Tuesday, December 17, 2013

7 Things About Weddings

1. Weddings are about the couple.  This applies to any decision you feel you might have done differently.  Yes, sure, we can make the argument that those with financial contribution to the event get some say, but again, supposed to be about the couple. 
2.  Of course the corollary to that is that if, at the end of the day, the couple in question is in fact married, then it is a success.  Almost everything else is window dressing.
3. The attendants are important, but not that important.  The thing is, generally, people aim for symmetry, as in an equal number of attendants on each side.  Well this creates intriguing math if one member of the couple has more siblings, or siblings all of a particular gender or if someone is trying to reciprocate with folks they attended to.  So basically, while it is, of course, a great honor to be asked to stand beside your friend/relative/loved one, it is also not a terrible slight to not have to stand next to someone for twenty to forty minutes. 
4. Weddings are long and even the most comfortable shoes can get a little unfriendly.  If you abandon your shoes, please consider that others, who may be a little wobbly, may not be keeping an eye out for shoes on the ground.
5. Size does not matter. Okay, it does. But it matters on levels that may not be about you. I had a friend who said she'd rather invite all the people she loves in this world and serve them hot dogs if that's all her budget allowed for.  (She meant it, and the wedding, which was hot dog-less was huge and wonderful.) But that's not the gathering everyone wants.  Or can afford.  (Even hot dogs for 300 add up.  Plus then people want condiments.)  And there's all sorts of fun logistics like room size and fire code.  I had a cousin who thought they had booked a location with space for everyone they'd invited and then discovered the number they'd been given did not account for the possibility they might want tables and chairs in their reception.  And the ceremony itself may also have restrictions.  You can't exactly stick folks in the parking lot of the place of worship with a closed circuit screen. (Okay, you can...)  I watched one of those wedding reality shows where the morning of the church flooded in due to an overnight rainstorm and so they had to hold the ceremony in the minister's cottage which had room for far less people.  But even barring unexpected disasters, you may simply attend a place of worship that is small than the number of people you know and love.  Most people do not consider seating capacity when choosing their spiritual home.  And so, the couple may tighten the list and make hard decisions and it may not mean they don't love you, it may mean that they could not figure out how to cram any more people into the room.  And in the end, the wedding is about supporting the couple as they make this commitment to each other, which may, sometimes, include accepting that they still like you, but didn't have room for you at this one party. 
6. There are many good reasons for choosing not to attend a wedding.  (This should also include RSVPing appropriately.)  You may be unable to travel, ill, or have prior commitments.  Generally, your return card does not ask you why. And if you are genuinely sorry that you cannot attend, then absolutely, make time to express your sincere regrets to the couple.  If your reason for not attending is petty, or involves some sort of slight or family or friend dispute - even if you are totally right, I suggest keeping it to yourself.  (The only exception I can think of is if, say, a child molester is attending and you are not attending with your small children.  There might be others, but barring actual physical danger, especially if we are discussing grievances that have already been sufficiently aired, then, yeah, keep it to yourself.)
7. The corollary to the corollary mentioned above is, if you got to be present when the couple married, then the bargain has been fulfilled as far as what you were owed when you accepted this invitation.  Everything else, food, drink, time with friends (even, sometimes time with the couple that day) is all bonus.