Since I recently wrote on the trials of being single, in the interest of fairness, I thought I’d say something on the institution of marriage. I’ve been married a couple of times, so I consider myself to be almost an expert on the subject but still, I did the obligatory research, and these are some of my findings:
According to government figures, there were 2,132,853 marriages in the United States in 2018. 65,036 of these knot-tying ceremonies were held in Georgia. I couldn’t find any statistics on the number of marriages since the COVID disaster, but there’s no doubt the number has dropped dramatically. A positive side of this is that when marriage rates drop, so do divorce rates.
There are one million divorces in the United States each year. This is nearly half of the number of marriages. “‘Til death do us part” is the part of the wedding vow that is now largely ignored as the average length of an American marriage is now only 8.2 years. In 2018, Georgia had 26,550 divorces. This is a little better than the national average but not much.
A few years ago, one of my sideline jobs was making wedding videos. Every wedding has its own unique story and recording something so special on video is always challenging. You only get one chance for every shot. Of course, the bride is always the star of the show and her mother is always the one in charge. The groom only becomes important when he’s standing before the preacher.
Unfortunately, out of all the wedding videos I produced, I only know of one marriage that’s still together. Sometimes I could just tell when a blessed union wasn’t going to last.
Once I was commissioned to do a video for a couple who obviously had no business getting married. They had an extremely tumultuous engagement, fighting and arguing daily, and even the cops had to show up a couple of times. Still, they were convinced their love would overcome any of their differences and were determined to go through with it.
An important sequence of any wedding video is one with the bride and bridesmaids primping hair, piling on makeup, and generally having a good old time while getting ready for the big moment. The hero shot of this sequence is a close-up of the bride smiling into a makeup mirror. Well, this argumentative bride wouldn’t crack a smile no matter how much I begged and explained the importance of it. I could’ve goosed her in the ribs, and it wouldn’t have done any good. I assumed she was angry with her fiancé since she always was anyway.
This grouchy bride scowled throughout the biggest day of her life. But, in all fairness, she had every reason to. The ceremony began with the groom showing up 15 minutes late with two drunken groomsmen dragging their even-more-drunk buddy up to the altar. The bride had to keep a tight grip on him to keep him falling over while he mumbled and slurred his vows, swaying left and right.
During the reception, while the newlyweds were having their first official married fight while performing their first official dance, the bride happened to smile sarcastically after some insult directed toward her new husband. I then saw that the real reason for her constant frown was that she was missing a variety of teeth. Upper and lower. Front and back. She and her family had invested quite a bit of money on this big event, but teeth weren’t on the budget.
My motto is “the show always comes first”. Personalities, egos, or crybaby feelings come last. Even if it’s a cheat, I always strive for the best look, so I took the frames of those fleeting seconds when she finally smiled during that most important dance, imported them into photoshop, and tediously painted in her missing teeth frame by frame. I then exported those frames back to the editing program and the rest was magic.
I was a bit nervous as I sat with her on her couch as she reviewed my work for the first time on her big-screen TV. At first, she seemed quite pleased with everything. The music cuts fit perfectly and with my use of effects, filters, and a couple of tricks I know, you couldn’t even tell the groom was plastered on his butt.
When she reached the frames of her only smile, which I had rendered in slow-motion, she stopped the video, backed it up and replayed it three times without saying a word. I became extremely concerned that I had offended her by giving her computer-generated teeth and asked her if everything was OK. She responded with the biggest toothless grin I’ve ever seen. She was so happy, I could’ve gone on a honeymoon with her. And in case you’re wondering, their marriage didn’t even make it to the average 8.2 years mark. Sadly…
Steve Reece is a contributing writer for the Reporter and a known crime fighter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.