Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Missing the Wedding

OK, I know the royal wedding was last week, but I’m going to write about it now anyway. Why? Because I missed most of the hoopla and hype. In fact, I missed the entire wedding itself. While other people were getting up at ungodly hours to watch Kate and Prince William tie the knot, I was nestled all snug in my bed, getting my beauty sleep. The only effect the Royal Wedding had on my life is that it resulted in my in-laws cancelling their long-planned trip to England because air fares had tripled as the airlines saw an opportunity to gouge people who wanted to be anywhere near the event (even though they would’ve had better seats in front of the telly).

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those curmudgeons who complained about all the press this wedding was getting, especially all the press it was getting when there were other, “more serious,” things going on in the world. I’ll be the first to admit that it was an event that comes along only about once in a generation.

The thing is…they weren’t talking about my generation.

That’s right, this wedding didn’t fit my demographic.

I set my clock for the wee hours of the morning and got up with my housemates to watch the “first” Royal Wedding 30 years ago, when Diana and Charles got married. This was the “fairy tale event” for my generation, when the commoner like us hit the jackpot and got to marry the prince. And everyone who was planning their own wedding, or hoped to be planning it soon, wanted to see this.

30 years later, those of us who got up early to watch it, sadly know how it all turned out in the end, and hope that a few things have been learned by everyone in the succeeding years.

But this isn’t about cynicism, or “realism,” as some people would like to think. It’s simply about my disinterest because I’ve already seen my Royal Wedding. But that doesn’t mean that I begrudge the current generation their obsession, I mean fascination, with it. As I said, this isn’t one of those things that happens every day, and Royal Weddings are known for the effect they have on weddings for generations to come. Just consider the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840. She’s the one who started the tradition of wearing a white gown and using the music of Wagner and Mendelssohn. I wonder what new ideas will have come out of Kate and William’s wedding.

But as for those realists, those cynics, those curmudgeons, for whom it wasn’t enough to just sit quietly at home and ignore the whole thing, but who had to complain about the coverage it was getting, I think they should lighten up a bit. The people who complained that the American press was giving this more attention than was the BBC don’t understand that we don’t get to see a whole lot of pageantry here in the “colonies;” in fact that’s exactly one of the things we visit Great Britan to see. So when an event like this occurs, the American media goes after it whole hog, while the Brits, having lived with this day in and day out, tend to be a little more restrained about it. Think of the native New Yorker who has never seen the Statue of Liberty.

And let’s not forget those who complained, “Why is this wedding different from any other wedding…besides the fact it cost the taxpayers a fortune? And why do so many people care about this when there are more pressing things going on in the world?”

Well first of all, I’m pretty sure that these people wouldn’t be so snippy about their own weddings or the weddings of their children. Why do so many people care about this wedding? Because even though we don’t know the couple personally, we’ve heard about them, and have followed them in one way or another for quite some time. It may be a false intimacy, but it’s a real interest.

And as far as the issue of “more pressing” things going on in the world, I recall reading once that in Jewish tradition, when a wedding procession and a funeral procession meet at the same intersection, the wedding has precedence, while the funeral has to wait. Why? Because there’s always time for grief, but joy should be celebrated when you can.

So even though I didn’t get up early to watch the ceremony, I say to all the curmudgeons out there, “Get out of the road, you’re holding up the wedding party!”

And let’s hope that things work out a whole lot better for Kate and William than they did for William’s parents!

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