has fashioned itself in such a way that its cardinal concerns are warding off worst-case scenarios and preemptively thwarting disasters. Weddings have become restrained, uncreative celebrations. People put more thought into what color their cars will be than how to best exemplify the uniqueness that delivered a particular couple to eternal companionship.

The problem is not that people don’t believe in relationships; all it takes is one family dinner to disprove that notion. Furthermore, it’s not that people have stopped paying for weddings—nuptials are just as expensive as ever, and the prohibitive costs never seem to stop anybody. Rather, it’s as if, after spending tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours planning every meticulous detail, the planners stop short of addressing the larger picture. Things like how the ceremony might reflect the couples’ personality, or how to keep the guests from masturbating in the bathroom to pass the time, or how to make sure slightly underage kids can procure alcohol—things that are fun, if not necessarily related to dresses and flowers, fall by the wayside.

What’s left, typically, is a corporate event. Scrupulously planned, punctiliously discharged, and flawlessly executed, yet somewhat lacking for spirit. And spontaneity. And pretty much everything else that people envision when they open a close friend’s wedding invitation. It’s absurd that most weddings are more socially uncomfortable than a Hezbollah interrogation room. Even the "free food and booze" rationale loses its charm when those items come wrapped in such an unappealing package.

We have to revamp weddings (and corporate events). We have to merge the bachelor party with the wedding itself. We have to drink a little more. We have to stop giving such a shit. We have to reward the bride and groom for putting up with overbearing parents and hectic schedules. We have to entertain ourselves. We have to transform wedding ceremonies into events at least as engaging as watching TV. We have to curse out loud, cry in front of strangers, burn the tablecloths, and steal silverware. We have to act like Generation X’ers who just listened to “Nevermind” for the first time.

If we don’t, we’ll only have ourselves to blame. And to touch in the bathroom.

Stay Snooty, Country Club
MC Men’s Room

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