An eight bridesmaid wedding is a thing to behold. Especially when the maids row crew. This week-end I flew four states south to attend the wedding of a great niece who met her husband and at least half of her bridesmaids while rowing for her college. In a large college chapel the wedding guests watched eight stunningly beautiful broad shouldered women clad in gray satin to-the-knee strapless dresses, carrying purple and green fresh bouquets, walk down the aisle in front of an equally beautiful bride dressed in a white satin gown with a long train and an equally long gossamer veil. The sight was truly elegant in an age of “stylized” wedding parties more often found on a beach or sky diving than in a sophisticated non-denominational chapel. Eight black clad, gray vested groomsmen stood stoically across from the beautiful maidens while the tiny flower girl and ring bearer twisted this way and that, but never signed nor sat down on the job, during the entire ceremony.
The ceremony, more traditional than not, was conducted by a woman Methodist minister who was a friend of the family. In her presentation, the minister included the responses to the question that she originally asked the couple being married, “What about the other do you especially like?” The responses were hardly earth shattering, but they seemed sincere and in an age of cynicism, genuine.
There was no receiving line, but the happy couple did exit the chapel surrounded by well wishers, shouting “Woof, woof” and blowing bubbles. It was during this phase that I realized that the elegant part of the wedding was over. I also suspected that my days as wedding attendee were waning. The reception confirmed my suspicions.
The reception was held in a Community Center. Perhaps it was one of only a few places that could hold 175 guests, all of whom seemed to have arrived. The “bar” was set up in the lobby along with a few snacks that appealed to the huge under -thirty crowd, chips and salsa and fresh fruit. The one bar tender worked as fast as he could, but the line for red or white wine continued to remain ten deep. To my delight, an art gallery, part of the community center, was open. There one could take refuge in relative quiet until dinner was served; or, rather, until food was provided.
Tables one – ten were on the first floor of a two tiered space with a balcony running down one wall so that the guests relegated to the second floor could watch the happy couple dance their first dance and feed each other cake. A DJ was set up on the first floor across from a huge dance floor, next to table one where the bride’s older relatives sat. There I was in the midst of them. As such, table one was the first called to enjoy the buffet which consisted of three stations: an Asian infused, a sliders-mac and cheese and a fresh salad bar. The Asian table had a delicious shrimp on-a- skewer dish, as well as some finely chopped veggies and meat that one enrobed in a green lettuce leaf before topping with peanut sauce before consuming. I took a slider, but passed, as always, the mac and cheese. At the salad bar, I loaded up with grilled asparagus. My excuse was that kids who like sliders and mac and cheese would probably pass on asparagus.
After everyone had eaten, the DJ began the dance music. The only song that I could partially recognize is the one to which the happy couple danced. Rumor had it that the bride and groom took dancing lessons in order to dance to that “slow” music. Hopefully, they will keep on with the lessons. The box step will only go so far. The next hour or so took me into the twilight zone. All of the young people, or really young at heart, swarmed the dance floor and gyrated, twisted jumped up and down, with or without partners to mostly pulsating rhythms to unintelligible words. I belonged at the old peoples table. At nine o’clock, I made my farewells and headed back to the hotel.