- Wedding: July 1976 - Newport News City Park at Newport News, VA.
I think you’ve made an important point here without realizing it, and that is the effects of too much alcohol consumption too close to ceremony time, and the side effects that may entail. Having an alcohol availability without some kind of control over the quantity delivered the night before the actual ceremony is always a recipe for disaster, as you’ve clearly seen. And there could possibly even be a higher price to pay, in the instance of that one individual who’s always reticent about acknowledging just how much they really have consumed before sitting down behind the wheel to drive home.
Now, I’m not here to deliver a temperance lecture by any means. What other people choose to do, when, where and how, is pretty much their own business, unless and until it intrudes on the convenience or safety of others. Perhaps the tradition of the “night before the Big Day” dinner party with lots of drinks to lubricate the way is getting to be something it was never intended to be. OR, simply removing the “Open Bar” or unlimited access portion of it is something to consider. Plenty of Rehearsal Dinners have been held with no more than some champagne (or even sparkling cider) after the meal for providing the obligatory toasting, when everyone is full of food and less inclined to directly absorb an abundance of drink, is something that’s been done successfully, and everyone appeared the next day, “bright eyed and bushy tailed” and ready to get the show on the road! I have been to several dinners held that way, and they were deemed quite successful and enjoyable by all who attended, most especially the Bride and Groom! (As well as the person or persons footing the bill for that event!)
If your bridesmaids appeared the next day, bleary eyed, headachy, queasy, and draggletailed from too much indulgence the night before at the rehearsal dinner, then it’s really no surprise they weren’t ready to be the happy, helpful friends you expected to see and count on for the assistance you required. Nobody feels up to being especially helpful to anyone but themselves in that condition.
That doesn’t make it your fault either, because as allegedly responsible adults, they should be able to be counted on to moderate their own drinking so as not to appear in such a state as you described. But, putting it out there, if indeed that was the case, and not the result of their own overindulgence elsewhere and/or later on that night, can be just too much to bear resisting by some people who are accustomed to “partying hearty!”
If the rehearsal dinner was indeed the source of their unpopular and unhelpful conduct the following day, then perhaps others who are still approaching that point can take a lesson from it, and make sure it doesn’t happen to them! In which case, you perhaps have performed an important service here to others, who can stop a moment and take a look at perhaps how wise it may or may NOT be to pay for lots of alcohol TWICE, both on the bill for the dinner, and the “cost” of the after-effects the following day.
I’m glad that, in the end, you married the love of your life, “and a truly great man” and that you had lovely weather for the occasion. Those things are what’s truly important, although you certainly could have and would have married him anyway, even if the weather was awful! Congratulations to you both on your marriage, which, when it’s all said and done, is always the most important thing there is! It’s said that even after the party is over, everyone has returned to their “normal” lives, the cake and flowers are gone, the photos are in the album, all you have left are two things – your wedding rings and each other! And that’s the most important thing of all, isn’t there?