I’m just back from a family wedding in Park City, Utah, only the second time I’ve been away from the Cotswolds on a weekend this year. My beautiful cousin, A., married her long-time boyfriend and business partner in the resort city in which they were engaged. I know this because the entire engagement — a faked ski accident during which a large diamond was produced from the snow– was professionally videotaped and subsequently made available on the couples’ official wedding website. My cousin and her husband have a penchant for capturing things for posterity. The entrance hall to the hoe down-themed rehearsal dinner was decorated with blown-up, black and white photos of them embracing on bales of hay. It was all a bit soft porn, and I felt vaguely dirty as I sat down to a buffet dinner of BBQ ribs and chicken. Once fed, the evening’s entertainment progressed to another video, this time narrated by the mother-in-law who had dressed up like a fairy godmother to deliver the humorous and not always fairytale story of how my cousin and her husband met.
The weekend’s events kept us busy, which is just as well. My entire family — sister, mother and father — were there, and as a family unit we are more or less reduced to observational dialogue at this point in our evolution. Politics are far too heated and enquiries from my parents into the lives of my sister and I only go one question deep. The potential for upset is presumably too great to dig any further. There’s only so long you can discuss the weather or the food or how nice the hotel is, but we’re rather good at it.
Unfortunately we’re in the company of some rather functional families and my father started making the inevitable comparisons. In particular, the groom’s family seems very bonded and very rich. There are loads of them and my father is exhibiting Jewish family envy, as evidenced by his “family values” comments at Sunday brunch, the closing event of the wedding weekend. Family is “all that matters” he tells my sister and me, the frustration across his face an unspoken indictment of my childlessness, my sister’s husbandlessness, and our dissection of the shellfish selection which has constituted the bulk of the morning’s conversation.
Later I ran into the fairy princess mother-in-law en route to the ladies room, who asked me if I liked the brunch. “It’s what the Stein Erickson Lodge is known for,” she added. I’ll remember it more for selling tampax at $10.74 per box, but the brunch was pretty good too.