Column Date 2006-10-08

The reverse-wedding

It was the wedding presents that finally got me thinking. Presents we selected very carefully, and sent to several couples who were about to be married.

Each wedding was beautiful in its own way: beautiful food, beautiful flowers, beautiful brides, and beautiful “’til death do us part” vows.

One marriage lasted almost a year.

The second marriage lasted a full two months (in spite of the fact that the couple had been living together for two years before that).

The third marriage lasted about eight months.

Nobody, of course, could believe it (“They were the perfect couple,” “I’ve never seen people so much in love,” etc.).

And everyone felt, well, sort of short-changed. You invested all that emotion, thoughtfully chose perfect gifts, and the marriage vanished before your very eyes.

So here’s my idea for a new kind of event: a reverse-wedding.

This is particularly appropriate for couples who realize, after a few months, that they’ve made the biggest mistake of their lives.

Here’s how a reverse-wedding would work:

First the couple arrives in a limo, bedecked with flowers and dragging tin cans.

They wave, and hand out small, unopened bags of rice to the people waiting to greet them.

They go inside where there’s a party already in progress, with a band playing, drinks flowing, food on the tables.
The bride and groom then walk around the room and return all those envelopes filled with cash that various relatives have given them. And they give sales receipts to those guests who sent gifts from stores where they were registered.

Everyone then sits down as the bride and groom dance their last dance together.

A minister appears, and the soon-to-be ex-bride and ex-groom go up to him and quietly tell him that things haven’t worked out.

The minister nods sympathetically as the couple recites newly-written vows that include phrases like “I’ll promise to be more mature in my decisions” and “I won’t fall in love so fast the next time” and “I should have listened to my mother.”

Family members cry.

The bride returns the ring to the groom, takes her father’s arm and, led by her maids of honor, walks down the aisle and out the front door.

The groom, best man, and assorted groomsmen turn and follow. The guests, after striking out their names in the guest book, also leave.

I hope you can appreciate all the advantages to a reverse-wedding:

For a start, there is friendly closure -- a nicety which quickly vanishes with extended divorce negotiations. And since it’s all done in public, there are no secrets to hide from family and friends.

The guests don’t feel resentful that they’ve, once again, sent wedding gifts for a marriage that lasted only a few months.

And all the women get to look fabulous for the second time in a couple of months, in their still-stylish dresses and shoes.

Not only that, but all the men get home in time for the Giants-Cowboys game.

Who could ask for anything more?

©2006 Peter Tannen