Two good friends of mine married each other on Friday, and I had the opportunity to go to their reception that night. As the evening was nearing its end, it came time for the part of the reception that pretty much all single people over the age of 21 detest. Thats right, the bouquet/garter toss. I don't know if this comes as a surprise to you, dear reader, or not. But I can't recall having been at a reception where this was anything but awkward and uncomfortable.
Why is that you say? For starters, it feels like us single folks are being paraded out for everyone to look at. "Everyone who isn't married yet, come stand over here. We want to see who is the most desperate to grab something we're going to throw that, as legend has it, will indicate who is the next person who will get married." So it always takes like 5 minutes to drag all, or most, of the single people out to the designated spot. Then there's the moment when everyone tries not to be in the front of the group, which means that the group slowly moves backward away from the person doing the throwing. Now, bouquets seem to fly pretty well through the air, but garters are pretty much not going more than 10 feet tops. Which means that generally the garter is going to land on the ground even if the person in front actually wants to catch it, and generally they don't. And what a person does with one of those if they do catch it is beyond me. Am I going to hang it on the wall or something? Thankfully, I've been able to avoid grabbing one so far.
Anyway, as you can tell, this whole scene is pretty awkward and embarrassing for everyone involved. I'm not going to come out and say that it has to be stopped, although that would be nice. No one really believes that catching the item will actually increase their chances of getting married, or whatever its supposed to mean, so you're going to be hard pressed to find a group of singles who are excited about participating in this tradition.
But if it can't be stopped, I suggest at least making a little change. I've suggested before that people getting married ought to give gifts to their single friends. Well here is an excellent way to go about it. When you drag them out to humiliate them, by expecting them to jump like trained dolphins for the stuff you are going to throw, at least compensate them a bit. How? By taping some cold, hard cash to the the bouquet and garter. The reception is already costing you an arm and a leg. Why not take $100 and split it up between the bouquet and the garter? If I know single people, and I think I do, you're going to get a lot better response if there's a fisky coming to the person who catches it. The amount probably needs some experimenting. You don't want to incite a riot, but you do want people to be excited about it. Either way, your single friends will appreciate the thought.
Anyway, thats my rant for today.