Weddings As a Second Language

Asiago pinwheels or pesto ricotta tarts? Burnt lilies or mini gerberas? Invitations with or without vellum overlay? I’m not talking gibberish. I’m talking “weddings,” which have a separate language all their own.

My anniversary was last month and weddings are on my mind. When I was younger I dreamed of ice sculptures, double-digit bridesmaids and a dove release that would rival a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

But 10 years ago, when I married my now husband David, I decided I wanted a simple wedding. Unfortunately there’s no such thing. Planning a wedding of any size is about as simple as launching a space shuttle to Saturn. It also never stays as small as you want. One day you’re planning a cozy event in your backyard. The next day you’re wondering what it will cost to rent
the Superdome.    

And the decisions are endless. Take wedding invitations. Do you want that tissue paper thing or a satin bow? What theme? Two Doves One Love or Floral Fantasy? Embossing or engraving? I exhausted more energy on choosing my invitations than choosing my husband.

And who knew weddings were ruled by so many pesky traditions? Try to defy a single tradition by suggesting a pot-luck reception and you will hear loud protests from the wedding police, i.e., my mom.

Also I never realized how interested people are in weddings. Let me qualify. I never realized how interested women are in weddings. David was not badgered with questions like, “Vest or cummerbund? Rose or carnation for your boutonniere?” I, on the other hand, could announce that I’d discovered a cure for the common cold and my female friends would interrupt by saying, “Are you wearing your hair up or down?”

And everyone wanted to know about my dress. I decided on a teal, tea-length dress and planned to get shoes to match until a well-meaning friend said, “Nobody matches the shoes to the gown anymore! Don’t you read bride magazines?”

 I read a few and discovered they cater to young, blushing brides, not decrepit, Botox brides. Older brides need articles like “10 Gowns That Look Ravishing With Reading Glasses,” “Groom’s Ear Hair: Make Him Trim for the Big Day” or “How To Say Awake for Your Honeymoon.”

More than once I felt like running off to Vegas to get married by an Elvis impersonator. My rationale was that I wasn’t going to enjoy the wedding. Brides and grooms are continually whisked away for photographs even though they’re dying to swig champagne out of the bottle and stuff their faces with canapés.   

In the end I was glad I didn’t elope. The reception was a blur and I posed for more photographs than Jackie Kennedy during the Camelot years. But I will always remember exchanging my vows with David surrounded by our loved ones. It was one of the best moments of my life even if I didn’t get to sample the pesto ricotta tarts.  

Karin Gillespie celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary last month and plans to get caught up on her champagne drinking. Visist her at

This article appears in the June/July 2015 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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