I am a Yid. I like to rock. Veitur!

- [ Thursday, June 24, 2004 ] -
Two Weddings
I went to two very different weddings this week for two very different couples. Both couples are good friends of mine. Both couples are Jewish and Orthodox. Although, you could possibly describe one couple as a little "unorthodox." I wish them all the heartiest mazal tov. And wish both couples, a long, healthy life together, filled with joy, yiddishkeit and lots of kids.

One wedding reception was at a fancy hotel downtown, the other was in a shul. Obviously, there were vast differences in budget. That did not make one wedding more beautiful than the other.

Both wedding ceremonies were held outside at lakefront parks. Thank G-d, the weather was beautiful for both.

The difference that I found most interesting was the third dance set. At all the Orthodox weddings I have been to, the main dancing is done during the first two dance sets. The third set can be iffy. It's often used to satisfy a member of the wedding party who requires music other than the standard simcha dancing music, usually done during the first two. Sometimes this is purposefully done after bentching so all the 'respectable' folks can leave and the party animals can get-down.

At one wedding, the rockin' wedding band (a rare-wedding gig by ev├źn sh'siyah) left the stage for an our favorite Black Sabbath cover band, Bloody Sabbath (Matt Kanter on drums, Mark Sugar on guitar, Yosef Nathan on vocals and Sh|aye Robe|son on bass). All the members are friends, involved in completely separate musical projects. They haven't played together in over two years, and without practicing, took the stage at the chattan's request. They played a few songs, note for note and totally rocked. The chattan (who is, as they say, "metal as all hell") jumped on stage and played along side the band on the percussion kit. Everyone else was just bouncing around and singing along in front of the stage, rocking out. Including the kallah, who was having the time of her life. Rock on!

If you think this is inappropriate for a Jewish wedding, perhaps you should also consider the dreaded mixed-dance set.

At the other wedding, they played the dreaded mixed-dance set. I believe that this is the same secular music played at all weddings, Orthodox or not. I can usually be referred to as a party-pooper for disliking this set. I would still have to be drunk from the tish in order to thoroughly ignore how much I dislike these songs.I'd rather do the chicken-dance. The overwhelming majority of people still at the wedding really enjoyed this set. The dislike of this style dance-set is my own. I'm not as much halachicly offended (it does make me feel weird to dance to it) as I am musically offended.

Sometimes this dance set can contain wildly inappropriate songs to the lucky ignorance of most party-goers. For instance, at my own wedding, we had a third, mixed dance set. There was a mix-up with the timing and number of pieces so the set they played didn't exactly have all the nice songs we requested. One of the songs played was, "Brown Sugar." I love the Rolling Stones, but there is a time and a place for everything. Some might find the lyrics quite tasteless ("Brown sugar, just like a black girl should"). Who wouldn't be proud to have a song about master/slave s*x at their wedding? As it turned out, this wasn't an issue with a single other person besides me. None of the guests thought twice about it.

I think you're just being overly grumpy about it. Truthfully, I doubt that many people actually like songs like "Celebration" or "Twist and Shout". These are not songs that we listen to when on our own, or chilling with friends.

Sure, they're kinda silly. But that's also part of what makes them fun. You're at a wedding. You're in a great mood. You're with people you care about. If you have no problems with mixed dancing, why not let yourself be a little silly, look a little stupid, and just have a good time? If you can't be silly around your friends, who can you be silly around?