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Lauren F. Winne

Wedding Nights—and Daze

Weddings, a pastor officiating at one I recently attended said, do much more than bring together two people. "They bring together a community, so we are all here not only to celebrate Anne and Roger's wedding, but also to celebrate our community." The icing on the wedding cake, the pastor went on to say, is like the mortar between bricks: it seals us all together. "This event is not only for Annie and Roger, but for all of us. I hope that by being here you can learn something about yourself, or your own marriage, or our community."

The metaphor was tortured, but the point, perhaps, instructive. One can only stand around with the groom's cousins from California chatting about wedding attire for so long. So I decided to take Pastor James up on his advice, and see what I could learn about myself and my community at Anne and Roger's wedding.

I decided that postmoderns should love weddings, because it appears that their meaning is tensile, and depends entirely on your point of view. A recently divorced buddy of mine felt wistful as he watched Anne and Roger toast one another with champagne. A wife looked pointedly at her husband of five years and muttered, "Someone should tell them that this fairy-tale stuff lasts about 10 minutes. They don't know the half of it when they say 'for better or for worse.'" But perhaps they had just had a bad fight, for another pair of Young Marrieds kept their hands clasped throughout the whole ceremony and proclaimed it renewing! Indeed, when Jennifer called three months later to tell me she was pregnant, she said, "Remember Anne and Roger's wedding? Well, we were just so inspired by young love that … here's a baby!"

One unwed twentysomething told me that the key to understanding wedding atmosphere is the previous marital status of the bride and groom: "At the weddings of college classmates," said Kim, "I just feel bad. Well-meaning aunts come up to you and ask when you're getting married. Second marriages are a whole different kettle ...

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