Monday, July 27, 2009

Wacky wedding entrance dance

I've defended people's right to do any silly thing they want that to celebrate their wedding at the reception, but something about this happening in the church portion of the wedding kinda bugs me.

What say you?

The minister seems to know about it and be into it. So I don't mean in her church specifically, that's her call. I meant as a general trend.



The Eclectic Cleric said...

I had mixed feelings when I first saw this too, but it has really grown on me over the past week or so-during which time you'll notice it's been viewed now almost ten million times. I like it because it is unique, it is creative, it is well-choreographed and carefully rehearsed, it clearly represents both something special for the wedding couple, and for their many friends who were willing to make the effort to make it all possible. And I'm not so sure that it distracts one little bit from the dignity of the service that will follow; it certainly doesn't HAVE to in any event, assuming the minister handles it all properly. My rule at weddings has always been to give the bride and groom exactly the ceremony they've been dreaming about, without allowing them to embarrass themselves. And I also like to remind them that it is a ritual and not a "performance," and to keep things as simple, dignified, and authentic as possible. I actually think this dance easily meets all of those criteria. And I've certainly witnessed far less "creative" things that don't.

Transient and Permanent said...

I don't have any problem with it. It isn't disrespectful: it is joyous and fun, as a wedding should be. I assume the actual exchange of vows was not done through interpretive dance.

Although it isn't part of the UU heritage, there are in fact many religious rituals around the world that involve dance.

James Andrix said...

I can't think of specific examples but I'd wager that in many cultures extravagant dancing is an essential part of the wedding itself. I think adopting that would be a very good general trend

ogre said...

My reaction on seeing it was "Wow" and to wipe away the tears starting to form. It expressed such a sense of joy and delight.

Can you identify what it was about it being "in the church portion" that bugs you?

I grant that I felt trepidation as it started--a fear that this would be... embarrassing to watch. But it wasn't. Done well, and sincerely, I think it's great.

Diggitt said...

I have been married three times. A large, a small, and a medium wedding. Two at UU churches, one at an Episcopal cathedral solemnized by the chaplain to the bishop. All were formal and proper. None lasted. What the heck. Whatever works is true.

It would augur better for everyone's future if the guys did more dancing and collectively shed about 300 pounds, though.

I totally agree about the joyousness.

uuMomma said...

Here's the backstory I wrote based on one little detail, okay, big detail: she's coming down the aisle alone. Why? Does it matter? The wedding party created a moment that doesn't have anyone feeling sorry for a bride walking herself down the aisle. Whatever allows her to do that gets my vote as reverent and holy enough to be in a church.

Chalicechick said...

Wow. Clearly I am outvoted.

Perhaps I'm just being too stuffy about the service portion of the wedding.

My focus was on the fact that it was a very secular song and the dancing seemed very secular in nature, so I was thinking that it was one more step toward making weddings more about theater than about the vows and the religious portion of the ceremony.

But y'all have raised some really excellent points and I am hereby rethinking this position.


PG said...


I'm with you in finding the dancing inappropriate to occur *inside* a church.

I actually belong to one of those cultural traditions where dancing is part of the wedding ritual: Hindu weddings often feature a bharat, which is when the family and friends of the bride welcome the family and friends of the groom to the wedding with a small band playing traditional music and dancing.

For my wedding (Hindu ceremony portion; we also had a civil ceremony in the non-denominational chapel of our shared law alma mater), we did this in the street outside the hotel where we'd be having the actual ceremony with the priests. The bride doesn't participate, but everyone else is out there. We had to get guys from freaking Toronto to play the music; my mom swore these were the closest ones who would know the music to play from our specific region of India.

I have been to many Hindu weddings, and I've never seen the dancing and music of the bharat occur in the same place where the priests will be chanting Sanskrit, herding the couple around the fire and having the bride's family wash the groom's feet. The bharat is part of the wedding, yes, and it's steeped in tradition, but it's not precisely a religious part. The priests aren't involved at all; no one is referencing the gods.

So coming from my particular cultural tradition, I would have thought it was awesome if they had done the dancing *outside* the church, but it didn't seem right to be occurring in what is supposed to be a house of God. I admit that when my husband showed me the video, I sniffed, "Low church Protestants."

(Probably due to my family's religion being strong on incense and formality, as well as having gone to Episcopalian chapel once a week from nursery through 5th grade, I am a bit snobby about the move in Protestantism, particularly of the evangelical type, toward jeans and pop music hymns in church.)

