Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wedding musings

  I have been going over in my head about the beautiful wedding I attended for my niece in Seattle.  And I wonder if you can have a great wedding and not have to spend lavishly.  And I wonder if this is every little girl's dream or just an American affectation.  And I wonder if we are all little girls with dreams even having "grown up".

Let me just say that the bride and groom of the wedding in Seattle are pretty amazing kids...the kind that don't want for a minute to sit on the sidelines.  They aim high to grab the brass ring of life and they maybe already have it.   Both are self motivated, accomplished, personable, smart and fun to be around.  It helps that they are not ugly. It helps that they are both thoughtful. They have already, through the years (almost 30) and 6 together, formed a pretty impressive team as a couple and this was their wedding the way they dreamed it to go.

The wedding weekend itself was a ballet of planning and execution.  Now I know something about mounting an exhibition but a wedding like this one with over 150 guests takes a year of planning and a fat wallet...and it takes a village! And there was no wedding planner at this wedding, just the family team with my sis at the helm...mostly in fact the couple and my sister enjoying every minute of tears, few dramas.

For example just for the church music alone, in addition to a great organist there were a trumpet and a coronet and a willowy young opera singer  who each delivered flawless offerings leaving us all breathless.   There was a fine jazz combo by an 80+ year old performer and his group who played for the" plein air" cocktail overlooking the bay and again inside for the dinner.  And later there was a dj with a list of songs for all ages all planned carefully by the couple. This was just the music people of the wedding assembled by my sister.   Every lavish detail of this wedding was amazing and it never turned vulgar or sloppy.  This was the storybook wedding every bride dreams about.

But on the side of the no wallet people, some of the most pleasurable moments of the week were done by non professionals.  My brother put together an amazing slide show for the rehearsal dinner and there was two days of laughing as we looked at old photos.  There was the "favour" party of friends and family where we assembled all of the tiny chocolate boxes to put on each table.    There was the brunch the day after the wedding, with plastic knives and forks, picnic style for out of town family and friends so that the closest friends could visit with the couple before dispersing across the country.  There were the readings and hymns in the church and the vows carefully written by the couple and the personal and public thanks to each of the 14+ attendants and helpers. Without these private touches it would not have been as rich an experience.   And these things cost little or nothing.

However, it does not surprise me to learn that the wedding industry in America is a 86 billion dollar affair. Even the gown store in Seattle had me stupified with glee and shock.   Glee as there were around 500 dresses to look at  mostly garish and baroque and shock that such a store exists with its lighted runway in a hall of mirrors ....presumably every girl needs to see herself in all the princess glory before she puts down the money, the most she will ever pay for a dress!  It was vulgar and over the top but fun for us girls to laugh and enjoy the "follie" of it all. It is a seduction to which you don't want to admit.  And I think that is what the wedding industry is all about.

So to bring this all back to France,  America is not the only place where this is happening.  I had it from Auralie over a manicure at Paradiso in Nice.  Her wedding had been huge with a restaurant rented after the church for the reception, and a  "casts of thousands".  They were still paying for it all two years later and counting.  Was it worth it?  "Oh yes", she said, " The best part was to see all the old and young people dancing together to old songs." Yes, she would do it again.  "You only get to be a bride once!"

Yes, well hold that thought, Auralie and Sarah and Joel and blessings on your way.  The storybook wedding is not going away... so lets celebrate it and enjoy every last second of these moments in a life.

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