by Thom Ernst Sunday July 20, 2008

It wasn't easy selling a group of friends who were sitting around the campfire this past weekend on the idea of the three movie wedding-themed night coming up on Saturday Night at the Movies. It's not that they had anything against movies or weddings - although some confused THE PHILADELPHIA STORY with PHILADELPHIA and wondered what it had to do with the theme - it's just that everyone sitting at that particular campfire has had their own wedding and even if they hadn't they've attended enough to know what to expect. And to be fair, the view of a full moon rising above Gould Lake is a pretty spectacular argument for spending the summer at the cottage among friends.

IMG_1563It may not be immediately recognized as one, but this is a wedding photo.

Now, I'm not asking anyone to stay home from the cottage this weekend, or even forgo the campfire - I'm just letting you know that there are three very entertaining, maybe even unusual weddings airing on TVO and you're more than welcome to check them out. I'm sure the marshmallows will keep.

I would like to point out that there is somewhat of a paradox going on here. Aside from all of us having children at the same time, it was a wedding that brought most of this group together. (It's my wife's "mother's group" who get along so well that they've extended their perimeters to include the fathers.) A few weeks back we attended the wedding of one of the group's members and her partner. It's the first wedding I've attended where the groom was actually a knight in shining armour. The bride wore a 1970's off-white jump suit with her hair done in a Farrah Fawcett-Majors flip. The best man was in full punk rock attire complete with skull cap and mohawk hairdo, and me...I got to wear my fedora.

A Knight in Shining Armour and his Farrah maiden.

The point is, as much as we might think Hollywood has fully and completely exploited the theme of the traditional marriage ceremony either through comedy, irony or cynicism - it has nothing on the renovations that have been going on with today's real-life ceremonies. I've attended several weddings this year (and one that I missed but would have loved to have been at) and each manages to twist my expectations into something surprisingly fresh and entertaining.


IMG_1541Our cottage hosts, Brian and Elizabeth, go Gangster/Flapper when t.v. people throw a wedding.

What struck me about this most recent wedding, the one with the Knight and his Farrah, is that I was inspired to take pictures of guests I didn't even know. Everyone came in costume. Each table decided on a period theme and came dressed accordingly. Our table was a cross between 1930s Hollywood and the gangster/flapper era. Other groups included 17th century courtyard sheek, 1970s disco, and one family of four who came as The Habs as they were seen on early black and white television (I wish I had a photo). The speeches, particularly from the two fathers had the comic timing of a club act and the 'grace', given by a man in full Merlin garb, was a thoughtful, all-inclusive, glorious celebration on the word 'grace' itself. In short, this is not my parents idea of a wedding.

But there is a reason for this, and for the fact that the other two weddings that happened this year didn't march step-in-step with tradition. Each couple getting married have something to do with the television, movie or performance industry. In a way, we are back to the Hollywood wedding without the gossip and the roaming paparazzi (although one of the couples, comedian, Tim Steeves, who presented television host, Sonya Buyting with a ring on the Just For Laughs stage in Montreal, did have their proposal pic printed in several papers.).

H.D. television WATCH THIS host, Sonya Buyting and stand-up comic Tim Steeves react appropriately to the clergy's reading of the traditional vows.

I missed Tim and Sonya's New Brunswick wedding, but I hear Sonya whooped her way down the aisle in her lively unsinkable Molly Brown fashion and Tim, writer for THE MERCER REPORT, displayed much of his wit by upping the entertainment value in response to the traditional vows.

I blogged before about the third "celebrity wedding" between our producer Shereen Ali getting hitched to TVOKids Host alum, Phil McCordic. Their wedding might have been traditional if they hadn't pre-taped a filmed reenactment of their meeting in the style and format of t.v.'s THE OFFICE and presented vows worthy of a Emmy-winning sitcom: "i promise not to talk during your t.v. programs." "And I promise to pretend I'm listening when you talk during my t.v. programs." As the bride and groom's first dance Shereen and Phil offered a stylized tribute to Uma Thurman and John Travolta's dance from PULP FICTION.

shereen and phil
SNAM producer, Shereen Ali out Uma's Uma while Phil McCordic trumps Travolta

Father Of The Bride 1_1
Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy in FATHER of the BRIDE

The theme for this weekend's Saturday Night at the Movies: The Interviews is HOLLYWOOD WEDDINGS. This encore presentation of FATHER OF THE BRIDE, PHILADELPHIA STORY and A WEDDING is the first of Saturday Night at the Movies foray into a actual, solid, calculated triple-bill - the accumulated time of which adds up to the length of most traditional weddings if you include the rehearsal dinner.

A Wedding
Desi Arnaz Jr. and Amy Stryker in Robert Altman's A WEDDING

It almost seems a shame to do this blog now and not save it for the new season when SNAM: The Interviews tackles the theme of INTERNATIONAL WEDDINGS featuring the films MONSOON WEDDING and FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL. If anything breaks from the tried-and-true format of the familiar North American nuptials, it's a wedding from another community. But I'm certain by then I'll have found other things to say.