Venues around the area have begun seeing couples reciting their vows, cutting cakes and dancing to “their” songs.
I am a twenty-something woman with friends getting engaged and married right and left. But, admittedly, “my” song is more like Three Dog Night’s “One (Is The Loneliest Number)” than a heartfelt love ballad.
Being from Cleveland, I often have people who knew me growing up asking me about my relationship status. The other day, someone asked, “Have you gotten married or anything yet?” If “anything” excludes marriage, then yes. I do appreciate people being interested in my life, but my answer is not what many want to hear.
I don’t mind weddings, though. I genuinely enjoy them because it means I get to see my friends promising to spend their lives with the ones they love.
But, whether or not many of us will admit to this, it can sometimes be difficult to be supportive when we are faced with situations to which we can’t relate.
That could be a challenge for anyone involved with or attending weddings this season, a person of any marital status. Weddings can be joyous, but they are not immune to awkward moments.
Many couples incorporate traditions from their religious faiths into their weddings. Whether it be a Christian couple taking communion together or a Jewish groom breaking a glass underfoot, such traditions can help couples unite with each other in their shared faiths.
But there are certain wedding traditions that put the emphasis someplace other than where it needs to be — on the single people still searching for someone with whom they can fall in love.
I’m talking about the bouquet and garter tosses that often take place at wedding receptions. They round up the single women and men. The bride tosses her bouquet to the women, and the groom tosses the bride’s garter to the men. It is supposedly a way for the married couple to pass down their wedded luck, and whoever catches the item is meant to be the next person of their gender to get married.
But, in my opinion, all it does is — if you’ll excuse the pun — single them out.
Regardless of whatever traditions a couple chooses to include, wedding bliss also requires positivity.
When celebrating a couple’s union, it’s important to keep in mind why people show up to weddings in the first place. The bride and groom are there to express their love to each other and vow to spend the rest of their lives together. Family and friends are there to support them.
I think it is up to everyone involved to keep those things in mind and be considerate of each other before and during wedding festivities. Here’s my advice for trying to do that:
- Single people, be good listeners when the bride is excitedly telling you what colors the flowers will be or the groom is debating where to take his bride on their honeymoon trip. Line up to catch the bouquet or garter if called upon to do so. Getting married can be stressful, and the bride and groom can use all the encouragement they can get. Remember, your wedding day could come someday, and you’d likely appreciate the same kind of support.
- Wedding couples, be aware that traditions that involve placing emphasis on someone’s marital status may not elicit a lot of enthusiasm from single people. Don’t take it personally. Your guests are there to support you in your marital bliss, but they likely don’t want to be reminded that they do not have spouses or betrothed of their own. But at the end of the day, it’s still fair to expect love and respect from all your guests as you and your spouse start your lives together.
- Married wedding guests, don’t nudge single guests at the reception and point out that they should begin looking for spouses of their own. If someone wants to get married someday, they are likely already aware of that. Instead, focus on celebrating the union of the couple you both just saw tying the knot. But if someone has done positive things in his or her life, you can also feel free to affirm them for that. After all, you cannot judge a person’s worth by how well they can woo another person.
Weddings are meant to be happy times for all involved. However, it never hurts to remember that not everyone involved with or attending a wedding is on the same stage in the arena of personal relationships.
Celebrate when you have the chance to see people making vows to spend the rest of their lives with each other. And, above all, focus on the positive.
Weddings can be full of unpredictable moments, both behind the scenes and within view of the attendees. I’ve heard story after story — from pouting ring bearers who don’t want to bear the rings to ripped wedding dress trains to an oil spill making the prospect of having a beach wedding a rather sticky situation.
But remembering the reason a wedding is happening in the first place makes attending one a much more meaningful experience, no matter what happens. Hopefully, the couple is so in love that any little obstacles won’t matter in the long run.
As for me, I’m thinking of changing “my” song to “Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Bublé. While I watch my marrying friends embark on their lives with their new spouses, I want to live out the kind of positivity I just suggested to you.
Don’t forget that you can still sing happy songs whether you’re in love or not. And whatever you do, don’t forget to dance.