Weddings can be fun. Weddings can be boring. Weddings can be stressful and nerve-racking. Weddings can be pleasurable. It all depends! I have known of families and friends who have had dis-agreements and arguments in the preparation period prior to the wedding, during the wedding and after the wedding. Old issues which have caused unhappiness with family members and friends will resurface and new ones will appear. Envious family members will comment about the bride and bridegroom, the parents of the wedding couple and any other member of the immediate family. Old gossip and new gossip will be aired and embellished.

Planning the Wedding

A wedding requires much planning and organising. Some people spend months on this exercise. So many details have to be addressed. Using a wedding planner helps to ease the problem but at times this too can bring on other problems. One wedding reception I attended went awry because the wedding planner was most disorganised. He conducted it as if it was a company dinner and dance and he had the most grotesque jokes!

There are some wedding receptions which are beautifully planned, from the flower arrangements on the table, to the music, the cocktails served, the menu and the speeches. But I have also attended some where the reception has been poorly organised. People come to the reception with no other idea than to eat a good meal.

The Priest and the Bridegroom

At one wedding reception I attended, the Priest who was present to give his blessings and say a prayer before dinner was served, scolded all the guests and told us not to misbehave. He had done this earlier that evening in Church. Did the guests listen to him? Oh no! it was just the opposite! There was much merriment, laughter and loud voices. The drinks just flowed. The music played and everyone was dancing. The Bridegroom got more and more smashed. The Bride disappeared to the Bridal Suite after the dinner proceedings. Before the last people left the Ballroom, the groom’s friends called the Concierge for a porter and trolley (the kind that you place suitcases on and hang your clothes on the bar above the trolley base.) And yes! They put the Groom on the trolley base and pushed him up to the Bridal Suite! What fun!

Wedding Speeches

Sometimes, the speeches made at the receptions are just appalling. I cannot understand why people will not spend time on their speeches. They will go on stage and say the most awful embarrassing things. I know that some people like to use what is called a “roast” but I believe that there is a time and place for certain comments. Bringing up personal details about the bride and groom might not be so appropriate.

Speeches should be prepared well in advance, the words and phrases should be carefully selected to evoke much joy and to create wonderful images. The speakers should rehearse, put the emphasis on the right words, pause appropriately and use the right pace and tone. If anecdotes and jokes are being recounted, then the speakers should practice telling them. This will ensure that they are told at the right speed and with the right emotion. All this may take time but the rewards are incredible. The audience will be riveted and they will go away appreciating the speech!

More Details and Decisions

Sometimes the music played during the reception is not suitable for the occasion. Often the music used as the Bride and Bridegroom enter the reception room is very romantic and truly delightful. The families spend much on the clothes, the reception, the decorations and everything else. And then there is the jewellery…necklaces, rings and bracelets! Details regarding the type of car to use as the bridal car and the ribbons and trimmings around the car have to be decided.

The family have to decide on a photographer and videographer, a florist and a caterer. If the reception is held at home there is the need to have a marquee, chairs and tables. Linen for the tables, the cutlery and glasses have to be selected and rented. Selecting a hotel or restaurant is an equally difficult task as well. For all weddings, money is spent on the wedding favour, the guest book, the wedding cake and the champagne fountain.

Traditional Practices

Tradition and customs dictate and require additional expenses and time and effort. Flowers, specific objects complying to traditional practices, special clothes, food, beverages, lamps and many other items have to be prepared. Plates of clothes, jewellery, cake and sweets are arranged. A special dais has to be built, a bedroom has to be furnished and special food like glutinous rice, boiled eggs and certain types of meat are provided.

Additional Expenses

The families have to arrange for meals for family members and friends on the days before the wedding as they converge on their homes to work on the preparations. These are additional costs which have to be included in the total sum spent on the wedding.

If a family can afford all this, I would support such expenditure. But often they are not able to afford the wedding and may end up heavily indebted after the wedding. I find this rather sad and unnecessary. I would prefer the family to hold a small celebration and give the couple something to use for their future.

I have often wondered why it is necessary to invite so many people to a wedding. I am often impressed at how one family is able to invite so many people, sometimes as many as 1500. I suppose families wish to share their joy with others and they want as many of their friends as possible to witness the happy occasion. However it is my belief that a wedding is just as good and happy with a small number of people.

Setting up Home

A wedding is really the first event in a marriage of two people. It is the start of their time together. They set up house, have children and work for the betterment of their family. Hence, I have always thought it more appropriate if the money spent on lavish weddings could be given to the young couple so they can set up a home and bring up a family without too much struggle.

Planning and preparing for the wedding brings on stress. The wedding requires many decisions, much expenditure and much work to coordinate matters. We all want that special wedding, that special day that we can remember. A big expensive wedding is not necessary. A small one can be memorable, happy and much fun.

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