Weddings: A Primer

Wedding season is upon us. The summer may end, but I give the general phase of life at least another five years. While we reconcile ourselves to the nuptials of our nearest and dearest with a bad grace that would make Jo March proud, here are a few possibly helpful, mostly ersatz tips on the event itself.

1) You can be Xena Culture Warrior Princess some other day of the week. Is it widely known that the couple was living together before marriage? Doesn’t make their marriage any less sacramental or important than yours! Aghast that the bride is unaware of the anti-feminist significance of many wedding traditions? Can it, sister. Appalled at the vulgar display of consumption foisted on us by the wedding-industrial complex? You can dish about the decline of civilization when you get home. A wedding is a new unity of two families and in many cases the administration of a sacrament. The only thing you need be is excited and happy.

2) Trying to help a friend pick a wedding dress? Everyone and their mother have opinions on sleeves or no sleeves?

My friend, my friend, I have solved all your problems.

It’s flattering, it’s danceable, it’s classic, it has sleeves. No matter how snippy the aunt or how traddy the parish, this dress can’t fail to please everyone. Especially those of us who believe that weddings should resemble a fertility cult as much as possible.

(N.B. More seriously, no one had better take this advice, because this is actually going to be my wedding dress. Complete with snakes.)


3) Bachelorette parties need not be a choice between Scylla and Charybdis. There seems to be this idea that the only alternative to strippers and stupid t-shirts (why would anyone would want to spend their ostensible last night of freedom trolling for the attention of men found in the most boring types of bars?) is a cute tea party with vintage napkins or something.

Which is nice, but as a standalone bachelorette party, weak. It rather militates against the spirit of the thing, and besides, no matter how much whiskey you put in your teacup, a refined tea party is just not conducive to bawdy jokes, nudity, and miscellaneous phallic references.

And yes, you definitely want all of these things. Fortunately, there is a third way. After your tea party or your blues bar, barricade yourselves in an apartment with whiskey and some red paint, find a deserted beach with lots of driftwood for your lighter fluid, sneak into a institution of venerable and formidable reputation in the dead of night, and see what happens.

If you need ideas, most libraries carry the definitive guide to the perfect bachelorette!

5) Weddings are really fun. You get to dress up pretty and drink and dance! If they’re not fun, you’re probably worrying about something you don’t really need to be worrying out.

6) On that note, for the love of Jones ask men to dance if you like dancing. Forget your theories about how men should always pursue women and women should always run away, but backwards, so they can still watch the man’s progress and smile invitingly, and just do it. You’re here to have fun and celebrate, and plenty of men who are too shy to ask strange women will happily (or at least politely) consent to a quickstep or two.

7) I don’t care how much it costs you, bribe the DJ not to play Single Ladies during the bouquet toss. Although I’d personally prefer if the sexes of competitors were switched for the garter and bouquet toss, I don’t have a problem with either–they’re certainly better than some of the horrifically soppy alternatives. But playing Single Ladies turns a harmless fertility ritual into a humiliating, condescending tribute to the embittered, anxious desperation to marry all single women are supposed to feel. Plus, it’s one of Beyonce’s most overplayed and less awesome songs! PLUS, it always happens just when a really good song was coming on.



PS–If you must write your wedding vows, they should probably sound something like this


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