I’ll never think secretly mean thoughts about your wedding, ever, ever again.
I owe some of you an apology. Two, actually.
1. I will never again get secretly reproachful of social friends who don’t invite me to their weddings.
By “social” friends, I mean you, friend I have tea with every few months; you, whom I work with; and you, whom I have met in the past year. The Wedding Planning Virgin Me felt a bit miffed every now and then when mutual pals approached me in grocery stores and asked if I would make it to So-and-So’s wedding on Saturday—the wedding whose existence I was only then learning about. Wedding Virgin Me knew nothing about tent rental fees, chair rental fees, and absolutely nothing about the number of people one Porta-Potty will service. (Ahh. An outdoor wedding. What could be quainter?)
And so, friends? I hereby declare this: I am so sorry. I know you were doing your best. I know now something I only had a faint inkling of before: namely, that a wedding is not a house party. Furthermore, if I’m on your “Maybe” List as a future nuptial invitee, go ahead and move me to “No” if it’ll make things easier for you. This is my wedding gift to you. We’ll get drinks sometime and we’ll toast you and you don’t ever have to worry about whether I prefer chicken or salmon.
2. Not that we’ve planned a “Chicken or salmon?” sort of wedding.
This was one of the first decisions we made when we decided to do this thing: No sit-down meal, no place cards and no chocolate fountains (Sorry, nieces!).
Besides, I’ve observed an inversely proportional relationship between
1. the fanciness of the wedding food and
2. the tastiness of the wedding food.
This brings me to resolution #2: No matter how nasty the food is, no matter how tacky the Greek restaurant is whose social hall gave you a discount to hold the reception in, and no matter how ugly my bridesmaid dress—I will not judge.
I have no right to. I did not have to labor over the decisions you’ve spent these months laboring over, which, shit, are just hard for the majority of us whose taste exceeds our income. Having a perfectly tasteful wedding in which all your friends can have a champagne toast and eat a three-course meal alongside their plus-ones and four kids is expensive and logistically difficult. For some people, having a wedding that grossly offends no relatives is really difficult. And expensive. And expensive.
Wedding Planning Virgin Me did not appreciate the raging costs that cause people to cut corners. At the start of our own planning, for example, having a wedding in a friend’s backyard in a tent seemed an independent move. It was not. It was indeed a move the wedding industry anticipated long, long before Marshall and I ever laid eyes on each other. By the time we were on our second date, the industry had long since jacked tent-rentals to insane prices.
And so, you? Who have your wedding at your parents’ church’s social hall or the cheap hotel conference room, not because it’s your first choice but because it’s your most affordable choice? Please accept this humble apology for any secret snarky thoughts Wedding Planner Virgin Me might’ve harbored. You’ve got your priorities in the right place and I salute you.
More and more, I’m inclined to believe a colleague who recently put it this way: “The wedding industry in its every form is designed to rip women off.” Of course, there’s the fact that Wedding LED votive candles cost twice what regular LED votive candles cost. And then there are these DIY, feminist-ish-y wedding websites touting Theme Weddings for which you will spend ten hours crafting handmade paper garlands. They make me feel bad the same way reading Bust magazine makes me feel bad: mainly, because I haven’t purchased all these things which will make me cool. The amazing irony of the indie DIY wedding websites is their emphasis on handcrafting and buying things designed to designate you and your partner as anything BUT wedding industry victims. Meanwhile, they’re going on and on about the importance of creative wedding centerpieces, advertising a dozen websites where you can buy handcrafted birdhouses or replica 1950s centerpieces or whatever, all lit up with fake LED votive candles.
This planning business is making me resent the hell out of some fake LED votive candles. They are at the heart of every suggested decoration and you know what? They’re expensive.
We’ve made tough decisions. We’ve opted not to invite everyone’s Plus One or everyone’s kids. Even though this specificity is common practice today, it still makes Eager-to-Please Me slightly nervous: What would my late grandmother say? Moreover, what might some of my snarkier relations actually say?*
Well, what either might think of our barbecue free-for-all reception and preceding wedding parade through Candler Park is anyone’s guess and beyond my concern. Truth is, we have some pretty damn good reciprocal courtesies planned for our guests. I am so excited about our excellent activities, ample time to spend together and catch up, and, (Oh, yeah, this) our thoughtful, loving ceremony.
See ya there. Or maybe not. It’s cool, right?
(*Just fer the record, we’ve decided to go it this way: For relatives and friends for whom it would be extremely awkward socially or financially not to bring their children and their partners we don’t know, then, fine, bring ‘em. Otherwise, we’re doing a checkbox system on the invitations specifying exactly who’s invited.)