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A Modern Summer Wedding



Joined: 11/5/2013
Posts: 38
etiquette
Recently I was asked to help coordinate a wedding for friends of mine. I was also an invited guest, which made for a full afternoon and evening of celebration. As most readers know, I am somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to protocol and etiquette. However, a wedding is one area where flexibility is much more the rule than the exception.

I very much enjoyed my time at this wedding, most of all because when I departed for the night, I had a warm feeling that this union would last, that their children would be raised in a loving household, and that this couple would show others how to live in and maintain a relationship where mutual respect is honoured. Let me explain how I arrived at these conclusion.

First of all, the couple lives in Germany, and virtually all of the planning had to be accomplished from a long distance. Because they had many friends here, a high level of cooperation and volunteerism was readily available. Many decisions needed to be made. All of the usual who, what, where and how questions created quite a tapestry to piece together. Such considerations as weather, other events taking place at the same time, the logistics of wedding presents and other ‘little surprises’ completed the myriad of considerations.

The mark of real flexibility however is not something we usually have a chance to rehearse. Take for example discovering within 24 hours of the dinner that the caterer somehow thought the event had been cancelled, and would not be available to prepare and serve the wedding dinner, which was to be a formal sit down dinner for 80 people. Many of us would find this to be an almost insurmountable problem – but not this couple. They really took control and catapulted themselves into problem solving mode. By rallying a few old friends from the world of hospitality, the decision was made to whip up an enormous batch of spaghetti sauce to accompany an equally huge amount of pasta and a grand salad.


The solution to the question of how the food would be served was nothing short of fantastic. The wedding party chose to turn this dinner into a buffet, and served their guests themselves. If you had not known about the caterer's cancellation, you would have thought this unique food presentation had been the plan all along.

As with many weddings today, couples wait until they are settled into their careers and have enough money to support themselves and their potential family before marrying. Weddings today include friends with small children, and adult only events have given way to celebrations for entire families. The inclusion of small children, has become more and more commonplace. Crawling and staggering from one piece of furniture to the next, chiming in with spontaneous shrieks, and often times simply stealing the show, the tiniest guests at weddings have become an oddly welcome ingredient of these celebrations.

When planning summer weddings, what the bride and groom want is a comfortable, enjoyable, and definitely celebratory atmosphere for their guests. Dress codes are more relaxed than in the past; the script for the ceremony itself has become, in many cases, less traditionally religious, yet decidedly more spiritual; and the formalities of such things as receiving lines have been eliminated. The focus of the wedding is on celebration and camaraderie, and less on traditional customs.

The highlight of this wedding reflected the importance and value of flexibility. The couple have a 15-month old son. As children of this age are want to do, seeing Mom and Dad meant he wanted to be near them. In the spirit of spontaneity, once he noticed his parents and started ‘calling’ for them, the person holding him delivered him to his parents, and he immediately became a quiet participant in the ceremony. To add to the delight of the wedding experience, the little boy was dressed like his Dad, and the whole picture was joyful.

The message here is to respect the process. It will be filled with surprises that appear out of nowhere. The adage, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” comes to mind. This wedding exemplified how this cannot only save the day; it made for a wonderful, memory filled day!
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