The end of June is the hallmark for many different summer staples: gleeful kids relishing being out of school, pesky mosquitos and twinkling fireflies, and of course, wedding season. There are couples taking advantage of the mild warmth and lush flora to finally say their “I do’s”, as well as many surprised brides-to-be saying yes and beginning to plan their own very special days down the road. ‘Popping the question’ seems to be a phrase that is rapidly going out of style as proposals are becoming more and more elaborate in recent times. Simply presenting a ring is old school now; I’ve seen people propose on beautiful mountain tops, at Disney World, with a note on a dog’s collar, and even in the midst of plummeting through the air while skydiving.
There is some serious effort that goes into the planning of creating the perfect proposal. The notion of fashioning an unforgettable moment to promise forever is undeniably and incredibly romantic, and many pull it off down to the tiniest details. Last summer when camping at Swallow Falls Park with my mom, we witnessed two young guys who told us they came all the way from California to set up small pink tape marks to create the perfect trail for one of their buddies, marking the place he should finally propose, where they were going to also be hiding to photograph the whole thing.
One of my close friends, Addie Dyson, has recently become engaged to the love of her life. They met during Addie’s first year at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and now over three years later her boyfriend Aaron proposed to her while on a trip to Boston and she happily said yes! It’s so exciting to see the people we know and care about meeting the right person for them and planning their loves together. I love to see so many very personalized and meaningful proposals, and the trend for ‘promposals’ has sprung up as well.The desire to make a special someone feel how important they are is always a beautiful thing, but in some instances it seems to have become a competition; the grand gestures are sometimes so orchestrated and publicized that I wonder if it’s for the person or the audience.
Okay, now it’s confession time. As much as I consider myself to be a diehard romantic, I actually despise wedding season. I’ve had a lot of fun at weddings and my heart wells just as much as the next guy, but I’m also guilty of hiding in the bathroom when slow songs come on, or sneaking out early in the night, and if I come to your wedding at all then you know you’re pretty special. There are plenty of things I love about weddings; watching the groom’s expression when he finally glimpses his bride (27 Dresses anyone?), getting to see their first dance as a married couple, and of course all of the beautiful decorations and ambiance. The sparkling lights, the flower arrangements, the different color schemes and of course the cake and desserts. Every wedding has a personal touch of the couple, and everyone works so hard to make the day perfect for them.
I am personally very fond of the new tendency for weddings to be held in dressed-up barns, and outdoor weddings are my favorite. There are so many fun traditions during receptions that have equally interesting backgrounds. It’s always a good time seeing the bride throw the bouquet, where superstition is that whoever catches it will be the next one married. This tradition traces back to England, and stems from common situations where apparently the unmarried women in attendance would try to tear off parts of the bride’s dress or flowers, so the bride would throw the bouquet forthem to fight over while she ran away to escape. Voila! A fun new game was born. Of course it’s always heartwarming and hilarious to hear the toasts given by friends and family, filled with memories and well-wishes. The honeymoon is an example of a custom with intriguing origins; this comes from the common necessity in old times for the groom to legitimately whisk the bride away so her clan or family couldn’t find her, with the help of the best man of course, who was usually a capable fighter to ensure things went smoothly or the bride didn’t get cold feet and flee. The more you know!
So when there’s so much to enjoy, you’re probably a little confused about why I say I dislike weddings. Despite all of the lovely traditions filled with so much meaning, I’ve been to far too many weddings where I’ve observed that the bride and groom barely get to spend it with one another. They have their designated time slots (the dance, the cake, etc.), but too often they seem to be on separate sides of the room trying to ensure that all of the guests are having fun and everything is running smoothly. Sometimes it seems like weddings are well-oiled machines, perhaps too well-oiled. Every newlywed deserves to live out their fantasy, whether that be the perfect venue, song, dress or cake. However, I wish for all newlyweds and guests to remember what the real fantasy is- promising to spend the rest of your life with the one you love. If your lives together begin with a night spent trying to please others instead of enjoying one another, that is a bad habit to begin. So maybe I don’t necessarily dislike weddings so much after all, rather I just want to see more weddings focused on the love everyone is there to celebrate in the first place! Oh, and about that perfect wedding cake? Just look at what a beautiful job Mill Stream Farm does, with every cake customized so that everyone’s special day is a little bit more magical. Happy wedding season!