I Go to Weddings for Free Booze and Cake. Oh, and Love.
Despite the fact that everyone around me is popping out bellies and babies like we’ve reached some kind of colossal Lemming-like tipping point of a giant cliff and after the first person stepped off, everyone else just followed right along because they had to — because jumping off of cliffs is the thing to do, didn’tcha know, and somehow I’m stuck standing at the precipice, staring down into the abyss, thinking it looks kind of interesting down there in the clouds and I’ve always enjoyed a free-fall, but do I really want to fall that long at that fast?
So despite the fact that all of that is happening, I’m happy because there are still people in my life who are in the we’re-getting-married-so-let’s-have-a-kick-ass-wedding stage.
That doesn’t mean I’m happy because I’m a girly girl who loves planting my bony butt on a rock-hard pew and crying through an hour-long pomp and circumstance of nuptials. And it’s certainly not because I’m a girly girl who loves donning a fancy dress, sparkling jewelry, and enough hairspray to fuel a rocket launch to the moon.
It’s because I’m a girly girl who appreciates a fully stocked open bar for an evening, champagne toasts, line dancing with strangers, and a vast assortment of “special occasion” food: from little trays of bacon-wrapped hors d’oeuvres and plates of fruit and cheese, to a buffet or sit-down dinner of various stuffed chicken, pasta, and steak, to a veritable smorgasbord of meal-ending sweets in the form of wedding cake, pastries, and an actual bar full of candy. Just take a bag and fill it up! Seriously? Does it get better than that?
Oh, it does. Because at this particular wedding, the thoughtful bride — or, probably more accurately the thoughtful bride’s father – provided baskets of flip-flops in the ladies’ restroom for when our footsies got sore after all of that dancing.
And after several champagne toasts, complimentary Cabernet, and a vodka sprite with a twist of lime, wearing those bright-pink flip-flops felt like walking on a cloud.
It mattered not that the flops clashed horribly with my royal blue dress (which is way darker than it looks in the on-line picture). In fact, I’m pretty sure hot pink and royal blue is the next up-and-coming color trend.
(This is the part where you hate me because I don’t have a single picture of myself in the dress. Not one. Though I’ll keep an eye out for any wedding photos that happen to crop up with me in them.)
Anyway. The whole thing got me thinking about weddings, and how silly it seems to spend all that dough for just one evening to impress people, and how no one really would’ve cared if there weren’t any flip-flops or extra pastries or bacon-wrapped delicacies or free booze, because a bring-your-own-beer barbecue in the back yard would have done just as well to celebrate the joining of two lives among family and friends.
The groom, whom I’ve known since my freshman year of college, chose his father as his Best Man. His heartwarming toast was followed by that of the bride’s father — the guy responsible for keeping 200+ people swimming in booze, food, and flip-flops for the evening.
And he said something.
He said, “We all know that every little girl* grows up dreaming about her wedding day — about the dress she’ll wear, what kind of cake she’ll have, and what kind of footwear she’ll provide in the ladies’ restroom.” (Just kidding. He didn’t say that last part.)
*I did not grow up dreaming about my wedding day. I for sure thought I’d elope. If I even got married at all.
Then he said, “What we don’t know is that every girl’s father dreams of her wedding day, too. Except it’s more like nightmares.”
[Insert uproarious laughter from the crowd.]
“But then,” he said, “you look out across your friends and family, all smiling and here for your girl. And you look at her and see how beautiful she is — ”
And that’s where he lost it.
His voice cracked.
The tears came. Not just from him, but from every. single. woman in the room.
He finished with something about love and how his love for his daughter makes the fact that he’ll be living off of nothing but Ramen noodles for the next 3 years entirely worth it. (Just kidding. He didn’t say that last part.)
But I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.
And you know, even though my first choice for a wedding would have included about 8 people barefoot on a beach in Fiji, it doesn’t really matter. The bride was happy. The groom was happy. Their parents were ecstatic. And when the champagne buzz wears off and they have a mountain of bills and beautiful photographs to show for it, Real Life will start and at least they’ll have started it off exactly the way they wanted.
And, for a rainy day, they’ll have the gift I bought them.
Tucked inside a cooler hand-picked from their registry is a bottle of good champagne and a 6-pack of Natural Light.
On the card,
One for remembering the past,
One for celebrating the future,
And one for keeping it all cool.
It’s a metaphor.