I've always loved weddings. When I was younger, I saw them as a giant, free party.
And I still do. But as I age -- and move out of the wedding phase of life and into the era when everybody starts getting divorced -- I don't go to all that many weddings anymore.
So when I do -- as I did some weeks back -- they are a real source of rejuvenation for me personally.
There are the obvious reasons for this: true love, the pageantry, Pachelbel's Canon etc.
But there are also other ways in which attending a wedding will give you an much needed energy boost. Here are five:
1. Dancing - I've loved the weddings I've gone to in a friend's basement as much as the ones I've gone to that took over an entire hotel. At the end of the day, it's all about the people. But I must say that if you haven't gone out dancing in a while -- (and let's be honest, who does that after they hit 40?) -- boy, is it fun to go to someone else's dancing party. At the wedding I attended recently, there was a large age spread among the guests. So the DJ went out of his way to alternate a bunch of contemporary music -- which brought out my teen-aged nieces and nephews -- with some classic music that got the -- ahem -- older crowd out there. I mean, seriously. "Come On, Eileen" followed by "Twist and Shout"? What's not to love?
2. Drinking - I don't know about you, but ever since I turned 40 I can't drink more than two beers without getting a hangover. But sometimes it really is fun to throw caution to the wind, stock up on your migraine medicine, and get out there and belly up to the bar. (Especially when you're partying with 18 year-olds...) I hate to say it but it *will* make you feel young again. (Until the hangover kicks in, anyway...)
3. Socializing - Yes, as I age I'm all in favor of hanging out in smaller groups. But once in a while it's exhilarating to enter a room with 100 people and mingle. At the wedding I went to recently, I spoke with friends from high school, relatives ranging from 3 to 83, and complete strangers. My favorite guest was one of my nephew's friends, a 20-year-old guy who kept repeating the phrase "I'm just here to have fun" and became the Zelig of the entire event, appearing in every photo and dancing to every tune. I dubbed him "random party guy" and kept circling back to check in on him throughout the weekend.
4. Travel - One of the nicest aspects of weddings is that they often take you to places you'd never go otherwise. And that gives you a chance to soak up a different atmosphere, whether it's the Deep South or a remote beach or a foreign country. Over the years, I've been to weddings in Birmingham, Paris, Cape Cod and Daytona Beach. And part of the appeal of each one was the chance to soak up the local culture. The wedding I went to recently took place on a vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. I didn't even know they had vineyards on Long Island but it was absolutely beautiful. (And helped out with #2, natch...)
5. Cake - I will not pretend otherwise that my favorite dessert on earth is wedding cake. If at heart you have the dietary preferences of an 11 year-old boy, it gets no better than this.
Follow Delia Lloyd on Twitter: www.twitter.com/realdelia