I’ve been doing a lot of research on weddings lately (since my current novel has one in it), and I encountered a most interesting phenomenon: dancing down the aisle.
When I first heard it I thought, a dance for a recessional? Sounds like fun! The wedding is over, the celebration begins, and what better way to kick that off than dancing to the back of the church. Then I did a little more research and realized that, frequently, dancing down the aisle means dancing replaces the processional, that the couple dances down to the altar, eliminating the wedding march and all that ceremony. (Here is a link to a spoof of the royal wedding where they dance down the aisle, done for T-Mobile.) And that got me thinking.
One of the problems our culture faces is not taking weddings seriously enough. Oh, we mean the vows when we say them, but later, when strife has set in and our spouse doesn’t seem to understand or care anymore…then we forget, or say they didn’t matter, or end the whole thing on the premise of irretrievable breakdown, describing the marriage in terms that are more appropriate for an old car than a union between two people who chose to become one.
According to the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacrament, an act of holy grace that the bride and groom convey upon each other, with the priest as witness and God’s representative. The Eastern Orthodox Church similarly says it’s a sacrament, but the priest confers it upon the couple, crowning them with glory and honor. And the Anglican Church has all those lovely phrases that we associate with weddings and the end of Pride and Prejudice (1995 version). In every case, they emphasize the fact that it is to be entered into “reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God.”
And all this research made me wonder if this “dancing down the aisle” is just another manifestation of our flippancy. Sure, it’s fun, but does it really set the right tone for you to promise your life away? Or does it just turn everything into party mode? And what does better or worse mean in party mode, but that we might do something we’ll regret tomorrow, an action we might not even be able to remember in a blur of emotions? And is that really the atmosphere we want when we make promises we say we’re going to keep “til death do us part”?
Copyright 2015 Andrea Lundgren