If you believe the photos in bridal magazines, weddings are heavenly events where good-looking, smartly dressed people gather to watch a beautiful couple, wearing couture, declare their undying love. The decorations are stunning; the aisle is drenched in flowers. The faces of the guests are jovial. No one is fighting. No one is complaining about the food. No one is judging the wedding colors. Nobody is holding their own weddings as the standard-bearers for how all other weddings should be.
This glossy world presented to us in magazines is far, far away from the reality of modern weddings.
There is a show on the TLC network called Four Weddings. The premise is that four brides attend each other’s weddings, and score the food, venue, dress, and overall experience on a scale from one to ten. The bride with the highest score wins a free honeymoon.
It is deflating to watch this show. It suggests that the guests at my wedding will not be enjoying the afterglow of my vows, but will instead be evaluating each detail of the day for shortcomings, deducting from my point total as though they are an Olympic judge watching the high bar competition.
On the wedding day, I hope I don’t face plant into the mat. I also hope my judges are generous.
Some suggestions, from a bride to her guests, on how to keep the spirit of the wedding congratulatory, not critical:
- The ceremony will be as long as it needs to be. Sometimes this means the whole thing takes 10 minutes. Sometimes this means a full Catholic mass. We brides know that by the time we reach our I-dos, you’re sitting in the pews, dreaming of warm mini-quiches and a stiff drink. If the thought of a lengthy homily makes you want to groan, I suggest bringing a pre-ceremony snack. Maybe some yummy and energy-packed dried fruit from Nourish Market—just please nosh before we walk down the aisle! You’re at a wedding, not the multiplex.
- Bring on the layers, and I don’t just mean on the cake. My wedding is four weeks away, and I’m already checking the weather forecast. I’m hoping for partly sunny, high 70s. Will I get that? Probably not. I can’t adjust my outfit, but you can. I love Madewell in Tyson’s Corner’s selection of lovely and whimsical scarves that are practical for hot days (keeping sun off shoulders) as well as chillier evenings.
- Be ready to kick it. When the dance floor opens after dinner, I hope my guests are ready to boogie. Stewart Weitzman has managed to create cute evening shoes with sensible heels. Perfection!
Happy guests mean happy wedding. So please, leave your scoring sheet at home and enjoy! And I’m the bride, so you have to do what I say. Just kidding! (Or not.)