Odd ceremony choices

When The Beard and I were engaged, no less than three people felt the need to chime in regarding marriage ceremonies they’d recently attended. They gravely implored us in all seriousness not to incorporate an interpretive dancer into our ceremony. We thought they were kidding, but no.

That’s right – real life brides and grooms with whom they were acquainted had brought in someone proficient in the art of modern dance to interpret their spoken vows in motion. It’s not that I’m dissing the dancer so much as that I’m surprised the couples in question didn’t host any cultural performances either before the wedding to amuse guests during the tedious pre-nuptial waiting period or afterward, as a lark during the reception.

It is your wedding, after all, and if interpretive dance is your thing, then by all means forge ahead. If it’s not your thing, perhaps you and your intended are proficient in the art of fisticuffs?

She really knocks him out

One Russian couple made up of two pro boxers tied the knot in a boxing ring, exchanging professional-grade punches during the ceremony. A punch, I think, is probably one of oddest ceremonial supplementations you’ll encounter.

If you’re a lover, not a fighter, there’s always the matrimonial Jell-O bath, as one justice of the peace was surprised to find out:

Getting off the elevator, I could smell the scent of candy or some reasonable facsimile. When I knocked on the door, both voices said “Come right in, it’s open.” I walked in and to my astonishment they were in a whirlpool bath filled with orange Jell-O. I said, “What’s going on in here?” They said that they were executives for the Jell-O Corporation and it was their fantasy to get married in it. They had talked about it throughout their courtship and decided that this was how they would exchange their vows. I said, “Do I have to get in with you?” NO. “Do you at least have bathing suits on?” Just for the ceremony, they said.

Different strokes for different folks, right? Or not — plenty of commenters have weighed in over the life of this blog to say that they feel that matrimonial oddities do little more than make guests exceedingly uncomfortable and thus represent quite a severe breach of good and proper etiquette.

I am unapologetic about the fact that my opinion tends to err in the opposite direction. I say, don’t let popular opinion stop you from saying weird vows, busting a slick groove, playing weird music, being escorted down the aisle by your schnauzer, or exchanging body jewelry instead of wedding bands.

But, lest we forget that there may be certain conservative folks on your guest list, don’t think you have a total free pass to do what you will, sans consequences. Maverick brides and grooms may find that some guests simply can’t help but gasp or snicker right then and there, and that furthermore they’re the talk of the entire family (or even of the entire town) for many years to come!

3 Responses to “Odd ceremony choices”

  1. Twistie says:

    It really can be a fine line, NtB. After all, I find it difficult to imagine anything more distracting than someone doing an interpretive dance of the vows, unless it’s the spectacle of the bride and groom punching one another in the face. I don’t care if you’re a professional boxer, that just doesn’t look good.

    I do agree, though, that it’s good to do something relective of your unique relationship during the ceremony. For instance, in most cases someone singing to their new spouse at the altar tends to look pretentious to me. But a few years ago, I attended a lovely wedding where the groom sang a song from an Adam Sandler movie to his bride in the middle of the ceremony. It was a silly, tacky little song but we all knew it had played an important part in the couple’s courtship. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house…er…backyard.

    A few years earlier, I went to another wedding where I cried. In this case it wasn’t because of some touching touch, but rather because the bride’s personality was pretty much completely absent. It was one of the worst weddings I’ve ever attended.

    It’s a matter of considering how your guests will react and what the activity/performance/item in question will say to them as well as to you. But it’s important to relfect you in your wedding somewhere and somehow.

  2. Melissa B. says:

    I’m all for unique weddings. I love stories about skydivers getting married in a plane right before taking their first jump together as husband and wife, or what have you. But I agree that couples should be prepared for mixed reactions from some guests — personally if I wanted to have a really non-traditional wedding, I’d keep the guest list tiny and only invite people who I was sure would understand and be supportive of the kind of ceremony we were having. And for pete’s sake, tell your officiant beforehand if you plan to do something really off-the-wall like get married in a pool of Jell-o! Letting the poor guy walk into that situation unprepared was pretty rude, IMHO.

  3. Never teh Bride says:

    Can you just imagine what the look on the JotP’s face must have been, Melissa B.? My eyes would have plain popped out of my head!