Wedding Video Fails: Gravity, Cakes & Penguin Poop

Two years of middle school gymnastics has led to a bridesmaid concussion and a pending Aenta claim at the local Urgent Care.

A lifetime of paying for therapy after being constantly reminded, “Yeah, well, you THREW ME ON THE GROUND trying to catch Second Cousin Lydia’s bouquet.”

It is indeed a Bittersweet Symphony when your wedding is remembered for the intrusive videography AND your dress trying to abandon ship pre-ceremony.

Generally can be summed up as – Walking is hard (especially when real drunk or wearing a gown). And, belts are fairly important.

Also, if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on a wedding cake, it might also be a good idea to invest in a sturdy table.

A compilation of falling, running, knocking over cake, breaking things, penguin poop, lost security deposits, and impending divorces. And, a random naked dude at 1:25. Also, the epic dancing at 2:28 is also amazing.

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Traditions: Fingering the Garter, Symbols of Virginity, and Public Mortification

Picture a lovely wedding in a floral bedecked reception hall, guests more than a few free drinks into the evening milling about post-cake looking for a bit of wedding revelry.

“Ah, look, it’s time for the garter and bouquet toss!”

“I know! Such an exciting tradition! I never catch it though…One time my aunt Suzy literally knocked over four bridesmaids to catch the bouquet though.”

“Yeah. Besides, it’s so awkward when the groom dives under the bride’s skirt for the garter, especially when they do things like put on goggles and gloves, or drunkenly reenact Magic Mike in front of Oma. No one wants to see that…”

This isn’t awkward at all.

Enter nosey third guest, likely clutching an Old Fashioned and wearing sensible shoes (a sure sign this is not her first wedding adventure).

“Well, did you know that the garter toss originates from an early 14th century French tradition called ‘Fingering the Garter’ and has evolved as a way to protect the bride from literally being felt up on her undercarriage by drunken wedding guests trying to confirm she was no longer a virgin post-nuptial shindig?” (Hiccup.)

“Way to ruin a fun party, Cucumber.”

This video is only 2 minutes long and so excruciating to watch I had to stop it several times. It’s also been viewed over 125,000 times. Ugh, why is this a thing?! Should you want to spend a dreadful afternoon watching terrible male strip-dancing in front of huge families, elaborate prop usage, and a mortified women wearing expensive gowns trying to look amused, Youtube is a wealth of awful garter videos.

So, the garter toss. When starting the whole wedding planning shenanigans a few months ago, we made a general list of traditions worth doing and others that we both found questionable. And, then when looking at the history of the garter toss, the tradition I have always hated the most or at least unhappily cringed through at every wedding, I felt oh so vindicated as the origins of the tradition are, well, really appalling. If you are a garter toss enthusiast/wedding sadist, you might want to skip the rest of this all.

Weddings in most cultures have been considered a special moment to transfer luck or fortune, be it money, land, inheritance, good fortune, the possibility of future weddings, etc. In ye olden European wedding traditions, obtaining a trinket from the bride was always thought to be a harbinger of luck or at least future nuptials. After the couple exchanged vows, the attendees would sometimes rush up to the bride, ripping sections of her wedding finery off of her in order to obtain some of her wedding providence. The bride, in order to protect herself and her fashion choices, would then sometimes throw favors to the crowd, scarves, tokens, ribbons, garters, in order to make it to her own reception. If not quick enough though, her clothing and her garter would be forcibly removed, attendees flipping over the bride to remove her garters with her skirts over her head.

Nothing like a few vows followed by a public ripping of your hand-sewn skirt to start out a life together! Ah, the romance of marriage!

Meanwhile, the whole virginity and consummation of the marriage was pretty important, too (understatement of the 9th through 20th century). Post-wedding ceremony, couples would retire to the wedding chamber to consummate their marriage in order to make it all legally binding and ascertain the bride was an untouched virgin (and thus all offspring where genetically linked to the groom and his inheritance). Guests were then invited up to the room to see the groom’s deflowering handiwork, usually in the form of showing off the bed linens with their telltale post-virgin blood stain OR claiming the bride’s garter as a symbol of said consummation (likely a leftover from the tradition of the wedding girdle removal). In French the term for this was “fingering the garter,” guests checking to see if the bride was no longer a virgin by feeling near her garter.

