Wedding Day Disasters – Focus on the Comedy

All those soon-to-be-betrothed should remember one thing as they get closer to walking down the aisle: There’s a good reason why comic actors such as Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, and Adam Sandler repeatedly get cast as hapless grooms in blockbuster date movies. Despite the intended seriousness of weddings — with their formal invitations, white satin gowns, intricate flower arrangements, tuxedos, and stilted dialogue — they are often more comedy than drama.

My own wedding was a complete disaster that included a band that didn’t know “our” song, missing dinners, the wrong flavor cake, champagne spilled on my borrowed dress, wedding pictures without the bride, and honeymoon luggage trashed with five pounds of birdseed by over-zealous groomsmen. I was so preoccupied with the drama of the day that I failed to see any of the humorous aspects until later. Much later.

You’ll enjoy your wedding day far more if you focus on the comedy instead of the drama. Strive for fun, rather than perfection. Everything surrounding the whole affair has humorous potential — from the awkward proposal to the tense ceremony to the not-quite-what-we-expected honeymoon. Charged with emotion and fraught with disaster, no wedding ceremony would be complete without a crying bridesmaid, fainting groomsmen, misplaced ring, or overly amorous kiss for the bride.

Sure, you can plan every detail of the blessed event your entire life, but during the final hours you’re helpless, forced to rely on family, friends, caterers, florists, entertainers, and religious leaders to perform their functions properly while you’re busy throwing up in the bathroom.

So take your cue from popular romantic comedies. There’s something about Ben Stiller that makes him perfect for a date movie: His characters can’t seem to help themselves from flirting with disaster. In “Along Came Polly,” he plays a man already suffering from a bad case of irritable bowel syndrome and an overprotective, manipulative mother. He soon learns the true meaning of suffering, however, when his wife ditches him on their honeymoon. In “Meet the Parents,” he endures a barrage of obstacles (and humiliations) as he repeatedly tries to propose to his girlfriend, and in the sequel, “Meet the Fockers,” he must go to incredible lengths to keep his girlfriend’s pregnancy a secret from her father.

Things aren’t much better for the characters Jim Carrey plays. “Fun with Dick and Jane?” It’s not exactly fun to feel so pressured about marital finances that you turn to a life of crime. In “Me, Myself & Irene,” his bride falls in love with someone else within hours of getting married, and in “Bruce Almighty” and “The Mask” it takes supernatural powers to fix his love life.

It isn’t always punch drunk love for Adam Sandler, but his characters usually take a beating anyway. He’s adept at portraying a regular guy who falls hopelessly in love with a seemingly unattainable woman. He gets dumped at the altar (“The Wedding Singer”), has his marriage proposal idea stolen by a psychotic shrink (“Anger Management”), watches his elaborate proposal plans crumble before his eyes (“Mr. Deeds”), and falls for a woman with short-term memory loss (“50 First Dates”).

As in real life, comical wedding disasters in the movies are in no way limited to potential grooms. Think of the jilted Julia Roberts in “My Best Friend’s Wedding” or the jilting Julia in “Runaway Bride.” And pity poor Meg Ryan in “French Kiss,” whose character learns that her fiancĂ© found a new fiancĂ©e in France.

If you think that hiring a wedding planner makes you immune to wedding disasters, think again. Or better yet watch Jennifer Lopez in “The Wedding Planner” as she frantically tries to solve a litany of problems for her clients, while dealing with her own.

Believe that your family members are blissfully happy for you? Watch “Sixteen Candles” or “Father of the Bride” (either version) to get a better idea of how they really feel.

What would you do if Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn crashed your wedding? Hide the hors d’oeuvres? Hide the liquor? Hide the girls?

So watch a funny date film and try to keep your wedding day in perspective:

1. Focus on the comedy, rather than the drama.

2. Give up your idea of perfection.

3. Expect some things to be different from what you imagined.

4. Exert more effort pleasing your new spouse, than your new in-laws.

5. Realize that despite your insecurities now, you’ll look back at your wedding album and be amazed at what a beautiful couple you were.

6. On the big day, let the wedding planner do all the worrying.

7. Don’t smash wedding cake into your new spouse’s face or share embarrassing stories about him or her unless you’ve talked it over first.

8. Lock your honeymoon luggage.

By all means, go ahead and plan your wedding and honeymoon down to every last white satiny detail. Just remember that epic dramas like “Cold Mountain” and “The Bridges of Madison County” explore the universally recognizable awakenings of love and lust, but it takes a real comedy to bring you down the wedding aisle.

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