Themed weddings are all the rage these days. Why get married in a boring, stilted ceremony – white dress, big church, parents on Vicodin – when you could be forever joined in holy matrimony on an authentic Indian elephant? Or in a giant cage suspended over the superheated maw of an active volcano? Or while dressed up as Nazis?
Recent years have seen new kinds of themed weddings bloom like a hundred flowers and contend like a hundred schools of thought. And yet current trends disappoint: no-one, to my knowledge, has performed a marriage to the theme of Socialist Revolution. Where’s the Internationale playing on the organ? Where’s the low-level cadre member who swears two workers into communal life together on a copy of Das Kapital? Where’s the cake with Lenin’s face on it that nobody dares to cut and so the whole party is instead hungry in silence? You might say that a wedding like this is in bad taste. But if Nazis are already on the table, surely a Stalinist ceremony can’t be too far away from the cultural mainstream.
Seeing as culture will never advance if we don’t envision that advance in a Five-Year Plan, here are five ideas for the prefect communist wedding:
1. Wedding in a Gulag
Just for kicks, you and your loved one can get married in an authentic prison camp! Surrounded by the groans of underfed inmates with frostbite, hemmed in by chain links and barbed wire, you can have your wedding photos taken next to many inspiring sights: A run-down barracks. An empty bowl! An old boot with a hole in it that everybody wants to steal because this is the best footwear in the whole camp and their toes are falling off.
Engrave the prisoners’ life stories on your wedding rings, like “Kim Min-seong stole a single potato” and “My friend Dmitry is a Nobel Laureate!” Slowly realize that the place you have come to is not a country with prison camps, but a prison camp with a country.
Try to leave.
2. Love Is Red, Your Wedding Is Red
Have your Great People’s Wedding in a cathedral you’ve seized from rightist forces and remade for the Proletariat. Statues of sweating peasants and toiling workers flank you at the doors, and, over the altar, two huge metal hands thrust down from the vaults holding a giant bronze AK-47. The stained glass shows scenes of battle, all in red, the color of the revolution.
Red! Like blood of Civilian Martyrs of the May 1st Movement. The pews are red. The stones are red. The dress is red. Everything is red. You have smeared food coloring over yourself and are wearing contacts. You have dyed your hair with a poisonous chemical that burns your scalp as the cadre leader reads the vows over your copy of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.
Later, driving home in your Zaporozhet, you realize with anger that the stop light is red. Red, the color of revolution, means “stop”! Red obstructs progress, the Great Progress of Constant Revolution, while it should mean “GO!” You cannot let this stand, and drive into traffic.
As the gas fire from the crushed engine envelops the guests, you are happy that at least the flames of your cremation are the proper color of truth.
3. Wed by Bureaucracy
Before the revolution, your grandparents were peasants and your betrothed’s were dirty nobles – but that doesn’t matter now! The revolution has put the very notion of class into its long-deserved grave, and you can wed with impunity thanks to the Party.
So the two of you marry and you return to your job frowning at screws on a conveyor belt. For years you work diligently, hoping to earn a promotion to frowning at tanks. Only twenty years later, with your spouse bedridden and your 30-year-old son living in the basement, do you realize that you were labelled a Counterrevolutionary on the day of your marriage to a Class Enemy. Your spouse will never get her medicine. Your son will never have a job. You have tainted your bloodline for seven generations. The marriage certificate, a simple piece of paper locked in the high tower of a mid-level bureaucrat, follows you to your death like the shadow of the devil.
4. The Great Leap Forward
You and your loved one invite your great big extended families to your wedding! Both your families are starving to death and they eat each other’s eyes.
5. Political Asylum Wedding
For your rustic country marriage, you reserve a small chapel in a dusty little town ten miles south of the Mexican border. There is only you, your beloved, a few close friends for witnesses, and an ancient priest. True to your socialist roots, you’ve kept it basic to avoid the bustle and expense of a grand showy marriage. Here, in small town America, you can finally leave the cruelty and backstabbing and ideological buffoonery of your past life behind.
Just as you reach to put the ring on the finger of the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, an old friend slides an ice pick between your shoulders.