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Weddings

I was trying to remember all the weddings I’ve ever been to. Some random online article (I can’t be bothered to find it and link to it now) had listed all the types of weddings people go to, like ones where you are really good friends with the groom and don’t really like the bride, or where you dated one of them once, or maybe you’re a childhood friend and now have nothing in common with the person . . . And then there are theme weddings and hippie weddings and all that kind of thing.

Of course, my first weddings were family. I was really young (three? five?) when someone on my mother’s side got married. So young I can’t even remember who it was. Her brother? Her cousin? I know we flew to Alaska to attend. And I think my grandmother had made me a dress for the occasion (she used to sew lots of clothes for me).

And then when I was, I dunno, eight or nine maybe, my cousin on my father’s side got married. And I do remember having this white blouse and floral skirt to wear to that one.

mandabodice2And then for a long time no one got married, or if they did I didn’t attend. It wasn’t until I was an undergrad that things began to pick up. My high school friend Andrea got married at a Renaissance Faire. There’s your theme wedding for you. And then several of my college friends tied the knot immediately after graduation. Brooke and Rudy had been dating for something like seven years, and Garrett and Brenna had only just met but had one of those love-at-first-sight kind of things going, and my roommate Anne married Brian (who’d actually once asked me out before going for Anne, but it wasn’t at all awkward).

I was actually a bride’s maid for Brooke, though I think it was only to make up the numbers since we weren’t actually all that close. But she was another of my roommates (there were four of us, and they were all very active in the church, so I think all the weddings had something to do with that). In fact, my other roommate Christine also got married, but I didn’t end up attending that wedding. I think I’d already moved away by then.

It’s funny because I’d always wanted to be a bride’s maid, though I’d never had any dreams of being a bride. It was the idea of being someone’s friend in that way that appealed to me. My plan, however, had been to never get married. I was going to be too focused on my work for that. At my wedding reception, my best friend/maid of honor would remind me in her toast: “You once told me you were going to sail around the world and never talk to anybody.” Yes, that’s sounds like me.

Brenna and Garrett actually had the nicest wedding, and by that I don’t mean fancy. I actually mean the exact opposite. Maybe they fall under the “hippie” category, but they didn’t have much money but also didn’t want to wait (you know, because of all that church stuff), so they kept it extremely simple. They held their wedding out at some kind of national park, or maybe it was a ranch, but wherever it was, it was lovely. And every household brought a dish for the buffet meal. So they only ended up needing a cake, and I think they sprang for a chocolate fountain too. No flowers as I recall; I think Brenna wore a garland of dried ones in her hair, though. And the pavilion was strung with lots of little lights, probably from someone’s Christmas supply. But the feeling at that wedding, the community, was amazing. I’ve never been to any big, fancy wedding and come away with such a wonderful sense of contentment.

The last of the weddings I attended during this busy period was my cousin Christopher’s. It was a Catholic wedding, very long, and I’d only met the bride once, and she’d been rude to me then. Since Christopher had always been one of my favorite cousins, this may fall into that whole “not approving of the bride” category. Anyway, there’s something to be said for a wedding where you know and/or are related to most of the guests. Built-in company means it’s generally less awkward on the whole, though on the flip side one has a hard time getting away and catching a few moments to oneself.

The only other wedding I’ve attended since then, aside from my own, would be that of my best friend. Actually, she’s had two . . . I was a bride’s maid at the first, which took place just a couple weeks after my own wedding. The second was some years later and was definitely a hippie wedding, as it took place at the Cathedral of Junk. I suppose I should not be sorry I was not asked to stand with my friend the second time around; I lived far away, and it was a very casual affair.

And that’s it for weddings. I count nine, an even ten if you include my own. Sometimes I think there should be more, but then again I wouldn’t want to be invited to just any old ceremony, the kind where there are 300 or more guests, where you’re only an acquaintance or distantly related. Weddings should be for and with and about those closest to you. They should mean something, not be an excuse for an oversized party. If you want to throw a party, do. But make your wedding something more by making it something less, if you know what I mean.

Well, but that’s just me. And maybe that’s why I don’t get invited to more weddings. Though, come to think of it, I really do have a small circle of friends, about half unmarried. So maybe there just aren’t that many weddings to be had.

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