Monday, August 24, 2009

What's Traditional Anyhow?

In the past several years, I’ve attended a lot of weddings.  It’s that time my older friends warned me about, the all-of-a-sudden-everyone-is-getting-married stretch that comes right before the all-of-a-sudden-everyone-is-having-babies stretch.  So I’ve seen a bit of everything at this point – the 300 person black tie soiree, the hotel banquet event, the backyard casual affair, the 15-person guerilla style botanical garden wedding, the last-minute Vegas getaway, the long-sleeved church wedding, and the elopement-celebration restaurant dinner.  

Out of all the weddings, I think I’ve seen four “standard” white ballgown dresses.  I’ve seen a lot of short sassy white dresses bought off-the rack.  I’ve seen a few silky sheath dresses.  I’ve seen DJ-ed weddings, Ipod weddings, and weddings where the entertainment was magicians and fortune tellers.  I’ve had BBQ at weddings and sit down dinners. I’ve seen weddings where the couples wrote their vows, where the couples shared their vows privately, and where couples honored their commitment with religious vows. I’ve seen couples walk down the aisle together, or brides with their fathers, or the bride and groom with their respective parents, or skip the aisle altogether. Sometimes I got presents when I arrived at weddings (I’ve since found out they’re called “out of town bags” and “favors”) and other times I was asked to help out last minute with errands and decorating and loved jumping into the fray with our friends.

So to all of my friends and family who have tackled this wedding thing already and allowed me to share in the joy of your various celebrations, thank you.  Thank you for letting me experience the unique and specific happiness in each of your different celebrations.  The only common tradition or theme I’ve been able to sort out from the bunch is the constant of love and marriage.  So now, when someone questions my potential ideas for a DIY Jewish rocking outdoor/indoor urban/rustic wedding extravaganza because it’s somehow not traditional, I can politely demur and think to myself “shove it.” Attending all of your weddings shattered the notion of a standard white wedding or the associated “traditions,” leaving me with the freedom to craft something meaningful, heartfelt, practical, and hopefully beautiful (in its entirety, if not in the physical touches) in the process.

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