Champagne, Flowers and Family Ties

Andrea Freedman

A family wedding is not only an opportunity to reconnect with one’s relatives; it is also a chance for guests to feel like they are on the red carpet for just one night.

As we prepare for the upcoming event with eager anticipation, every detail of our finery is considered, not only suits, dresses and accessories, but right down to the undergarments. Strapless bras need to fit perfectly so that they do not fall or have to be constantly adjusted, not to mention necessary measures to prevent mascara from running or false eyelashes from drooping.

Men have it much easier, their biggest decision being which tie to wear with their suit or tuxedo but for women, the lead-up to a big family wedding, especially if it is a black tie affair, sends some of us into Academy Award mode. The right dress and of course shoes are the first step.

Costs escalate. There are also manicures, hair dos and makeup to consider but let’s face it, part of what these parties are for is a chance to get dressed up and feel beautiful. Sometimes we can get carried away and spend more money than anticipated, before even taking the gift into consideration.

The bridesmaids’ dresses will no doubt be scrutinized as the ladies wearing them make their way down the isle, but when the dry ice on the dance floor is cleared, the bride is really the only person that all eyes are going to be on.

Upon arrival, family members check each other out and exchange compliments on dress choices. Some are happy when they discover they will be sitting at the same table, while others not so much.

Some distant relatives we have not seen for a while may appear older, while others look surprisingly youthful and spry. There are murmurs such as “She must have had work done” and of course, inevitably, gossip.

Occasionally there may be someone we dread seeing at a family wedding, putting a damper on an event we might otherwise feel excited about. Often the dread is worse than the outcome.

Of course someone is bound to drink too much. Hopefully whatever happens, since it is all in the family, everyone will be laughing about it the next day, without regrettable incidents as the result of heated arguments between any of the intoxicated guests.

With so many divorced and blended families these days, it is sometimes also a night for old resentments to be put aside. People tend to seem more generous of spirit and forgiving on such a special day, reminding them of what really matters.

It is always nice to see older people enjoying themselves at weddings. They are part of what makes a family party more meaningful and they add soul to a family celebration. Absences of family members who have passed on are accepted as part of life but felt deeply nonetheless.

Family weddings are a nice reminder of how it feels to belong, with your family. No matter how much time has gone by since some of us have seen one another, there is always a special feeling between us.

Personally, I do not look my best after I’ve had a few drinks, which usually occurs early on in the festivities. Not to mention how sweaty I get on the dance floor; in a way it reminds me of the days when I used to go clubbing, horrified when I make a trip to the ladies’ room and see my hair plastered to my head and mascara running down my face.

It doesn’t matter though. I’m with my family. Once the shoes are kicked off, favourite songs danced to, tears shed out of happiness and feelings of nostalgia when we listen to the speeches, it is a time to relax, eat, drink and have fun. Anything goes; it’s all in the safety of the cocoon of our families.

There is warmth at a family wedding unlike any other. The feeling in the room is something everyone in attendance can agree on. We all have that in common, sharing yet another family party to chalk up in our book of memories. Friends’ weddings are special too, but there is nothing quite the same as sharing in such an important event with one’s family.

As we welcome someone new into our fold, we look forward to future gatherings and celebrations, where we will have a chance to get to know our new family member even better.

Toward the end of the evening, promises are made to get together with relatives before the next big family function. Sometimes those promises are kept and sometimes they are not, well-intentioned undertakings to stay in touch falling to the wayside when other things in life get in the way.

Once we get home and change into something more comfortable, it is time to talk about the dresses, the food, ambience and conversations we had with others at the wedding. The fragrance of flowers permeates our home if we are lucky enough to take a centre piece with us upon leaving.

The afterglow lasts long after a family wedding is over and the fun had by all binds us together again, reminds us who are most important in our lives, and makes us look forward to the next time we have a chance to walk the red carpet together.♦

Copyright © Andrea Freedman 2013

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About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on June 3, 2013, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sounds like you went to a “special” wedding!

    Like

  2. Phil and Gloria Freedman

    This is such an accurate account about what happens when invited to a Family Wedding. We talk about it for weeks and anticipate the wonderful time, or not, we will have there. We hope it turns out as we plan it will, enjoying our family’s company and enjoying ourselves to the fullest. It is almost like being on the “Red Carper”. It’s a good thing this doesn’t happen too often because we should be free to enjoy all the other aspects of our lives, and be with our families when we want to feel the most warmth and comfort. Good Work.

    Like

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