The Shortest Wedding I’ve Ever Attended
On Saturday I witnessed the shortest wedding ever attended. It began promptly at 2:43 and ended at 3:00. It didn’t feel rushed, and it felt fairly personal. I think the couple only included the core elements they wanted in their wedding, for which I applaud them.
I’m sure there have been much faster weddings in history. Doesn’t Vegas have a drive-thru wedding chapel? But this wedding was notable not just because of its truncated length, but also for its flavor. It made me think about what I would want in a wedding–specifically, three aspects stood out to me.
- It wasn’t all about the bride. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a wedding that didn’t feel like the bride was way more important than the groom. A lot of it comes down to the procession. Usually the groom isn’t part of the procession at all. He just stands at the front of the room and waits. The bride, on the other hand, is ushered down the aisle with such pomp and circumstance that she even has her own song. This has always felt really odd to me, and it sets the stage for the wedding to be the “bride’s day” instead of a celebration of love and commitment between two people. Thus it was really refreshing for both the groom and the bride to walk down the aisle with their parents at the wedding I attended on Saturday.
- They wrote their own vows. I went to a wedding a few years ago where the couple’s vows consisted of the top 10 reasons they loved the other person. Like most weddings, I only knew one of the people getting married, so it was enlightening to see why my friend loved the girl so much and why she loved him. I understood their love and their relationship better from those vows. The couple on Saturday did something similar (but shorter), and I really appreciated it. I would love to write my own vows someday. I’m Catholic, but I don’t want for my love to be expressed by a book written 2,000 years ago. I want my love to be expressed in my own words to the woman I’m about to marry. And I want to say it–I don’t want the priest or justice of the peace to have to explain to everyone in the room why I want to marry my wife. That’s my job. And I hope my wife would do the same for me.
- They eschewed tradition. A friend of mine got married a few years ago, and they did this amazing thing near the end of the ceremony where they planted a tree in the ground. Like, they got out a shovel, dug a hole, and physically placed a fledgling tree in the ground. It was beautifully symbolic of the relationship they were starting that day, one that they wanted to grow into something much bigger and different with the proper care and attention. There were religious elements to Saturday’s wedding, but for the most part it was clear that they selected elements of the wedding that were important to them, and they cut everything else. Like I said, I’m Catholic, and I’ve been to lots of Catholic weddings. Some of them feel completely appropriate for the couple–perhaps it’s a couple who attends church together and has faith at the foundation of their relationship. In those cases, a religious ceremony is a great fit. But there are many couples who really aren’t connected to religion at all, and yet they go through the motions of this ceremony that doesn’t feel at all connected to who they are as a couple. I think it was just a good reminder to me that I should make my wedding my own–our own.
If you’re not married, how do those three points sound to you? If you’ve already celebrated your wedding, are there certain elements of the wedding you wish you would have done differently?