Now for that perfect, tasteful wedding

Once again, we are approaching the most, or perhaps least, romantic time of the year. Yes, it���s wedding season, and many of us have already received one or two invitations, either to our delight or chagrin, depending on how we feel about the couple or our own situation.

But personal perspective aside, it seems this year will be a bit different, just as weddings themselves have changed and evolved over the last couple of decades. Back in the days when most of my friends were embarking on their first weddings, both partners-to-be generally were married barefoot at sunset and we gave them gifts like peanut butter and memberships to Amnesty International.

Now that most of them are on wedding number two or three (but who���s counting?), they expect us to make up for lost opportunities and actually have the gall to expect things like place settings or Beemer payments.

One couple of my distant acquaintance actually registered only at Tiffany���s, and I have the little card they tucked into their invitation to prove it. Considering the fact that they met at a monster truck pull, it may be difficult to cruise that particular store to meet their needs in hats made of beer cans.

But younger folks are coming up fast in the tasteless wedding competition, and the weddings I���ve attended in the last few years prove it.

One was a lovely ceremony, with beautiful flowers in a pretty little chapel, right up until the entrance of the bridesmaids. As someone dimmed the lights, they strode down the aisle holding not bouquets but hurricane lamps, lit, turned up to the ���roaring flame���� level, and smoking. The bridesmaids barreled toward the altar at top speed, each holding her lamp at any angle which would not set her hoop skirt on fire.

We in the audience held our breaths, partially out of concern for the fire hazard, but also to avoid breaking into gales of laughter. The bride was escorted by her parents, both of whom also brandished lamps, and in the darkness it looked like a large white semi truck was being parallel parked in a cave.

Another recent blessed event was far less dangerous, but no less amusing. The bride and groom were dedicated dog owners, and decided to have their pets in the wedding. Everything went fine, until ���� well, let���s just say that if you���re going to have two dogs serve as ring bearers, be sure they are spayed and neutered. No one has ever seen their wedding video, and chances are no one ever will.

As long as this column has strayed into the darker side of weddings, let���s get down to the propriety of having small children serve as the ���cuteness ingredient.���� Sometimes circumstances being what they are these days, the couple���s separate or mutual kids are built into the wedding. Generally this works out OK, although usually someone falls down or throws up, but everyone gets a little chuckle.

Some couples seem to go out of their way to offend the more conservative of their guests. I���ve seen bridal gowns recently that are cut so low that not only does the groom have nothing left to wonder about, but neither do the bride���s next two husbands.

Sometimes the ���cake in the face���� moment turns into the couple���s first experience in armed conflict. Even the lighting of the eternity candle by the two moms sometimes turns into open warfare, resembling the fight scenes in ���Star Wars���� rather than a touching little moment.

Of course, if it���s your turn to tie the knot this summer, you will have a perfect, tasteful, touching and reverent wedding. Everything will go perfectly. The music will be lovely, the flowers gorgeous and everyone will behave properly. That���s the good news. The bad news is that you won���t remember a thing about it, because you���ll probably be all too aware that you���re holding up your underwear with duct tape.