My inspirations are almost always the same. It starts with a random tweet, a few Twitter exchanges, and a smashing idea for a post is born.
Here’s how it happened this time. I see a random conversation on Twitter. I jump in. I find an kindred spirit.
We started chatting back and forth about horror wedding stories. Not ours, but other weddings we have attended. At one point, we were convinced we had actually attended the same wedding. Not so. It just turns out there are that many bad wedding stories out there. And I thought now would be as good a time as any to rap about them.
I know that everyone had their own dreams, and their own style, and their own budget. I self-funded my wedding, It was a small (50 people), quaint (at a local historic chapel), and cheap (beer and wine only, heavy hors d’oeuvres).
Side note: I totally know how to spell hors d’oeuvres without even looking it up. It’s one of my gifts.
It was perfect for us. It was simple and elegant with only our closest family and friends. But apparently, not everybody feels the same way.
I remember attending a wedding with a friend of mine right after college. Two of his friends, college sweethearts, were getting married. The year must have been 1993 or so. I remember the bride wore a hat. You know what I’m talking about, right? Now, if you chose to wear a hat at your wedding, forgive me. But wedding hats were never cool even when they were in style in the 80s. I will admit to having liked the wedding headbands once upon a time. I’m old.
The wedding seemed right out of the “Cheesy Bride’s Guide to a Homemade Wedding.” First, the ceremony was outside. The folding chairs were lovely. I lost it, however, when they asked one of their engineering student friends to sing a solo. An electronic keyboard accompanied the falsetto rendition of Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer.” I felt very strongly that I was part of some big giant cliche.
We proceeded to the inside of the lodge-type building where the reception was being held. In half the room. Each table had a single carnation in the center. We were served the standard Ohio wedding fare buffet style: roast beef, green beans, mashed potatoes, ravioli. But at least there was alcohol. Sort of.
I wasn’t a sophisticated drinker and didn’t have high expectations. I was a little surprised to see homebrewed beer being served. I’m sure it was fine but got a little turned off by the duct taped beer tap on the mini keg. I skipped the beer and went for a super fancy drink. I ordered a white wine spritzer. The thought of that drink these days would make me gag but I thought it would be a nice, simple drink. However, the bartender looked at me with a blank stare and said, “What’s that?” I explained. White wine. Club soda. He learned something new that day.
I know I sound like a total snob now. It’s not that the wedding was good enough for me. It’s not that they didn’t spend enough money. I totally get budgets. I just thought it was cheesy. And better choices maybe could have been made.
Then I moved South. And I was excited to attend a real Southern wedding. I still imagined that North Carolina was filled with plantations and hoop dresses and people saying “Sho is fine, miss.” Maybe I watched too much Gone with the Wind.
This wedding was the wedding of Charlie and Amy. Two good ol’ Southern folks who knew how to laugh and have fun. They liked to shag (it’s a dance, people), go to the beach, drink beer, and listen to Jimmy Buffett. And I probably should have kept all of that in my mind when I was invited to their wedding.
It was held at the Elks Lodge. I don’t really know who the Elks are or what they do, but they sure have a boring building. But Charlie and Amy did it up nice. I had high expectations. They had a silver serving stand with a hot crab dip on display for the hors d’oeuvres. Yes, we were off to a good start.
Then I went to fetch myself a drink. I drank wine. My boyfriend ordered a beer. It was served in the bottled and wrapped with a beer koozie saying “Charlie & Amy forever.” I guess if you have to pick a functional wedding favor, they went with the one that just felt right.
Then on to a buffet dinner. I was excited (because food gets me excited). And then I picked up my paper plate and plastic utensils. I had hopes of what we were being served. I think it was Mexican. Yes, it’s a burrito! Filled with barbecue! And then all my hope and dreams of a luxurious meal were dashed.
I fully accept that a wedding does not make a marriage. In fact, the first wedding I mentioned ended in divorce. I’m pretty sure Charlie and Amy are out there still having a good time. And some of the most beautiful weddings I’ve been to are those of the most miserable couples I know. My wedding was perfect. For me. And my husband is still with me 10 years later. So we must have done something right.