So, I went to a wedding this weekend...

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So, I went to a wedding this weekend...

Post by Skip » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:24 am

Come out Virginia, don’t make me wait,
You Catholic girls start much too late…


This weekend I had the honor off attending the wedding of a young engineer who joined the company a couple years ago. It was a Catholic wedding – full mass even – at the couple’s alma mater. And a rather impressive facility it was, a quaint example of Gothic architecture, as would be expected of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame. The homily was wonderful, the bride’s family having brought in the priest who had performed their wedding ceremony, and after making note of the fact that he was very pleased to have the opportunity to speak from the very spot where popes had spoken, he talked of Celebration: the celebration of love; the celebration of marriage; the celebration of children; and the celebration of Christ and his Church.

There are many weddings at the Basilica on any weekend, so arranging for a continuous celebration of wedding and reception wasn’t practical with a ceremony finishing at noon. That, and too many opportunities for memorable wedding photos around the Notre Dame campus meant that the wedding party spent the next hour hiking about in the August heat and forcing smiles while the guests figured out where to have lunch and how to spend the hours until the reception. But the hours were finally consumed and all reconvened at a local country club for the second half of the festivities.

The reception started off with an open bar – always a good sign – and once everybody was seated the speeches and toasts began. I’ve attended many weddings and have to say that the majority of the verbiage here was the most uninspired I’ve heard, though an exception is easily made for the best man. The dinner was no better or worse than any other typical reception dinner and the crowd worked its way quickly through the courses, possibly to get to the dancing, but more likely to reopen the bar which had been curtained during the meal. Finally, the colorful lights were turned on, the house lights dimmed and the music began.

And oh, the music. Great hits from yester-year filled the air for the next hour. But which year, you ask? Well, nothing from later than about 1978 I’m sad to say, and much from prior to 1960. The bride was from Michigan (and there were indeed many comments from the Michigan relatives regarding their presence at the arch-rival’s facilities) and the vast majority of the wedding paraphernalia was shipped in for the event – including the disc jockey and his gear. We’d seen him loading equipment when we’d checked into the hotel, an older gentlemen working slowly and methodically as he arranged black cases carefully into the van. At that time we hadn’t considered the possibility of him being the wedding DJ, it being more likely that the hotel had recently played host to a gathering of 19th century thimble collectors. This music was exactly what we would’ve expected of him. Was this an example of a family friend brought in out of politeness? Could it be that Michigan was still that far behind? Or were the bride and groom really that, well, boring? The rather small dance area was half filled by a good cross-section of the guests, but I glanced several times at my watch, anticipating the time when it would be reasonable to move quietly to the door “just to step outside for some fresh air” and disappear back to something more exciting – like the Home Shopping Network.

Then it happened. Somehow the signal was given, the mysterious hand-signs passed from one to another, the proper passwords and counter-signs were received and verified, the curtains were drawn, the DJ nodded knowingly and three hours after it started, the reception began and didn’t slow down until it all ended two hours later.

Within five minutes, the wife and I admitted that we come from some of the most uptight, joyless, prim, proper, self-righteous, and – I save the worst for last – boring families on Earth. Having more than our fair share of Methodists, Baptists and off-shoots of both who thought the parent denominations too close to the edges of Sin, Good Taste and – the dreaded enemy of all righteousness – Fun, a good third of both sides of our family would’ve refused to attend simply because there was an open bar, and a few of the more picky would’ve avoided even if the bar had been closed, simply because there was liquor on the premises and the entire facility was thereby tainted, dedicated to the Evil One. Many who hadn’t avoided upon alcoholic grounds would’ve huffed their ways out the door when the music began, predicting acts of fornication upon the dance floor, leaving most of the remaining third of our collective blood-lines sitting at the tables furthest away from the music – the main topics of conversation being football and whichever family members weren’t present – while those few of us who had managed to throw off the fetters of our ridiculous Puritan upbringing danced, drank and laughed with the others – a half-dozen hedonistic pagans supposedly destined for an eternity in Hell. At least that’s what you’d hear were you to eavesdrop on the conversations of those now driving home, safe from the terrors of vertical sex with background music, stomachs bulging with a free meal, purses jingling with new flatware and all of that for the small cost of a ten-dollar Wal-Mart gift card.

Meanwhile, back to the Catholics, the dance music had finally begun and the floor became crowded and everybody joined in. And I mean everybody. Kids. Teens. Parents. Aunts. Uncles. And the grandmother. Eighty years old and eighty pounds, sleeveless dress and saggy arms, half blind and half deaf and out there screaming "I love rock and roll!" right along with Joan Jett, proving that she still had the moves and wasn’t afraid to use them. The wife and I knew beyond any doubt that our grandparents never had the moves unless they’d remembered the prune juice. The old girl was out there more than half the night, even when it was announced that the groom had a soft spot in his heart for a particular song that might be embarrassing and the DJ spun up I Like Big Butts. It got ugly then, as the dance floor was simply overtaken by the female sides of both families thirsty for blood. They cornered the groom and there was no escape; he was forced to dance with them all.

For the final dance, the bride and groom were pushed to the middle of the floor, all the guests made an immense circle around them and the DJ started up Billy Joel’s Piano Man. Hand in hand, arms around shoulders, swaying happily, the gathering serenaded the newlyweds, loudly and joyfully singing along as the happy couple swirled and embraced, surrounded by a loving family – a loving extended family – who had the peace of God upon them to not spend so much time looking at the real or imagined evils in the world and each other, but were there to celebrate the God-blessed u_nion of two of their own, joined for eternity, to love and to hold and to care for as Christ cares for his bride the Church, forever and ever, Amen.



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Post by Steverino » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:17 am

Quite well spoken, sir, I have felt a similar sentiment at many weddings I've been involved in. Take any pictures?
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Post by PipeAndPint » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:19 am

All this wedding talk, and no mention of whether or not cheese was present. I feel cheated.
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Post by Dug » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:26 am

Great post, Skip. I've had similar experiences (though not at my own, pre-Catholic wedding), and they're times to be cherished.

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Re: So, I went to a wedding this weekend...

Post by Skip » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:32 pm

Yeah, it's a zombie thread.

Yeah, it's a selfie bump.

I blame SlowToke; this is a happy memory.
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Re: So, I went to a wedding this weekend...

Post by hugodrax » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:09 pm

That I wouldn't have seen otherwise. Wish you'd have been to mine, brother. Two continents collided on the dance floor.

This is an awesome zombie.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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Re: So, I went to a wedding this weekend...

Post by AFRS » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:48 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:09 pm
That I wouldn't have seen otherwise. Wish you'd have been to mine, brother. Two continents collided on the dance floor.

This is an awesome zombie.
YOU are an awesome zombie. But a zombie nonetheless.

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Re: So, I went to a wedding this weekend...

Post by hugodrax » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:58 pm

Most lawyers suck a little blood from time to time, 'tis true .
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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Re:

Post by Del » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:42 pm

Steverino wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:17 am
Quite well spoken, sir, I have felt a similar sentiment at many weddings I've been involved in. Take any pictures?
Skip never did tell us if he took any pictures.
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