Let’s just pause here for a moment and try to envision that happening. Ah, the romance!

As pieces of the bride’s clothing were considered good fortune, likely inebriated guests (as humans are at least generally consistent in their revelry) would then sometimes snatch at the (most likely terrified as I cannot imagine this being pleasant) bride’s remaining clothing in order to grab hold of said good luck plus some souvenir lingerie. In English traditions, guests would sneak into the marriage chamber to then attempt to throw discarded lingerie and stockings on the couple, whoever hit the noses of the couple with a stocking being the next to marry. (Do NOT get any ideas, dear friends.)

In order to protect the bride from this groping crowd, grooms began throwing the garter to the mobs in order to keep them at a distance from their new bride. Lo, the garter toss was born.

The garter toss has also evolved over time, some grooms throwing to a sedately assembled crowd, some to a competing forces, and some taking the garter on a whirlwind ride by horseback or foot race. (Thinking about this aspect and the percentage of friends I have who run marathons, this could be a long and tiring race for a scrap of lace.)

In modern times, the garter toss has been paired with the bridal bouquet toss as a parting symbol of departing marital luck. The modern garter toss also seem have made its way to a new intersection of awkward and kitsch, grooms grinding on their new wives to the amusement/horror of their watching families and incorporating props such as magnifying glasses, car jacks, flashlights, goggles, and forceps. (So classy! Ah, romance!)

Another thing that has become recently popular (Thanks, the Wedding Industry Machine) is the FOOTBALL GARTER TOSS. The menfolk can now forcefully toss a football into their male cohort with the attached garter, symbolizing their innate manliness whilst handling the lady’s lacy elastic band with a bit of manly oomph. Okay, so I get it’s a chance to toss a football (which is fun!), but the very genderedness of this whole thing just drives me slightly crazy. Also, way more likely to result in black eyes.

Ugh.

Personally, I cannot imagine inviting Pastry to rustle around under my skirt in view of our combined communities in order to divest me of a symbol of my (spoiler alert – long past) virginity. Departing good will, luck, and hope of love to our guests is fairly important, but I’m pretty sure we can figure out a way to do so without a bit of my lingerie attempting to learn how to fly.

On the gender flipside, why not rip Pastry’s decorative, superhero-themed jock strap off him and slingshot it into the crowd of waiting ladies instead? I could dance around him to Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle,” doing my best Demi Moore Striptease impression, to them pull out a tiny pair of bandage scissors to pantomime cutting his underwear/jock strap off of him, eventually reaching for a giant prop chainsaw to mime the difficultly of the task. The DJ would then switch to R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” as I slingshot Pastry’s underoos into the crowd of elated single women, yelling, “Enjoy that ever so slightly sweaty intimate apparel, ladies, you might get married next!”

(This has great potential, really.)

For the actual wedding, if Pastry doesn’t go for my glorious plan featured above, I think we should get a stuffed toy dinosaur, attach a few scratcher tickets to it, and lob it into the crowd as we depart. How’s that for some transfer of wedding good will without the bad dancing, public lingerie sightings, icky symbolism, and family mortification?

Ready for future love? Catch a T-Rex and Win a Million Dollars!

This is a Sad Post About Friendship, Love, and Death

Dearest blog,

I have not forgotten you. I have just been terribly busy with wonderful things, very sad things, and all other sorts of things in between.

In the past six days, I have finished my first semester of my doctorate, gone on a staycation with my Pastry love courtesy of a door prize win at a venue we did not book, interviewed a DJ for our karaoke reception, marveled at said DJ’s amazing Indian Jones’ themed backyard and pool, started the ring design process for the every so lovely custom engagement ring, finalized the wedding gown I want to buy, harassed my best friend into coming to visit me this coming weekend, booked a pie tasting adventure, interviewed a wedding coordinator, read four books on building communities of practice, worried when said best friend suddenly was in the hospital, signed up for a gym membership to tone these arms, and lost another good friend of 27 years as she decided to end her life after struggling with her bipolar disorder for so long.

