Tag Archives: weddings

My Dancing Machine’s in Need of an Overhaul

By Jason Menard

Thankfully, they don’t often surround dance floors with mirrors, because if they did our feet would be firmly rooted to the ground.

Dance is one of the wonderful ways we have to express our joy and happiness, and celebrate life. And from African tribal dancers to intricately choreographed professional routines, dance at its finest can be awe-inspiring and a beauty to behold.

Then there are the wedding dancers.

I admit that, in my youth, my friends and I went to the clubs on a regular basis and spent the majority of the time internally lubricating our joints to better shake our tail feathers. Now, in my early 30s and with a family, we don’t hit the clubs anymore.

Mostly, I don’t want to be That Guy (uppercase intended). Think back to your club days and you’ll remember That Guy. He was the one that was clearly much older than the crowd and kind of gave you that creepy feeling all through the night as he stood nodding and winking to everyone in the corner.

As we age and try to avoid being That Guy, seemingly the only opportunities to dance become social events, such as weddings and corporate parties. So the times when I can dust off my-my-my boogie shoes are few and far between – and that’s probably a good thing.

In my head, when I hit the dance floor I’m Denny Terrio. Wait, I take that back, not even Denny Terrio wants that title. My point is such that in my head I feel the funk, y’all, and let it flow. Yet the funky vibe seems to get a little distorted when it gets to my hips. My body’s connected by soul, but each part seems to be skipping a beat. I think I’m a good dancer, but the jury is still out.

And I’m not alone. I recently attended a wedding, and that’s where you’ll find both the best and worst that dancing has to offer! I’m sure that if you watched a video of a wedding dance floor with the sound off, you’d never be able to tell to which song people are dancing, because we all seem to be moving to the beat of our individual drummers.

Increasingly, I’m aware that this is truly a Guy Thing. You watch a bunch of women together on a dance floor and they look good doing that thing they do. They’re moving in unison, actually engaging in conversation without losing track of their footing, and making it flow effortlessly. That is until The Guy enters the fray. As if by conditioning, the women will slowly start to fan out – creating a perimeter of safety as it was – to give the new, estrogen-challenged, dance the room he needs to do his thing, and to prevent them from getting hurt. After all, they’ve all been moving in some intrinsically choreographed motion and now along comes The Guy – a walking potential concussion with elbows flailing and feet moving in time to a song that’s yet to be written!

In fact, dealing with the discomfort that music can bring has long been a rite of passage for any guy. It’s why Stairway to Heaven was the last song played at our high school dance. Sure, it was great to get that last dance with the girl you’ve been working up the nerve to ask all night. Even better, you’d get to dance with her for a whole eight minutes – or so you thought. Then came that awkward time in the song where the bass recorders drifted away and the first beat of the drum hit. Instantly the tempo moved up a pace and we struggled to maintain our decorum in front of the girl (who never seemed to be disturbed by the change.) Finally, Jimmy Page’s guitar solo hit, the whole song picks up speed, and your careful slow dancing routine is thrown out the window! It’s either break the clench and try some ham-fisted mid-tempo individual dance, or whip her around wildly to the song, riding out the sonic waves until Robert Plant brings it home, “… and she’s buy-i-i-ing a stairway….”

Your ability to handle that moment of time marked the passage from boyhood to manhood. You had graduated to the big leagues – riding the peak of club dancing to its inevitable nadir of wedding and company party dancing.

So, as we get older, the dancing machines that are our bodies start to rust, and the music of our generation moves to the oldies’ station, how do we handle the transition? We do what it appears most of us are doing anyways.

We dance with the burning passion of our souls. We dance with a smile on our face and the joy in our heart, knowing that while our bodies may not be in step with the music, our souls have embraced the beat. And when someone asks, ‘What song is That Guy dancing to?’ we can confidently reply that we’re all just moving to the soundtrack of life.

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

It’s a Nice Day for a Green Wedding

By Jason Menard

The time is fast approaching when a white wedding will be a thing of the past – replaced by the dominant colour green. The days of the wedding gift seem to be fading rapidly into memory, as the traditional lavishly decorated box is fast being replaced by a non-descript envelope.

Perhaps it’s a case of people now getting married later in life, when they’ve already established a home and don’t need new household goods, but I find it a little sad when the closest thing to intimacy that a modern wedding gift imparts is its signature.

It’s sad that weddings have now become slaves to functionality and practicality. Heck, if marriage ceremonies were truly committed to being practical, the expense of a lavish church wedding would be banked in lieu of a cheaper, civil service. A wedding is a celebration of love and a new life together, but today’s wedding gifts seem less about an expression from the heart and more about balancing a ledger.

How many people have heard the familiar refrain that a wedding gift should cover the cost of the meal? Does it not cheapen the intention of the gift when it becomes a barterable commodity as opposed to a token of affection?

My wife and I differ on the subject, in that she’s nowhere near as perturbed by the trend. At our wedding, she was fine with either option, whereas I was much more interested in the gifts because they offered me more than just another household appliance or decoration – they gave me a tangible remembrance of my wedding celebration and the person from whom the gift came.

Money simply goes into an anonymous pile. And whether it’s used to defer the cost of a wedding, purchase something for the home, or saved to help start a new life together, it eventually gets lost in the shuffle and the unique nature of the gift is gone. However, an actual gift can stay in a family for years.

We still have the coffee maker given to us at our wedding, and I consider that one of the best gifts we got. Simply put, the person who gave us the gift was known for her coffee consumption – and by giving that gift to us, we continue to be able to smile at how perfectly a gift matches the giver. No matter how pretty the picture, a cheque just doesn’t have that same cachet – and, eventually, the only one who sees it is the bank.

To gauge the importance of a gift, let’s look at what the married couple gives to their guests. I’ve yet to go to a wedding where the newlyweds forked over a few bucks to each attendee – instead, they offer special mementoes and keepsakes to help you remember the day. Although I never wear it, I still have a pocket watch given to me at a wedding in which I was a groomsman, and when I stumble across it, the memories of that event come rushing back.

Admittedly, the issue isn’t so black and white today. People are getting married later in life. Many people have been living on their own or in relationships wherein they’ve already accumulated a significant portion of their home decorations. A few already have purchased a home by the time they tie the knot, so there may not be an apparent need for a wedding gift.

But that’s the beauty of the process. It’s challenging to find the right gift for the right person, but when you do it’s a magical moment. Our young kids have it right – without a full comprehension of what money means, a piece of paper signifies nothing, but a well-thought-out gift brings a smile to their faces that warms the heart.

Call me a romantic at heart, but I really don’t feel a wedding should be about a net balance. My wife and I were lucky in that we received financial support from both sides of our family – and we made sure that our wedding plans were, by no means, extravagant. As such, even if we received no gifts whatsoever, I would have been happy because my wedding was a celebration of my love for my wife in front of our friends and family – not a way to pocket some extra cash.

Our guests’ presence was gift enough and anything we received on top of that was gravy. While I can still look around my home at the odd gift we received during that time, it’s sad to say that I no longer have any memory of the money I received. Understand, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth and I appreciate each and every gift we received whether it came in an envelope or in a box. I just worry that we’re going too far away from sentimentality.

It’s ironic, in giving cash on a wedding day, we’re bankrupting a significant source of the couple’s happy memories for the future.

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved