Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Weddings and Alcohol

I am not a tea-totaler. Since our France journeys began in 2000, I have been introduced to a wonderful variety of fine wines. Now that we live in California, wine and the industry are part of everyday life. So I am not set back when wine is brought out for a toast or used to accompany a meal. And that is even more true for most weddings. Couples I have married who seldom, if ever, drink chamapgne, will offer it for a toast at the reception (providing it's not on the church property).
But at two recent weddings I was blind-sided. At one late-afternoon rehearsal, all the groomsmen arrived loaded. They spent the afternoon eating and drinking at a nice club. They did a lot more drinking than eating and showed up flush-faced and silly (read: stupid). They pinched each other and could not stop talking as we worked through the rehearsal details. Whenever they passed each other they would poke, tickle and laugh. Several times during the rehearsal I had to tell them to stop talking and listen. So, at the end of the rehearsal I said something to the effect that while I had no problem with wine or alcohol per se, I did have a major problem with intoxication, which they were experiencing. If any of them dared to show up the next day the slightest bit innebriated, I would refuse them entrance to the church ( I think I called it "MY CHURCH") and we would conduct the wedding without them. Do you understand? I barked. They all nodded yes, to the relief and smiles of the parents, bride and bridesmaids. The next day they were more sober and well-mannered than I was. The wedding went well and the couple was married. But, I never did receive an honorarium...payback? I don't know if I ruffled the men's feathers so much that I embarrased them too much. But I don't regret giving the men the warning.
Several weeks later I conducted another wedding. The rehearsal went well and so did the rehearsal dinner. On the wedding day morning, several of the groomsmen were hung-over from a binge the night before. But that does happen. What set me off was when I arrived at the parking lot of the church, there were the groomsmen (without the groom) standing around an open trunk with a cooler opened, drinking beer in the eraly afternoon. So again, I went over and gave them the warning, that if any of them was the slightest bit innebriated, I would not allow them to participate in their friend's wedding. They all assured me that they would not do such a thing to their friend, but then why were they chugging beers before the ceremony? From that point on, through the wedding reception, not a groomsman spoke to me.
What's this all about? Is alcohol connsumption/abuse reaching a new level? I think I will need to include an alchohol talk during premarital counselling and wedding planning and at the beginning of rehearsals. Do friends know what their over-consumption does not only to the bride and groom, but to the wedding budget? It makes me long for the days of church weddings with cake, punch and coffee in the church basement afterward. Can we return?


At 10:44 PM , Anonymous Isaac said...

Recently I was a groomsman in my friends wedding. The aren't Christian but did have a pastor of sorts officiate. I was suprised the amount of alcohol that was part of the event.

The grooms dinner the night before started around 8pm. but as we gathered at the Inn where it was hosted around 6:30, wait staff we walking around taking orders and people were ordering mixed drinks and beer. I thought it was odd so i stuck with coke.

During the dinner, the same thing. i bucked the trend and ordered milk (sue me, i dig milk). Then we went to the bars afterwards.

The next day, bright and early was the wedding. The ceremony ended around 1pm or so but from the moment we got in line for the reception, drinks were being passed out. Champagne for toasts, wine, beer, open bar (beer and wine). It lasted until at least 7pm. After which, we went again to the bars.

My friends are partiers, so I can understand it. But to have that much drinking by well dressed people in a rather formal solumn event supprised me. i guess i don't go to weddings very much.

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