Slate Releases Wedding Rules; You Can Ignore Some of Them

My wife and I raised a bit of a kerfuffle when we got married 29 years ago. We made the apparently-rude request of "no kids, please." It was so upsetting that a few people refused to come to our wedding. (I never noticed; I only heard about it later.)

One family member was so upset that he didn't speak to us for a few years, even though I told him the rule didn't apply to older kids. After all, my 14-year-old brother was in the wedding party.

Our rule specifically applied to children under five because we had seen kids misbehave at weddings while their inconsiderate parents refused to take their caterwauling child outside.

"I now pronounce you husband—"



Our ceremony went off without a hitch, and we're still married, so we made the right choice.

I hear stories of bridezillas and monster-in-laws that make me worry about the practice of weddings. For example, the bride who disinvites a bridesmaid because they put on weight. Or mothers-in-law who wear white to the wedding or try to draw attention to themselves.

So Slate Magazine decided to do something about it. When they're not Slatesplaining the news to us, they sometimes settle raging debates tearing America apart: Does the toilet paper roll over or under? (Over). Is a hot dog a sandwich? (Yes, are you kidding?) Does the day after Star Wars Day ("May the 4th be with you") fall on Revenge of the Fifth or Revenge of the Sixth? (The sixth! "Sith" is right there in the name!)

The Slate staff was recently hard at work on a series about weddings when their discussion turned to the airing of grievances about wedding etiquette. That led to the staff screaming at one another before coming to blows and a copy editor putting a junior graphic designer into a headlock.

None of that is true; I just like imagining a bunch of word nerds whaling on each other like it's championship hockey.

And after the non-dust settled, Slate assembled a list of 26 wedding rules that everyone getting married should follow.

For example, Rule #2 is "no outdoor summer weddings." As someone who hates the heat, I couldn't agree more. I can barely stand going to the store in July. I certainly don't want to sweat like a pig just to watch two people I hardly know start their lives together in his mom's backyard.

If you're going to have an outdoor summer wedding, do it in a large party tent that's fully sealed off. And is air-conditioned. Especially if you're going to have a black-tie wedding.

Because Rule #5 says, "never say 'black tie optional.' Choose."

I choose no. Unless I'm the father of one of the people getting married, I ain't wearing a tux for nobody. I wore a tux once when I went to prom and again when I got married. (Not the same tux, of course.) Otherwise, I'm following Rule #8.

Rule #8: "It's fine to skip a wedding for any reason, but RSVP early."

"I'm not coming to your stupid wedding, because I ain't wearing a tux for nobody. I'll catch you at your next one."

My hatred of tuxes notwithstanding, I will wear a tux if you let me wear a kilt. Scratch that. I'm wearing a kilt whether you want me to or not. I'm not Scottish, but if I have to be uncomfortable, I'm going to be as comfortable as possible.

Rule #9: "No kids. If kids are needed for the ceremony, a car should be waiting." I'd like to think my wife and I were pioneers in this area. If you want to bring your kid to a wedding, have the grace to wait out in the lobby until the ceremony is over.

Rule #15: "It's fine if someone else wears white."

It damn well is not! I hate to sound like an old man yelling at clouds, but there are a few traditions we should hold onto. One of those is you don't wear white at someone else's wedding.

If the bride doesn't want to wear white, that's her decision. But you don't get to draw attention to yourself at someone else's wedding. Especially when you're a parent of one of the people getting married. You deserve to have scorn heaped upon you.

Also, you don't announce your pregnancy or propose to your significant other at someone else's wedding. This day is about the two people getting married, it's not your chance to showboat. So, unless you're the bride, no white at weddings.

Rule #13: "If you travel from out of town, you don't need to get the couple a gift." 

Wrong. There needs to be an inverse correlation between distance traveled and the gift cost. The farther you travel, the cheaper your gift can be. If you travel more than 500 miles or take a plane, you absolutely do not have to get a gift.

Rule #14: "Actually, all gifts are banned." Whoa, settle down, Slate. Don't let all this rule-making go to your head. Just because you were too late to scoop up the gravy boat on sale at Target doesn't mean you can ruin wedding gifts for everyone else.

Maybe you need to be put in another headlock.

Photo credit: Pexels (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.