We’re all supposed to be rugged individualists in America, so it’s sometimes amazing to me how similar most weddings are. Granted, there’s tradition at work here, which is understandable; people like to see their new family linked backwards in time to their old family, and the traditions employed at most weddings serve that purpose. Still, it gets a little numbing sometimes when you’ve been to dozens of weddings and they each follow the same basic template.
One side effect of this, however, is that as a Groom you know exactly what to expect when you get married. Your role is pretty clear even if you’ve never spent a single second thinking about your own wedding. Most men can cruise through their wedding without paying much attention. But what do you do if your wedding is one of the few non-standard ones? Say, you and your bride decide to get hitched on a beach instead of in a church? Here’s a few pointers:
1. Resist pants. No one looks formal or serious in shorts. It is impossible. The second you put on shorts, you regress in age, dignity, and social status. So expect your bride to try to get you to wear pants to your beach wedding. She will tell you that they will be lightweight pants, linen, perhaps. She will tell you they will “breathe” and be cool. Do not believe her. Cling to your shorts as if your life depends on them. If the temperature is going to crack ninety, it probably does.
2. Have a backup plan. Hey, did you know it rains on the beach?
3. Be prepared for witnesses. Even if you have access to a private beach, most beaches are only private in the mysterious legal sense that does absolutely nothing to stop weirdos and vagrants from wandering onto them. When I got married on a beach in Hawaii a homeless man sleeping in a tent at the tree line kept wandering out and drunkenly shouting “Congratulations!” at the top of his voice. You have to roll with stuff like that.
4. Pick the right beach. That said, do some research and pick a spot where there won’t be too many people. It’s one thing to have a few curious onlookers, it’s quite another to be hit in the head by a Frisbee just as your putting the ring on her finger, and then you have to spend the next six hours searching the sand for the ring.
5. Fear the sun. Hey, did you know that standing for long periods of time in the hot sun can be uncomfortable and dangerous?
One of the great things about a nonstandard wedding, though, is the fact that not every single detail has been preplanned for you by the Ghosts of Brides Past. There’s a lot of fun wiggle room for the wedding overall and for you, the Groom, specifically. It’s Thunderdome out there; there are no rules. If you’ve won the battle for No Pants mentioned above, you’re standing on a beach in a pair of comfortable shorts and bare feet, after all, so be a little flexible with what the Bride wants. In a very real way, you’ve already won.