Breaking from Tradition

Breaking from Tradition

How to break it?

I should point out, that I am not referring to the glass cup or light bulb during a Jewish ceremony that often proves to be a traditional task, but rather to breaking bad news. More precisely: How to tell your best friends from teenage days that, after 25 years, you are breaking with a tradition and not have them perform a cheesy song with carefully choreographed miming of the lyrics at your wedding?

To get to the nitty gritty: I grew up in Germany where, particularly in the more rural regions, weddings traditionally incorporate a plethora of little performances, dances, slide shows and other bits that, more fittingly should be showcased during a fringe festival. But where I come from, these “performances” are done by your friends and loved ones to remind you and everyone that they are happy with your choice and welcome your new spouse to the clan. Just after graduation, my best friends and I performed such a ditty when one from our midst tied the knot. The song was aptly named “Freunde” (or in English “Friends”), a re-write of the original song “Männer” or men by Herbert Grönemeyer. I won’t bore you with the details but it involves amongst other things: hands waving in the air for the line “party like idiots”, fake smoking and pretending to be a digger – yes, QUITE.

Don’t get me wrong, when we performed this during our graduation part and three subsequent weddings, it was a hoot. We laughed and so did everyone else – with or about us remains debatable. But as years passed, the first marriage fell apart (which had nothing to do with the song by the way) and people moved into different countries and started careers. I missed three more performances during that time.

Then, three years ago it was finally time to plan my own wedding. I had almost but forgotten about our little tradition when it came to inviting my friends to the Yorkshire country estate that we had chosen for our wedding. The Friday before the big day arrived and so did our guests. It was a big hello, full of joy and laughter. That was, until one of my mates took me aside and asked me delicately when the perfect time slot would be, for the dreaded rendition – for which they apparently had been practising via skype and what not.

How to tell them: No, thank you. This will spoil the ambience that I wanted to create. Diplomacy comes in handy, just as it does when making sure that the overly tactile uncle is placed amongst the rugby mates rather than the bridesmaids. Or when you have one of your more trustworthy groomsmen patrol and usher tipsy wedding guests away from breakables and possible turmoil.

It was my spouse who came to the rescue during this particular diplomatic crisis. He suggested that the song be performed for the wedding videographer, rather than live. Like this the timeframe of the do wouldn’t be disrupted and we would get to enjoy their show over and over again, in years to come. That worked, thankfully! I knew there was a reason to say: I do.

Its your wedding your way, even if you took part in traditions before its ok break from them. Just remember to be honest and kind to yourself and others.

By Konstantin Goldau

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