One of the things that’s interesting about planning a wedding is how much you strive to make everything mean something. From the cake to the songs to the ceremony itself, every little piece of the puzzle ends up being associated with some shared memory (or memories) between the bride and the groom. While that’s a good thing, it can be maddeningly frustrating sometimes because there’s a finite time you have to nail everything down. I could spend a month just going over the playlist for the reception. But I’m a music dork/Nazi, so that’s not surprising.

One of the biggest hurdles Lucy and I have come across is the song for our first dance. It’s supposed to be something special, the words and music encapsulating how you feel about each other while appealing to the sensibilities of the both the bride and the groom. That’s proven to be an interesting task since Lucy and I have much different sensibilities about music (part of me wants to say hers are nowhere near as good as mine, but that would just be mean … though the jury is still out on the accuracy of said statement. Yes, that is a joke.) I was pushing for “Pigs on the Wing” by Pink Floyd, which is one of the most heartfelt and honest love songs I have ever heard – a surprising fact, since Roger Waters is the king of hamfisted metaphors. But Lucy said that, while a great song and definitely worthy of inclusion for the reception, it’s not enough of “our” song to be the soundtrack for our first dance as a married couple.

The closest thing she and I have to “a song” is “Bobcaygeon” by The Tragically Hip, which is about a cop  who, after a riot, considers quitting his job to go be with his significant other in the titular country town (it’s in Canada). When we were dating long-distance – she in Durham, me in Sylva – the song’s sentiments were something we shared. That and, along with almost every other song by The Hip, it’s pretty amazing. I am forced to play it every time I have my acoustic at the ready. However, it’s not much of a “first dance” song. It talks about riots and Aryans and all kinds of stuff that may not go across very well when family members are listening. So again, it’s on the playlist, but not as a “first dance.”

The current front-runner is an odd choice, but one I’m totally happy with and I think Lucy may like too (she liked it when I told her my idea). The song in question is “Keep Me in Your Heart” by Warren Zevon.

Anyone who knows Warren Zevon is well aware that the vast majority of his music is totally out of place at a wedding. But this song is different. In 2002 Zevon was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which was well beyond the point of operation. Knowing that he was going to die, Zevon set to work on his last album, “The Wind,” with this song that he wrote to his wife and kids.

Now I know, it may be a bit of a morbid choice. I told a friend of mine and she said that, even had she not known the backstory, you could tell it was about a man who was dying and thought that there had to be a better selection for our first dance. Maybe. But the more I think about it, the more I like it. There’s something beautiful about it – it’s an amazingly simple song, with no grand statements about life, death, love or anything else. I think it’s summed up best by this bit:

Sometimes when you’re doing simple things around the house
Maybe you’ll think of me and smile
You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for a while

I know the day of your marriage isn’t a time when you should ponder your mortality, but I think there’s something more universal at work. I can only hope to be a good enough husband to Lucy that when I’m not around, for whatever reason, that the thought of me would make her smile. I know that’s the case on my end, no matter how incredibly sappy it sounds. I’m working on it … I think that I’m doing a good job. You’d have to ask her. But to me that is a worthwhile hope for the beginning of your life with another person.

Does that make sense? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. But we’ll see what happens. There’s a couple months left to go.


~ by J on August 3, 2009.

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