My wife's cousin got married over the weekend. As it was black-tie-optional, I decided I would actually wear a tux. I did lament that somehow I ended up with my father's Texas flag vest (mine is XXL, his is XL), and so I had to go with a relatively tame checked print vest. (I was expressly forbidden in the name of family unity from wearing this one.) And so off we went. Wee One came as well, for reasons best not outlined in a public forum. It turned out to be a Very Good Thing.
As my wife was a member of the wedding party (she was doing the Bible business), we had to arrive early for photos. Now at my own wedding (of blessed memory), I allowed my wife to think that she was letting me put my foot down when I said that I would only pose for a limited number of photos: us, us + immediate families (each side), wedding party. Everything else would be "action" shots, i.e., I don't pose for pictures, get used to it. Such was not the case at this event. Every conceivable shot under the sun was being taken, much to the delight of Mother-of-the-Bride and the photographer, whom I surmised had sold MotB on The Whole Nine Yards. This dragged on for quite some time. Wee One slept, I sat in the back and checked phone messages.
Guests began to arrive. The noise level gradually rose. Just as the organ music started, Wee One began to fuss. I fulfilled my oath as Daddy and whisked her out the door at the rear of the sanctuary. And so I discovered why Bringing A Baby To The Wedding was one of the best ideas Mrs. and I ever conceived:
- It is much quieter in the outer foyer of churches.
- One gets to see the bride in that most candid and penultimate of moments: just before she walks down the aisle with her father.
- One gets to hurl wisecracks at the bride, if one is on personal terms. (NB this can earn you retribution from equally-witty Fathers-of-Brides, e.g., "Yes, my boy, take a good look at your little girl there and my little girl here, because in twenty-five years that's gonna be her and you're gonna be me!")
- One gets to be snarky about the entire ceremony with other parents of infants, without fear of disapproving stares from neighbors and relatives.
- One can scratch, cough, hum and text-message without fear of interruption or disapprobation.
- Change a diaper in mid-service? No problem!
- Big loud slurp of one's 64 oz. soda that one bought on the way to the wedding and conveniently stowed on the baby's stroller? Go for it!
Open bar. Man I love country clubs. And as I had on my tux, I felt no hesitation in calling for a martini. ("No, I do not want Stoli, real martinis are made with gin, my good sir! And not too dry: if I wanted my gin without vermouth, I'd have called for a Churchill!") Wee One was incredibly well-behaved, and a good time was had by all.
General wedding observations: young people should not get married --at least in terms of Having A Big Church Wedding. They go overboard with the preparations, the wedding party members aren't nearly mature enough to carry off the decorum, and it ends up looking and feeling more like senior prom. The groom's party members certainly carried it off in that manner. The bridesmaids and other young female attendees were more conservatively attired than the ones at the previous engagement, but my general caveat about shoes still applies.
A tip to you younger men out there: it is generally worth your money to invest in a tuxedo at an end-of-year-clearance from some place such as Al's Formal Wear. With the exception of some of the more extreme styles, tuxedos never go completely out of fashion, you are always ready for a formal dinner, and if you go out on a Friday (or Saturday) night to the theater, you ooze class --and you give your best gal a chance to completely doll herself up, and most younger women enjoy that immensely, so you earn points. Trust me. Also, splurge for your own dress shoes and spend a bit of time breaking them in. You'll never have to pay shoe-rental fee for your friends' weddings, plus you know they'll still feel alright at the end of a long evening. Boots are acceptable with a tux only in the South, Southwest and Mountain states, and they need to be exotics and highly shined.