“My matric dance dress has to be PERFECT!” This overheard at the hairdresser, while a teen tried to justify why her dance dress came from a designer’s studio and probably cost more than the GDP of a small South Pacific island nation. “Who knows how many times I’ll get married, but I’ll only ever have one matric dance!”
I couldn’t fault her on the logic – but also found it quite a sad indictment on the way we have come to view marriage. And weddings too, for that matter.
My best friend recently got married. On the morning of the wedding, her mum and her niece and the four bridesmaids (myself included) gathered at the venue to get ready. It was a lovely sunny day, and in-between taking turns to get our hair and makeup done, we collapsed on a large cushy sofa and sipped champagne and joked and laughed.The bride probably more so than the rest of us.
You couldn’t get a more laid-back person than my friend Nuria. She has never been one to sweat the small stuff, but even the most chilled of people are susceptible to some wedding-day jitters and occasional “Bridezilla” Jekyll and Hyde moments. Not so, Nuria. But, in the end, I think this had more to do with the person she had chosen to marry, than her personal demeanour.
The make-up artist re-iterated my thoughts. As I sat on a stool and she worked magic on my face, I – being a typical journalist – quizzed her on all the weddings she’d worked at, which venues were the best, which dresses were the prettiest.
She surprised me when she said: “I actually like the more mature weddings the best.” (By “more mature” she meant pretty much anyone in their midthirties and above.) “Why?” I asked.
“Because for the older couples, it’s usually very apparent that they’re marrying for the marriage and not for the wedding,” she explained. “The younger brides often get caught up in the details and how it all looks, as opposed to the reason they’re getting married in the first place.” She went on to say the younger brides are the ones who are more likely to throw a temper tantrum because the roses are not the “exact” shade of white they wanted, or because the bridesmaids’ hair looks better than theirs.
“With the older couples, though,” she added, “you can often tell that they really love each other, and the day is about the other person and not the table decorations.”
It was then that I realised that that was exactly why Nuria was so relaxed – and why, indeed, Meghan Markle (now the Duchess of Sussex) looked so calm and happy on her recent wedding day. Because when the wedding is a celebration of your love for your partner, who cares if you forgot the garter at home?
So I guess, in a weird way, the vain teen in the hairdresser made a good point. By all means, obsess about your matric dance dress, and your shoes, and your hair, and your limo to your heart’s desire, because you’re young and beautiful and it’s all about you. But when it comes to her wedding, I hope the only thing she chooses to flaunt is the person she’s chosen to marry, and that all he wants to flaunt is her.
And I hope the rest of us could be equally as blessed.