Here I Go Again: Save the Date Highlights Wedding Folly
Photos and text by Joe Flood.
One bride married seven different grooms in Save the Date, a performance by Kathryn Cornelius that explored the life cycle of marriage and divorce. It was a joyous piece of performance art that was part of Free Summer Saturdays at The Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Cornelius got married - and divorced - seven times in one day. While the grooms were young and old, black and white, male and female, Cornelius was the constant in this cycle of matrimony. Every hour, on the hour, she married someone new, from the time the museum opened until it closed at five in the afternoon.
Like Sisyphus in a white dress, Cornelius repeated the cycle of wedding, reception, divorce and then joyous rebirth. Visitors to the museum were a part of this blessed event. They watched vows being exchanged on the steps of the Corcoran and then were invited in to the reception, where they danced to Bon Jovi and sipped champagne.
And were there to witness the quickie divorce, as Cornelius and her groom literally drifted apart across the dance floor, mouthing pablum phrases like, “I don’t know who you are anymore.”
Cornelius and the groom left their rings behind, with the divorce attorney. She drifted off, looking sad in her wedding groom.
But then “Here I Go Again,” by Whitesnake fired up. Cornelius threw her arms in the air and danced away, ready for one more try at love.
Weddings are so ritualized that even people who stumbled into Save the Date got the joke. Of course, the groom would stuff cake into the bride’s mouth. A bouquet would be thrown, a garter removed. These are the required elements of any wedding performance.
Save the Date highlighted what what we all expect in a wedding, as it mocked the conventions of the form. Seven weddings, all the same except for the groom, demonstrated how rote the ceremony has become.
With the average cost of wedding in DC being $30,000 is Cornelius really the crazy one? We laugh at the absurdity of a fake wedding but Save the Date didn’t involve anything real. She didn’t invest a year of her life or thousands of dollars on a gaudy venture with only a 50% success rate. Maybe real weddings are absurd and fake ones make more sense.
Would that more people had the courage to resist the folly of the modern wedding. But most will not. They will repeat the cycle, as Cornelius did seven times on one day in August. To quote Whitesnake:
No, I don't know where I'm going
But, I sure know where I've been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
An' I've made up my mind,
I ain't wasting no more time
Here I go again
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