I attended a wedding over the weekend. Weddings are always quite an ordeal. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when my friends get married. I was really looking forward to this wedding and was thrilled to see my friends so happy. It’s just hat weddings are really really difficult for me on so many levels. They are almost like the ultimate social test. Unfortunately I don’t attend very many, so I have very little practice at how to behave. Much of my learned social behaviour has come from books and movies, but I have not been to a single wedding that it like any book or movie I have seen.
Take, for example, the throwing of the bride’s bouquet. In movies all the single girls excitedly gather in a giggling gaggle to catch the bouquet in good-natured competitiveness. At every wedding I have been to, the single women have to be dragged out of their seats to very reluctantly stand in a small group (it’s always a very small group because more than half the single women manage to hide elsewhere and not join the group). The bride then tosses the bouquet, and the women scatter. The bouquet ends up on the floor, and the unlucky lady who is standing closest to it is forced to take it. I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Why bother with this tradition if it’s no fun? Why pretend to not want to catch the bouquet? Why all the reluctance? It’s just so dumb, and in my opinion totally ruins the fun. I don’t want to get married, but I think it’s in the spirit of weddings to pretend that you want to catch the bouquet.
I’m jumping the gun here a bit though, so let’s start at the beginning… I was asked to go earlier to help out with preparing the decorations and afternoon tea that was to follow the wedding. No problem! Give me a task and I will do it. Things were going well until I ended up in the kitchen helping to prepare the food. Now, I don’t have a problem with being in a kitchen, but there I was, in a small space surrounded by women. Lots of women. All the high-pitched chatter made me feel like I was in a flock of chittering birds, and it was driving me crazy! I went away into that quiet place in my head which helps to keep my sane, but it was hard. Luckily I found a corner to hide in, so no one tried to get me to chat to them, but it was still awful. When I’m in a group of women, more than in any other situation, I am made so aware of the fact that I seem to have been absent the day they handed out the rule book. They have this way of interacting that is totally alien to me. I don’t understand their conversation. I don’t understand their actions. They seem to communicate on a level that I can’t hear.
Anyway, I got through that and ended up at the church for the wedding. The wedding itself was fine. It doesn’t require much interaction from me, so the chances of making a major social gaffe are quite small. The problem is what comes afterwards. The hugging. The kissing. The conversations. Basically, the social interactions. Do you tell someone that they look beautiful when they don’t? Do you tell someone you love their dress when you don’t? How do you catch up with all those people you haven’t seen for a while, when you can’t recognise them? How do you concentrate on one conversation at a time, when there is so much noise all around? It’s all so confusing. Sensory overload!
Finally, the reception… Again, more things that are not like the movies. The couple get up to do their bridal dance (so often called a Bridal Waltz, but doesn’t involve any waltzing whatsoever). The dance floor is then opened for others to dance, but no one wants to dance. They all huddle around ignoring the dance floor. I want to dance! Can I dance on my own? Can I ask someone to dance? What are the rules? The bride goes around asking people to go dance. I want to! I want to look like I am having a good time. Why won’t anyone dance? What’s the point of having a dance floor if no one dances?
And then, it’s time to leave. I line up to say goodbye to the couple. I patiently wait my turn whilst some guests take forever to say goodbye. Others get impatient and push in front of me. I don’t get it. I am obviously standing in line. There are people standing behind me. What kind of person cuts the queue at a wedding? Yet it happens all the time. How do you handle it? It seems a bit much to tell someone off under the circumstances, but it’s really really frustrating. Hey, I want to leave too. I have a long drive home ahead of me. Get in line!
Sigh. So there you have it. Another wedding under my belt, and I still don’t know the rules.