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And speaking of the bride

No more the silent partner at her wedding, the bride is starting to have her say. Listen up now.

If movies are the barometer of current social mores, then I`d say the romance genre is giving today`s bride sass appeal. It`s thanks largely to Julia Roberts, of course: the wit, the sincerity, the endearing vulnerability and that radiant spark which she brings to her character in a film like Runaway Bride etches a refreshing image of feminine spunk that replaces the conventionally demure bride we`ve become accustomed to seeing.

Not that I`m advocating that a bride ups and leaves her betrothed at the altar. Uh-uh. I`m thinking more along the lines of words speaking louder than actions. To illustrate what I mean, let`s cut to another memorable screen moment, a clip from the movie Notting Hill, when Julia (who else?) declares so simply yet so effectively: "I`m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her."Yep, given her five minutes` worth, a bride can make her wedding that much more happening with a bit of wording. I know, I know: we can`t all be Julia Roberts. But every bride has something of that wit, or that sincerity, or that endearing vulnerability on her wedding day. Having been to various wedding receptions where the bride has spoken, I`ve seen - and heard - it for myself.

There was the time when a very nervous Sharlene took the stand at her nuptials and introduced herself: "For those of you who don`t know me, I`m Sardine." A spontaneous trip of the tongue that actually served as a brilliant ice-breaker, as the bride, realising her foible, quickly quipped: "And we`re all having a whale of a time, aren`t we!" Spurred on by laughter and applause, she extended the metaphor: "Now you know where we`re going on honeymoon - fishing, of course!"

Then there was my Jewish friend`s trip of the train: as she made her way to the podium to speak, her headdress began tippling over and, clutching it for dear life while uttering a few flurried gasps, when she reached the mike, all in a tizz, she unintentionally let out an apt faux pas: "Oy vey-l!" she exclaimed, to the amusement of the audience.In contrast, my friend Rosemary was simple eloquence itself as she declared a different three words to her new husband: "I`ve come home."

Then there was Cilla who usually has a sunny, subdued disposition and is not the type to speak in front of a crowd. A committed Christian, she sat at the main table listening attentively to her father`s account of the origins of her religious observance: "To the sound of her fellow worshippers saying `Amen`, my enchanted little girl would look towards the male members of the congregation, flutter her eyes and sigh `Ah Men`!" Her husband made some witty remark in a similar vein.

Not to be out-teased, Cilla seized the moment and treated her guests to a refreshing show of bridal bravura. At the end of her husband`s speech, she stood up, sashayed to the podium and declared: "Let me clarify what I was actually saying - it was `Hah! Men`!"`It worked for them,` I hear prospective brides saying, `but speaking or not speaking at her wedding is the bride`s perogative.`Not necessarily. My mother was sitting pretty at her wedding listening to her husband`s oratory. Along with her immediate and extended family, she was a new immigrant to the country from the Belgian Congo, where French was the first language, although mom spoke English too. My father ended his speech so: "I`d like to call on my wife to say a few words in French for those who didn`t understand." At first mom thought this was the punchline, and sat there smiling. The groom repeated his last sentence, motioning to her. Mom had no choice and performed an impromptu, but she relates that that was the last surprise my father would spring on her in a long while. The marriage survived.

A joint speech makes a happy compromise - it`s not an uncommon option for couples today. You can give it an original touch and try singing that first song as a duo - it beats having to attend a series of dance classes, not so?Think about it, ladies: it`s acceptable that the groom speak on behalf of the bride, but has the opposite ever happened? And why not!?Having your say is not about women`s lib. It`s about adding your own personal stamp - you can say a simple thank you, pay a heartfelt tribute to a departed parent, recite your favourite poem, share your own brand of esoterica or try out some humour (stand-up comedy is very in these days).

Now that you`re a New Age bride, it`s time to raise your voice as well as your champagne glass and do away with the 20th century habit of having only the groom do the chooning to the chinas. It`s passF; history - you know, his story. Tell us yours as well. Besides, you may find yourself in the same predicament as my mom. Don`t say I didn`t warn you.

Article source: LifeWorld



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