That last bit is definitely an immensely sad addition to a generally frivolous wedding blog, but it’s true and powerful and painful. 

The last time I talked to her was about how excited she was to come to the wedding next May and how her husband was recovering well from a recent surgery. She was a gloriously eclectic, whip-smart, charismatic, and vibrant friend since the time my family moved in next to hers when I was around 4. She was almost 7 at the time, and she told my mom she was disappointed it was us as she had been told a nice Chinese family was moving in instead. We had all sorts of growing-up adventures, playing street hockey, raising kittens and trapping scorpions on the hillside, racing down the street on skateboards (me, very badly), going to the beach to body-board or just to be seen, stealing squashes out of a neighbor’s yard, learning the finer points of adolescent flirting, going to college parties while I was still in high school, visiting each other in our respective cities as we both moved around during college and post-college. We shut down karaoke bars in Hollywood, and ate cheap Mexican food in the middle of the night in a variety of locales. After my dad passed away several years ago, she was one of the only people to visit my mom and I after his memorial service, bringing a bag of carefully selected snacks and an orchid (that we inevitably killed due to lack of water shortly near after). I took for granted that she would always be there, loud, talkative, slyly challenging people with her wit. She was not perfect in my memory or in hers, and she seemed to constantly worry that she was living her life in an inherently flawed way, struggling with a history of severe mental health issues and the sudden loss of both of her parents in the last couple of years. And, so she ended her own life.

I am so sad that she is gone. And, I feel so privileged to have known her.

It would now be easy to frame this in terms of a wedding for the sake of blog coherency, new beginnings and endings all becoming very transparent in the process of creating a new, little family. But, I don’t want to diminish my friend, her experiences, or the loss. So, simply, I am a bit sad, but I will be okay. And, though she is gone, I know that she will be okay in the end. And, the rest will continue to move-on, arrangements for weddings and memorial services, plans, lives, families, losses, loves, and deaths. Friendship moves and changes people in such unexpected ways. And, she changed me to be me, flaws and all. I will miss her dearly.

True Love Equals Tolerance for Triscuit Intolerance

I’ve been quite busy with this whole working full time and doing a doctorate business. At week eight of class, I have had about nine assignments and thus have gone a bit crazy (crazier?). Pastry and I went to the grocery store earlier this week, me stumbling around like a snack-sneaking zombie as Pastry tried to herd me in the correct direction. And, lo, I happened upon a giant display of Martha Stewart endorsed Triscuits.

I LOVE Triscuits. But, er, wheat in general does not love me back. But, my inner snack-sneaking zombie voice told me that I should get a couple boxes of crisped wheat snacks in fun flavors like Toasted Coconut and Sea Salt or Rosemary Olive Oil. I snatched up a pile and ran up to Pastry at the self-checkout stand. In my snack-enthusiast daze I don’t quite remember the actual conversation we had, but it went something like this.

“Triscuits, eh? Don’t those make you feel ill?”

“THEY ARE DELICIOUS AND I LOVE THEM.”

“Your call, Cucumber…”

So, we went home and I promptly ate a bunch of Triscuits. Cut to day two, and my packed lunch at work was a bowl of cherries and Triscuits. I got home and had Triscuits prior to dinner. Pastry made a delicious dinner of bacon-wrapped chicken thighs and green beans. I may have had a few more Triscuits. Pastry, so cleverly and suavely, devised a romantic maneuver after dinner. Meanwhile, the epic of amount of Triscuits I had ingested over the past day, suddenly resulted in me, well, feeling like this below picture.

Holy god.

“I am SO SORRY. Really. SO SORRY. Oh god, it’s so bad…”

“My love, I am marrying you. It’s really okay. I don’t care.”

Thus, we ended our romantic date evening by laying on the bed, laughing and reading Amazon reviews of Fiber One Bars. Pastry reminded me that perhaps this should be a cautionary tale concerning my Triscuit indulgence.

He really is the best. And, those coconut Triscuits are really delicious.