Saturday Exclusive: Scenes from a Wedding

Rhinebeck, New York, was the place to be on Saturday if you had a yen for wedding madness.

Security was tight in the otherwise tranquil, tree-lined, Hudson River village known for its annual Dutchess County agricultural fair and vintage aerodrome shows. The buzz among the townspeople was palpable with congratulations signs in all the merchants’ windows.
Even the four local pizza restaurants were trying to outdo each others’
wedding day specials by making new offers hour-by-hour. . .

. . . from two slices and free Coke to two free slices and free Coke to two free slices, a free coke and a half price calzone.

I arrived at the wedding venue early, presented my Print magazine
press card and was told to wait in the garden. I immediately pulled out
my iPhone and, pretending to look at the Weather App,  secretly began
snapping pics.

The faulty G4 antenna, however, isn’t the only problem with the new
iPhone. I couldn’t get a usable image (see below). So I switched to the
tiny novelty digital camera on my key chain – not bad for five bucks.

Weddings always make me nostalgic for the old country:

The traditional Ukrainian wedding took place in the
early spring or the autumn and lasted several days. It was divided into
many acts or episodes: (1) the matchmaking (svatannia)—discussions about the marriage between the bridegroom’s representatives (starosty or svaty) and the bride’s parents or relatives; (2) the inspection (ohliadyny, obzoryny, rozhliadyny)—a visit by the bride’s relatives to the bridegrooms’s house for the purpose of assessing his wealth; (3) the betrothal (zaruchyny, rukovyny, khustky)—the marriage agreement between the young couple, symbolized by the joining of hands; (4) the branch (hiltse viltse)—a ceremonious dressing of a green tree with flowers, ribbons, and ears of wheat; (5) the wreaths (vinky)—a ritual making of wreaths using periwinkle, the symbol of virginity; (6) the invitation (zaproshuvannia) of guests to the wedding; (7) the seating (posad) of the betrothed couple in the place of honor at the table.”

Sorry. Back to the wedding: When the bride entered the main hall, she was not wearing a hiltse viltse or vinky, but she was as pretty as a periwinkle.

I watched  as her entourage,  wearing orange and blue taffeta
bride’s maid gowns with purple and pink orchid corsages, helped tighten
her bodice laces. The moment had arrived.

A minister and rabbi presided, each taking turns quoting from
Fleetwood Mac. Following the recitations the rabbi asked the
traditional: “Do you Mary Ann Smith take William Ian Dexter, for your
husband?”

Hey, wait a minute, Smith and Dexter?

What the. . . I was at the wrong wedding!

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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