There comes a time in everyone's life when he or she decides to find a partner and tie the knot. Jump the broom. Get hitched. Be committed to an institution.
As I mentioned last time, it can be a trying time. A bride is faced with many difficult decisions, such as: Should I get engraved invitations? What color shoes should everyone wear? And, oh yes, perhaps I should think about what I want in a life partner?
So, in an effort to make your life easier, I have used my several days of experience as a bride-to-be to bring you Chandra's Comprehensive Guide To Wedding Terms (not available in stores):
Invitation List: A strange group of names that will expand exponentially, inversely proportional to how much you have budgeted for your wedding. This means that if you have a $200 budget, your guest list will have approximately 3000 names on it. It's based on the “You can't invite Cousin Ethel without including Uncle James” principle, also known as the Theory of Relativity.
Wild Animal Release: A recent trend is to release things like doves or butterflies at a key point in the wedding. This is totally unnecessary. If you serve alcohol at the reception, there will be plenty of wild animals about.
Bridesmaid Dresses: A horrible rite, wherein the bride insists on dressing her bridesmaids in ghastly pastels, bows and poofy bits they wouldn't be caught dead in otherwise. Here, the bride is making a key fashion statement to her so-called best friends which is: “Neener, neener, you're still single and I'm not.”
Receiving Line: A strange ritual, where the bride and groom stand for hours after the ceremony, greeting each of their 3000 guests and pretending they have some clue who everyone is. See also Invitation List.
Crying: What the father of the bride usually does if she insists on 'traditional' arrangements, and makes him pay for the $25,000 wedding.
Bridal Lag: Scientists have only recently documented and named this phenomenon. Within about 2.3 minutes of your engagement announcement, your mother and mother-in-law-to-be will start planning your wedding for you. This is because their own parents took over their wedding, because their own parents took over their wedding, and so on, resulting in a permanent, one generation 'bridal lag.'
Micromanage: What you do not want to do at your wedding. Honest, no one will notice if your eye shadow does not exactly match the color of your bouquet. Unless you're the groom.
Adjectives: What everyone will be overusing on “the big day.” For example, the bride will be described as “radiant” and “glowing,” as though she has suddenly become radioactive.
Wedding Photographer: A cynical sort who, after 30 years in the business, will take all kinds of lovely, romantic pictures of you and your partner, and then hand you his business card for the next time around.
Wedding Cake: A heavy confection made of two parts cement, one part fruit, and enough sugar icing to keep 578 dentists in business for decades. Architects are looking at this material for earthquake proof houses.
Bridal Shop: A retail store where perfectly ordinary items like cloth napkins and high-heeled shoes have both the word “wedding” and a 4000% price mark-up stamped on them.
Flower Shops: Possibly the masterminds behind the commercialization of weddings. After all, a central feature of any modern wedding is supposed to be elaborate (read: expensive) flower arrangements. I'm sure we also have them to thank for inventions like Sweetest Day and Secretary's Day.
Speeches: Like most 'ritual event speeches' these are likely to be A) Long, B) Boring, C) Embarrassing or D) All of the above. (Although in my case, the speeches were both funny and touching.)
Exhilarated: What you will be at the end of the day, because whether your wedding was big or small, perfect or a disaster, it was a wonderful day.
To read more of Chandra's work, visit www.ChandraKClarke.com.