Chalicechick said...

((((I am a bit snobby about the move in Protestantism, particularly of the evangelical type, toward jeans and pop music hymns in church)))

My mother is pretty relaxed and groovy about most things, but you do not want to get her going on this subject.


Jess said...

I love this idea, especially how authentic it seems for the couple and their friends, but I hate that the song is by Chris Brown, of beating-up-his-girlfriend fame. And the song itself is rather misogynistic in the verses.

But as far as an expression of one couple's joy in celebrating their wedding, I think it absolutely belongs in their ceremony.

Joel Monka said...

I didn't care much for the dancing being inside the service area, either. Some might find that strange, given the music and dancing at most Pagan weddings, (or handfastings, etc.), but a Wiccan or a Druid won't be doing fad dances to pop tunes. I liked the light spirit, but not the music or dancing.

You know, joy and dignity are not mutually exclusive.

hafidha sofia said...

I liked it a lot because it seemed representative of this couple and their relationship with each other and their loved ones. Most people do the traditional thing and because it lacks meaning for them, they focus on and get caught up in decorations, guest lists, the dress, etc.

James Andrix said...

Perhaps the line between secular and religious music and dance ought to be a bit blurred.

Steve Caldwell said...

When my partner showed me the video, my comments were that the joyful dancing seemed pretty cool.

I also said that there is probably at least one dour Unitarian Universalist minister who would comment on the lack of "solemnity" in the dancing. So I'm not surprised with some of the comments about the dance.

The wedding is taking place in a church building.

However, we don't know if the ceremony is a religious or a secular one.

The female officiant could be a justice of the peace and the couple rented the church for their wedding because they like the space and not because they wanted a religious wedding.

I can't tell from the video if the officiant is wearing any sort of ministerial garb (stole, etc). It looks like she is wearing daytime business attire.

So -- we really don't know if the dancing was diluting the religious nature of the wedding ceremony because we really don't know how religious the ceremony was.

I know that our UU church rents our building out for weddings and most of them are not weddings for our members or even UU weddings in general. And some of these weddings use a justice of the peace instead of clergy in our sanctuary.

The reason that we have so many weddings with non-UU renters is that we send representatives to the "bridal fairs" (trade shows for the "wedding-industrial complex").

So far, we haven't had any spectacular choreography done in our sanctuary on YouTube yet.

NoraL said...

"Joyful, Joyful" is my favorite hymn, but it needs to be done ala Sister Act II.

Religion needs more joyful, joyful and less solemn and serious.

I love this video, love what they did and feel more weddings need this awe, wonder and joy.

PG said...

However, we don't know if the ceremony is a religious or a secular one.

I assumed it was religious because of the cross present. When we rented a chapel for a secular civil ceremony, the cross was removed for the duration of our rental.

DairyStateDad said...

I guess I'm just an old fuddy duddy but I really didn't like it.

But then DairyStateMom and I were glad that the place we married had a rule that only sacred music be performed on the premises (meaning neither of those old chestnuts, the wedding march from Lohengrin nor the wedding march from Mendelsohn's Midsummer Night's Dream were permitted, which was fine w/ us).

And some of the comments pointing out the joy reflected in the occasion soften my heart a little :-)

Earthbound Spirit said...

I watched the video once about a week ago, thought "wow, looks like they had a good time;" and then I didn't watch it again until just now. I still think it looks like fun - and a visual representation of the joy that brings them to this place, at this time, to be married.

A couple comments: The bride danced in alone, but the groom also dances in separated from the wedding party. It's just that the attendants were still dancing in the aisle at the same time as the groom.

I liked the way the groom met the bride partway down the aisle, and the dancing became more of a joyful walk - a nice visual cue to everyone that the serious part of the celebration was about to begin. By the time they're at the front, it's looking like a pretty conventional wedding party.

And a tangential note: I wouldn't assume that the presence of a cross meant the ceremony would be religious.

There is a megachurch near me which rents its space to public high schools for graduation ceremonies. The church does not allow the removal or covering of its large cross during such events. Similarly, I've done a couple memorial services for decidedly secular UUs at a hospice chapel which features a non-movable cross.

PG said...

I think it was a religious ceremony. The person presiding is a pastor in the Church of the Brethren with a M.Div.

Steve Caldwell said...

The wedding couple has set up a web site to raise funds for the Sheila Wellstone Institute's work in ending domestic violence.


To me, this seems like a very good thing to do with the "accidental fame" their wedding video has brought to them.