Wendy and I are attending three weddings this month. I hate to be a curmudgeon, but I must confess that I really don’t like most weddings I attend. (If I attended your wedding, please don’t take this personally. I’m sure I truly enjoyed myself at your wedding!) I have officiated a lot of weddings and, like most of us, have attended a ton. Typically, I don’t look forward to the experience.
Here are the top five things I typically lament about weddings:
- The real meaning of the occasion is typically minimized. Most of the weddings I attend are all about window dressing and very little about the heart of the occasion. I have officiated and attended way too many ceremonies with hungover couples and wedding parties for whom the real significance of the moment is completely lost.
- The ceremony is usually too long. I tell people that the perfect wedding was about 23 minutes long. That’s long enough to simply and clearly communicate the meaning of the occasion and make your vows, but it doesn’t belabor the moment for your guests. I’ve been to way too many weddings that drone on for over an hour.
- No one knows what’s going on. While there is usually a plan with regard to getting from wedding to reception and how things are going to transpire, guests are often left in the dark as to what that plan actually is. Because the couple, their family, and the wedding party are all busy after the ceremony congratulating each other, wedding guests are often left wondering what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to go. This creates anxiety, impatience, and frustration among the throng, which is not conducive to kicking off a good reception.
- The guests are kept waiting (at worst, without provision). The worst weddings are those in which the bride and groom take photos after the ceremony and before the reception, and have no plan for taking care of their guests. The worst we ever experienced was a reception held at a venue about 20 minutes from the church. After making the commute to the reception venue, we were left waiting in the reception hall almost two hours with no food or drink served while the wedding party took pictures and went for a limousine joy ride. Then, when the wedding party did arrive, we were made to endure long speeches and powerpoint slideshows of the bride and groom before being allowed to eat. And, the food wasn’t worth waiting for.
- The dance is lame. Great weddings are generally made great by having a great dance at the reception complete with a mix of music (from all eras) that allows for romantic slow dancing, communal line dancing, and shake-your-booty improvisational dancing. Too many weddings do not give enough thought to the DJ, the mix of music, and providing a fun space and atmosphere that will make people want to get on the floor and trip the light fandango.