My Turn

 Tom Kirvan

Legal News, Editor-in-Chief
Over the past two years, I’ve attended eight weddings, most of them involving friends of my son, who at 32 years of age is still enjoying the freedom of bachelorhood. 
If and when he decides to get married, I have suggested he might consider the possibility of an elopement, pocketing the cash that his parents might have spent on the wedding and banking it instead for something of more lasting value than a photo album full of fleeting memories.
My late father, a newspaper columnist and PR consultant for more than five decades, looked upon large weddings with some disdain, expressing as much in one of his final columns:
“In my limited experience,” he wrote, “crowds don’t disperse as readily from over-blown weddings. They settle down for a big ‘sit in,’ in a glorious attempt to outlast the happy couple, and the poor father’s supply of liquid refreshments.
“The blissful young couple – who in most cases have yet to make an orthodontist payment, replace a leaky roof, or attend a PTA meeting – escape only after several hours of handshaking, tearful endearments from un-remembered aunts, a multitude of lame quips from their dearest friends, and after feeding each other sticky globs of tasteless cake.
“When you wander through the reception line (while the more seasoned guests are clustered around the punch bowl), you feel like a feathered nut, explaining to both bride and groom (in 3 seconds) who you are and what you are doing there.
“I’ve boiled it down to ‘I play golf with your dad, good luck, and we sent the silver bud vase.’
“After you drink two cups of punch and pour a third down the back of your neck to relieve the tension, you find many others who have little excuse to be on the guest list – except to bulk it to the desired number of 250, or 300, or however many is fashionable this year.
“Perhaps I’m condemning large weddings without just cause. I just happen to believe that weddings, like anniversaries and funerals, should be family affairs.
“In fact, there is much to be said for a small, family gathering. You do not inflict the cost of a bridal outfit upon a half-dozen unsuspecting fathers who may never have heard of the two major participants, but whose daughters were tabbed as bridesmaids.
“Also, at a small wedding you are well-acquainted with all your guests. You know how they’ll dress and how they’ll act. You know the black sheep who can’t even dip into the light alcoholic punch without becoming a basket case, so you handle the timing of refreshments accordingly.”
His words make perfect sense, especially after I witnessed one too many tipsy episodes at a recent exchange of wedding rings last month. It didn’t take long before the guilty parties were put into mothballs, sparing the rest of the wedding celebrants any unintended embarrassment. 
It reminded me well of the immortals words of George Burns, the ageless comedian who made it past the century mark before passing away in 1996. Said Burns: “I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.”


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