By Ken Bradbury
There may be a dumber idea than for a bachelor to write a column about how to plan a wedding, but I’m just enough of a curmudgeon to attempt it. I do have some experience having provided music for several hundreds of the events over the years, and so in my mind I may have been the only truly objective eye at the ceremony. As the Illinois prairie begins to thaw a young couple’s thoughts may turn toward the altar, so if any of you are planning your nuptials for this spring or summer, here’s a little advice from an old grouch.
1. If you want to have a lousy wedding then wait until the night of rehearsal to plan things out. Don’t meet with the minister or wedding planner ahead of time; just have a general idea of what you’d like to happen tomorrow. Your wedding party, who’ve traveled long distances and paid for their own hotel rooms, will be delighted to stand around, hungry, while you decide who should stand where and say what to whom. After all, this is your special day, so we’re all delighted to spend the evening listening to you make decisions that could have been settled weeks ago.
2. Choose a ring bearer and flower girl who are way too young to be counted upon to not disrupt things. It’s very important that after your parents have shelled out tens of thousands of dollars and you’ve purchased a wedding dress – the cost of which will equal your first mortgage payment – that all our attention will be diverted to your nephew or niece who look so darling and will refuse to go down the aisle, cry through the service, or scratch themselves in unfortunate places during the wedding vows.
3. Tell your mother that it’s your wedding and you want it done your way. This will put you on a loving footing with your laws and in-laws for the first ten years of your marriage. Ignore the fact that mom and dad are paying for most of this and that they’ve been to a few weddings before yours.
4. Ask the organist to play your favorite songs from the current Top Ten list of pop music. Beyonce and Cold Play sound really good on a hundred-year-old pipe organ.
5. Even though you know everyone in the audience, you’ll greet them all again at your reception, and they’ve arrived forty-five minutes early then sat through the entire ceremony. Please drag things out a bit longer by having the bride and groom enter the church after the ceremony and greet us all one at a time as you let us out of the pew. Church pews and suits are really comfy. We’re having a great time and the organist will be delighted to dig deeper and deeper into her pile of postlude music, eventually getting down to “The Greatest Hits of the Carpenters.”
6. Start the ceremony late. After all, it’s your special day and we enjoy staring at the church’s Lenten decorations.
7. Hire a DJ who thinks he’s doing sound for The Grateful Dead with a volume that will delight your aunts from Indiana who haven’t seen in each other for years and are trying to carry on a conversation. It helps if you pick a sound guy who thinks he’s the main attraction.
8. Completely ignore the fact that this is most likely a house of God and that the congregation will be holding services here tomorrow. Don’t assign a cleanup crew, and let the parishioners on Sunday enjoy the ribbons on the floor, the rice in the carpet, and the used Kleenex stuffed into the hymnal racks.
9. Don’t send any thank you notes after the wedding. After all, it was our pleasure to make your special day special. In fact, we should have paid you for the opportunity to take part.
10. Play lots of little tricks on each other during the service. Have the best man pretend to lose the ring, paint funny messages on the soles of the groom’s shoes, throw in a few unplanned lines in your wedding vows. These are all so original and creative. We will be delighted.
My apologies to anyone who found peculiarities of their own wedding in this list. Be assured that I am not talking about you … just those other people. Besides, I’m old and single so what do I know?