Time To Rethink How We Celebrate Weddings?

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Raise your hand if some of the weddings you attended recently were a little over the top.
In recent years, we’ve attended weddings held in Castles and giant ballrooms. They were so outrageously extreme, we thought about adding a few hundred dollars to the gift envelope. The amount of food available in the cocktail hour alone was enough to feed a small town.

Over-the-top weddings might be something too rethink in the face of the sense of austerity caused by the current pandemic
(Photo credit: JPGringo/CC BY-SA 4.0)

The entertainment sometimes included not just a DJ spinning bass-thumping music, but video screens. At one reception, the video crew was able to show us a slickly produced music video of the actual wedding ceremony that happened earlier in the day. It even included showing the bride and groom entering the reception hall just an hour or so before. We got to see ourselves on video while the reception was still going on.
Don’t get me wrong. If this is your idea of a dream wedding, and you have a seemingly unlimited cash flow, do what you want, however, you want. Use those classic limos from decades ago or horse-drawn carriages. It’s your party and, as far as I am concerned, there is no line you can’t cross.

At a wedding a few years back, there was a dessert hour that followed a huge dinner. Fourteen separate dessert stations came rolling out of the kitchen like endless clowns emerging from a Volkswagen, each one containing different delicious treats. There were cookies, cakes, ice cream sundaes and cotton candy. They formed a rectangle around the dance floor, each station with its own server. Once all the carnage was complete, and everyone had their fill, out came the wedding cake and coffee. As my Italian relatives might say, “Oooh-Fa!”
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it has shown us we can do without a lot of things. We’ve learned to live without live sporting events and going to movie theaters. Suddenly, eating restaurant quality take out at home is not a bad option anymore. Going to a gym to run on a treadmill is an expensive novelty we can do without.

Many planned 2020 weddings were ultimately postponed. Those couples might have learned they don’t need a giant banquet room with hundreds of people to celebrate with them on their wedding day. They just need each other and their close families.
When you think about it, that’s not a bad option.
No matter the size of your wedding, when the dust settles, and everyone goes home, it’s just the two of you. Spending an excessive amount of money on a wedding extravaganza may become a thing of the past. Inviting people to celebrate your wedding with you was supposed to be a fun thing. It shouldn’t take months to prepare for, causing undue stress and anxiety.

I understand we can’t put the Genie back into the bottle, considering there are hundreds of people employed by the wedding planning industry. But who are you trying to impress with a solo harpist and the releasing of doves?
It’s gotten to the point that when calculating the wedding “gift” for the nuptials, you sometimes consider the “cost” of the meal. Does that mean the happy couple that opts for a reasonable wedding gets a smaller “gift” than the couple having their wedding at the Oheka Castle in Huntington? Unfortunately, that’s probably true.

With many 2020 wedding celebrations postponed until 2021, couples have decided to forgo the pomp and circumstance to get married anyway. Instead, just a ceremony, followed by a socially distanced dinner with their closest friends and family, will suffice.
My nephew Michael and his fiancé Deirdre are getting married at the end of July. A simple beach wedding in Greenport, followed by a dinner with family and close friends. Like the Rolling Stones sang, “You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes, you get what you need.” These two kids will start their life together without all the stress, aggravation and debt, associated with a wedding extravaganza.

Maybe that’s not such a bad idea after all…

Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award-winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.

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