The New Entertainment

Weddings used to be about two people getting married, for better or worse–although the “worse” was not particularly emphasized on the wedding day.

A recent topic on one of the morning news shows was “How to Plan a Destination Wedding”–which had to do with pretty much everything other than the wedding itself. Basically it was “How to Keep Your Wedding Guests Entertained for Three Days”–three days?? Weddings are not just weddings anymore.

They were talking golf tournaments, tennis tournaments, sightseeing tours, shopping excursions, hot air balloon rides, donkey rides (if Greece was the destination), and themed gourmet meals. The event of ‘the marriage’—ostensibly the reason for the gathering–was not even mentioned, so of course I wondered if that ever took place or if it got lost got in the shuffle of entertainment options. And anyway, who was paying for all of this entertainment extravaganza, I wondered.

I got married once, but in the dark ages, when all there was a ceremony and a 2-hour reception–not much entertainment there, especially since my wedding took place early in the morning and at the reception what would have been lunch was a late morning brunch–not exactly a time that inspires dancing, which was fine with me. (Had my mother had no influence over the proceedings, it would just have been cake and strawberries on the church lawn before a quick trip to the airport. I have minimalist tendencies when it comes to ceremonies.)

Even with nothing going on but the wedding and the brunch, I had more than enough logistics to keep my brain busy for months prior to the day. I remember lying awake the night before, going over lists in my mind of what needed doing or who needed to be told what at the last minute. And I wasn’t dealing with myriad sporting events, treasure hunts, and luaus on the beach to keep the guests amused while I tore my hair out as I waited to get out of there and on with my life.

Perhaps my attitude was in need of adjustment. Perhaps I didn’t understand what a wedding was supposed to be. That must have been part of it, but the rest was that then, a wedding was about having a straight forward ceremony to essentially get a contract signed between two people, followed by a short celebration that did not necessarily include a full meal, an open bar, or a roomful of dancing people.

So, after the shock of what planning a destination wedding now entails, I found out that the other in-thing, again to add to the entertainment value of the day, is for the bride and groom to perform a choreographed and heavily rehearsed first dance. And yes, they hire a professional choreographer, and yes, they rehearse as if they were the opening act for the New York City Ballet, and yes, the dance comes complete with twists and twirls, and even lifts. Sounds pretty chancy to me. I’m also trying to think if I know any men who would subject themselves to this kind of display. I can honestly say, I don’t.

But obviously I don’t know everyone, because apparently these wedding dance choreographers have thriving businesses. Who would have guessed?

Here’s what I think, having had a limited happily-ever-after to that first wedding I had. If I were to go the marriage route again, it would be an oh-so-simple non-affair–with no entertainment. (I am so not with it.)

No lists, no rehearsals, no dance performance…maybe even no guests, or if there were, only as many as would fit comfortably around one medium-sized dinner table.

However, before I get too into arranging that, I’d better go find the other half of the wedding party. That will keep me occupied, and possibly entertained, for longer than I have time to think about.

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