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Emptying A Room

December 24, 2017

Our friend’s daughter recently got married, and we were invited.  It was one of those modern weddings where everyone lives all over the place and people had come from all over the world for the Big Day.  This is important—people came from all over the world to be together—presumably at the request of the bride and groom.

Initially, the wedding didn’t disappoint.  It was in a really fancy place and the entire event was contained on a single floor—the ceremony in one room, cocktails in another and dinner in a third.  There were ocean views.

The ceremony was dignified and short.  After the wedding, instead of making the guests stand around while the party got pictures taken, they had a really nice cocktail hour with drinks and nice snacks.  It was a great way to meet people and mingle.

Then we went to dinner.  If I hadn’t already known it was an expensive wedding, the dining room would have been all the evidence I needed.  Tables were tastefully decorated.  In fact the whole room was beautifully decorated.  Seating was assigned and each guest had a name card and menu.  Not only that, there was a bottle of Scotch whiskey on each table, so guests could help themselves.  And I’m not talking airplane sized bottles.  They were the real thing.

The wedding table was on a raised platform and stretched across half the room. In the center of the room was a modest dance floor and band set up.

We settled into our seats and were introducing ourselves to our table mates when things started to hint at going horribly wrong.

There was a thunderclap of drums and brass that would have put a twenty-one gun salute to shame and a young man in a suit twirled into the middle of the dance floor like a televangelist.  He held a microphone and introduced himself as our MC for the night.  He promised that he would personally ensure that “everyone” would dance their feet off before the night was over.

I was confused.  He wasn’t the best man.  In fact, he had been hired to make sure we all had a good time.  We had been up till he showed up.  He behaved like the most over-enthusiastic cruise director or camp counsellor.  He was just too, too happy about the whole thing.  And he stubbornly mispronounced the names of the bride and groom.

Before we go any further, let me interrupt with some commentary.  A lot of our friend’s kids are getting married these days and we go to a lot of weddings.  I don’t want to sound like too much of an old fart, but I enjoy meeting and talking to people at weddings and at several of the weddings we’ve been to lately that hasn’t been possible because the music has been too loud.  Once I put a teaspoon on a tea cup and the seismic vibrations of the bass from the DJs kit vibrated it right off because the noise was so loud.

So I had come prepared.  With industrial earplugs that I picked up in a factory I’d visited.  How dorky is that?

It was too early to deploy the ear plugs, but I wanted to, as a band of at least 10 people with drums and brass and electric guitars exploded while the MC introduced the wedding party and other VIPs.  There was then an extended period of frenzied dancing and the noise and chaos cannot be described.  When I say extended I mean long.  Unnecessarily long.  And the “dancing.” It was as if the crowd on the dance floor were possessed.  Slam dancing I understood.  I thought Black Flag were great.  But this was in a different league. I started to think we were going to have to recall the priest to do some exorcisms.

At one point, the guitars and brass faded away only to be replaced by mind (and ear) numbing drumming that sounded more like a blacksmith pounding on an anvil.  Is that a new thing?  Metal drums?  You both heard and felt them.

Our prayers of “please make it stop,” were finally answered.

We then had a fantastic dinner, with nice speeches by various parties.  But as the tables were being cleared the band came back.

With a vengeance.

My earplugs only made it less painful.  People were literally sitting at the tables with their hands over their ears.  Others vainly appealed to the parents of the B&G.  It only got worse.  It was a live band with at least three guitarists, four brass and two drummers plus a male and female singer.  It wasn’t a wedding, it was a concert.  And we were unwilling participants in the mosh pit.

A few stalwarts stuck it out for dessert, but most fled to the (relative—you couldn’t really escape) calm of the other rooms.   Even young people walked out holding their heads.

In the meantime, the Bacchanal continued in the wedding hall.

Outside, we were able to converse with long lost friends and lots of pictures were taken.  When we got home we downloaded them with the intention of sharing them.  But we can’t because everyone has this wide eyed, Village of the Damned look.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 24, 2017 3:34 pm

    I guess I’ve been too old since I was a teenager. I still have vivid memories of escaping a basement “party” for some contemporary in high school’s birthday and waiting in the kitchen with her affable and interesting mother for my parents to pick me up.

    I might do something really unpleasant to that emcee guy. I know all the vulnerable pain intensive trigger points on the human body.

  2. December 25, 2017 8:02 pm

    Yes, I’ve been to a wedding like that and lived to tell the tale. Thankfully all our friends’ children are married.

  3. December 26, 2017 2:26 pm

    T E… lol. Okay it’s possible that your annoyance at the band and emcee is generational. I know it’s a real concern that people feel like they are at a party, and have “fun,” as the generations progress. I remember in past years… everyone’s dilemma with wanting to have the live entertainment be jumping, while not wanting to alienate the older generation present, with “too much.”

    Maybe some don’t necessarily succeed lol.

    But the younger generation is very concerned with not having their friends/co-workers, whatever, be bored. So … emcee. And honestly I actually kind of like that, it takes the pressure off the speech portion and infects (or is supposed to) folks with a casualness of demeanor. Doesn’t always work, since by picture time everyone appeared like they had been through an ordeal. Lol.

    Well I hope it was at lest nice SEEING the old friends… 🙂

    • December 27, 2017 8:34 am

      Thanks for an alternative viewpoint. Your comment on not having friends etc. be bored is interesting and I am sympathetic to that. In fact, a lot of us were saying that they should have had a separate party for the dancing, etc. But a lot of the people who were walking out with their hands over their ears were in their teens and twenties. It was painful!

      Getting a right balance with a diverse intergenerational crowd is probably always going to be a challenge (did I mention they said no children in the invitations?) and further complicated by a wedding being both a family and non family function.

      • January 6, 2018 3:48 pm

        Oh! LOL. Then that was the entertainment selected.

        They said no children in the invitations? er…wow. Alienating and awkward.

        Me oh my, the final outcome of a wedding sounds challenging to all parties involved. Lol. Gee…

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