Wedding Season Reflections Part III: A Healthy Balance of Hard Work and Fun

For my final reflection, after celebrating the fact that there’s power vested in us and giving a few awesome sexual newbies wedding night advice, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite weddings of the summer. While I loved being present for all of these amazing nuptials (just like when I go see a play – it’s nice in the audience), but I really prefer being onstage.

So I was happy to be a big part of my best friend’s wedding. In my role as “best man,” I had a lot of jobs to do. Some prescribed by the bride and groom, and some prescribed by society. However, this wedding was so much more than just a usual wedding.

As camping people and all-around cool people, Will and his bride-to-be Laura decided to have a carnival themed wedding (complete with an inflatable slide!), and host it at the camp at which Will was working. So we, as the wedding party, were in charge of not only the outfits and photos, but also the food, the site, the transportation, and really every aspect you can think of. I arrived a week early to start the preparations, and we didn’t stop until the whole site was cleaned up the day after the wedding.

This was truly a community effort and a celebration of love. With only a brief respite for a Tuesday night bachelor party (rock climbing and a bar crawl – in that order, for safety) in which the raciest thing that happened was that the groom got smacked in the face with a piece of pizza (true story, with photo evidence)PizzaFace, we got to work cleaning and polishing the camp for the barrage of guests that would soon descend on us. We worked hard for days. I joked with one of the bridesmaids that we were one of the few wedding parties lucky enough to get to clean the bathrooms at our reception hall.

But, as I was reflecting on this, it made me realize – isn’t that what it takes to make a great relationship? If you go into a relationship half-heartedly and expect not to work at it, it will more than likely be disappointing. But when you approach a relationship with eyes open, expecting to work hard to be in the relationship and keep that relationship going, it is more likely that the relationship will last long enough for you to reap the benefits from that hard work. And, just like putting together a kick-ass wedding celebration for your best friend, it will really feel like work that is worth doing. And I really feel that the hard work makes the celebration that much sweeter.


Will&Laura SlidePizza photo by the author.

Slide photo thanks to wphotography

About Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen, LLMSW/MPH, is a sex educator and therapist practicing in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. His professional interests include HIV, polyamory, compulsive sexual behavior, religion and sexuality, and GLBT issues.