Sometimes Less Is More

Perhaps it took a pandemic, which forced me to hunker down and live a much simpler and slower paced life for a while, to remind me that sometimes less is more.

February 2019

They begin arriving in Mexico on Wednesday night. The bride, groom, and their immediate families gather in one of the hotel rooms to start getting ready for the weekend. They tie place cards with guest names onto small bottles of tequila, a favorite of the bride’s, and fill gift bags with goodies to be placed in the rooms for all of the guests. They have a small, intimate dinner together at the resort – a bit of calm before the storm.

On Thursday, the guests arrive throughout the day. There are hugs and smiles and introductions and shots and toasts as everyone settles in for a three-day celebration of the couple. That evening, guests gather in the bar for drinks then move on to the karaoke lounge where the groom’s mother performs a Madonna song with her nephew to a big round of applause.

The next day, guests enjoy the beach, the pool, the grill, the warm sunshine, and the bar until late in the afternoon. At 6:00 everyone gathers on the patio near one of the resort pools. All of the one hundred guests are dressed completely in white. The bride is wearing a bright orange sun dress and the groom a tropical shirt, so they stand out in the crowd.

Lights are strung overhead and twinkle over the spread of food – classic Mexican, but the ceviche stands out. There are speeches, toasts, music, dancing, laughing and lots of photos. Friends of the parents have been seated with friends of the bride and groom so they can get to know each other before the wedding the next day.

On Saturday, some guests nurse their hangovers, everyone eats more guacamole and chips, and most lounge at the pool or beach. The bride sequesters in her suite with her mom to get ready. The groom hides with his brother and friends in his room getting ready. The mother of the groom scatter ashes in the lush foliage near where the ceremony will take place and, as an afterthought, a final bit under the dance floor. The groom lost his father two years before, and this way the family feels he’s with them for the evening.

By 5:00 the bar is open outside of the secluded wedding venue tucked into the mangroves near the ocean. Guests gather on the sidewalk, order a drink, and mingle with friends before finally taking their seats. The groom walks his mother down the aisle and hugs her before taking his place at the front with his best friend who is officiating the wedding. His mother sits in the front row with the rest of her family. The crowd stands as the bride enters with her parents. They hug her before taking their seats in front.

The ceremony is personal, quirky, sweet, and funny, and over quickly. The guests cheer then make their way to the cocktail party on the beach while the couple heads to the sandy beach near the mangroves for pictures. The skies eventually open up and a torrent of rain forces the party off the beach into the open-air restaurant. The resort has placed large, lighted K and J letters that illuminate the path from the dinner venue to the ocean just beyond the mangroves, and strung more twinkly lights over the dance floor on the sand.

There are speeches, dances, toasts, cake cutting, laughter, tears, and a very large Budweiser is passed around to share in memory of the groom’s father. Dinner is an elaborate buffet with both a whiskey bar and a tequila bar. After dinner, there is dancing on the beach for hours, the guests wearing all sorts of glow in the dark adornments, shoes thrown into the sand.

On Sunday, the guests gather at the resort pool for a day of fun with pool volleyball, water aerobics, plenty of drinks and cigars, pictures, laughter and sunburns. The celebrating lasts all day long, well into dinner around the resort.

By Monday, everyone is completely spent, and the crowd crams into one taxi after another to head for the airport. The guests are tanned and tired. It was one hell of a party for four straight days, and more than one guest thinks it might be time to dry out a little. The parents settle the bill with the resort but won’t divulge what the extravagant celebration cost. They loved the weekend as much as their kids did.
 
The bride and groom smile all the way home because their wedding was perfect – it was exactly what they wanted.

July 2020

The groom’s sister and her fiancé pack their camping gear and drive a couple of hours to a camping spot in the mountains on the western slope of Colorado. Because of the pandemic, the campground is overcrowded, so they retreat back to a secret camping spot not far from their house and pitch their tent.

The next morning, they walk through a field of wildflowers and the bride gathers flowers for a makeshift bouquet. While it’s assumed that they say some sort of vows, that’s not known because they have decided to elope, and nobody is with them. Later the bride will smile when she says that her dad, who passed away three years before, was the only one in the family who got to be there.

The couple had planned to elope long before the pandemic hit. They are private and keep largely to themselves. Besides, the bride just couldn’t imagine walking down the aisle without her dad. Her mom understands and is just happy they are finally getting married.

The weather isn’t cooperating, so instead of camping for another night after signing their marriage license and snapping some selfies, they drive back to their small town and walk to Main St. to have a drink. They run into some friends who join them to toast them, then they head home, watch a movie, and go to sleep.

The next weekend, the two immediate families – just ten adults and a grandchild – gather at a remote private ranch near the bride and groom’s home. The only guests missing are the bride’s brother and sister-in-law who are unable to travel from New York. There are rustic cabins spread across the property, and they have the place to themselves for the weekend.

 

They hike, take turns getting sweaty in the wood-burning sauna, challenge each other to dive into the icy plunge pool near the river, visit the horses on the property, and fish.

They eat meals together outside, then play lighted bocce ball on the grass under the star-filled Colorado sky. They mix cocktails in simple plastic cups and toast the couple with cheap bubbly. They spend a lot of time simply sitting together in lawn chairs and chatting, happy to be together, happy to be just anywhere during this strange pandemic summer.

The bride’s two-and-a-half-year-old nephew and the groom’s sister’s young puppy provide entertainment. At the end of the weekend, the groom tells the families that their wedding celebration was perfect.

The bride and groom smile all the way home because their wedding was perfect – it was exactly what they wanted.

One thought on “Sometimes Less Is More

  1. Michele, these weddings were perfectly executed for each bride and groom and families. And, your retelling of each wedding and surrounding celebrations paints word pictures that those who were there will have forever. Your detailed observations while you were also a participant are amazing and only you would have the insight and ability to bring the reader along. Thank you so much for sharing and I’m so grateful to have been included. Congratulations and blessings to each new family and best wishes to everyone who loves them.

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