After 500 Weddings

After 500 Weddings
by M.M. Genet and Michele Roger

Originally published at

Your Maid of Honor has confirmed that the flower garland is elegantly wrapped around the archway in the garden where your grandparents were married. (Just like you planned with your florist.)

Your guests have filled the rows and rows of chairs that form the aisle way where you will tread lightly and beautifully in your dress. (A dress that you’ve had altered three times.)

The people you love most join you in the most beautiful vision of your bright future. (Okay, at least one of your parents or soon-to-be in-laws is planning for that future to include grandchildren and NOT a grand-dog.)

And here I am, playing the well planned soundtrack to wedding day.  Moment by moment, your day is cherished and captured in your heart much like the digital frames snapped by your rockstar photographer.  And hopefully all your guests will respect your request to refrain from posting on Facebook until after the professional pictures have been posted.  (Your favorite uncle will get drunk and post but the picture will be blurry and your cousin will delete it before you even notice.)

I play at least twenty-five weddings a year.  Sometimes I play more.  Maybe I’ve played for yours.  Twenty-five weddings per year multiplied by twenty years of performing.  This year, I will have played my 500th wedding.  Here are some things that I’ve learned from those 500 weddings and the brides and grooms I’ve run into afterwards.

Plant a garden, even if you work sixty hours a week.  Plant an herb garden, even if that means buying the biggest pot of rosemary and setting it out on your patio next to the deck chairs that look great but you never sit in.  Then, invite those same grandparents over.  Break them out (or sign them out) of their assisted living apartment and sit with them.  In the chairs.  Next to the rosemary.  With a bottle of champagne (not tea.)  They used to be fun.  Help them remember how much fun.  Take notes.  They were probably cooler than you.

Sell your wedding dress or your tuxedo.  While the sentiment is nice, rarely will your future son or daughter want to wear your vintage wedding duds.  If they do, it will altered to such a state that you will not recognize it.  Are you okay with that?  Yes.  Vacuum seal away.  No?  There is a bride or groom on a shoestring budget who will appreciate your discounted attire.

I’ve written about this before but, if you’re going to have theme music for your wedding at least pick something classical or timeless.  You’ll thank me in twenty years.

And lastly, be sure to thank all those people who couldn’t contain their joy (or their vodka and tonics) and posted pictures of your wedding on Facebook or Instagram before your photographer did.  These are the pictures, conveniently timestamped by social media, that you missed. In the years to come, these are the pictures that you will treasure like gold because you missed that entire subsection of the evening. These are the photos of your octogenarian aunt sneaking out to smoke in the parking lot with the twenty somethings while the rest of us health conscious people assumed she went outside to lecture them.  It’s the pic the flower girl snapped accidentally while looking for her favorite game on her mom’s cell phone.  She just so happened to capture your mom staring at you with tears in her eyes and mascara running down her cheeks.

Wedding perfection is the three and four year old ring bearer and flower girl dancing in the aisle instead of leading the wedding party.  It’s your brother in another country attending via Skype.  It’s a bride who’s so nervous that she has to breathe into a paper bag and delays the wedding by twenty minutes.  It’s the groom getting dressed and discovering his mom secretly swapped out dress his shoes for running shoes in his tuxedo bag, just in case he changes his mind at the last minute.

Weddings are about love but not in the way it’s sold to us on tv or social media.  Weddings are about all the out-of-the-box experiences, both good and bad that define not only who we love but how we love.