The wedding from Planet Excess is going the way of the American auto industry, says a story in the Washington Post. Which brings me, it just so happens, to a story about myself! I'm currently stuck in Seattle, where I attended a really great wedding on Saturday only to get stranded because of bad weather, so in the meantime I've spent some time reflecting on the genius of what I just witnessed. I've gone to a lot of weird weddings, namely because my friends, while not conventional or "regs" in any sense, are the types of people other people choose to mix gametes and spend whole lifetimes with, so I know how it's done. And you know what? I never thought I would really address the subject of weddings beyond the yo, check out the limitless capacity of late capitalism to create vital imperatives from invented frivolities and turn consumption into hard labor angle. But the truth is that anyone who cares about parties has an opinion about weddings, and in that vein I thought I would write some down.
Photo via Flickr
1. The best kind of wedding is the kind where the hosts don't care if you bring a date, but you have more fun if you don't. If there is any way at all to make the headcount not the source of your next ulcer — a cheap venue? a buffet? — everyone will probably be happier and then you can invite people at the last minute.
2. Rogue forces within your family are angling to hijack your wedding. Always. In finance they teach you that the difference between raising money by selling stock or bonds in a company is that shareholders suddenly buy themselves all this influence over things and bondholders don't get to run it unless you really fuck things up. In the case of a wedding, accepting money from parents seems to work similarly. Parents, in my experience, seem to be the single biggest reason the whole process gets "out of hand," because they are looking for some sort of return on their investment, and you are just looking to get drunk with your friends. The latter objective doesn't need to cost that much.
3. Your friends will show up wherever. Do you have friends you don't see enough anymore? Like, maybe they are flaky, or swamped at work, or just it's difficult to coordinate plans now that you are an engaged person and your friend is still living in a room that probably includes as a design accent signage stolen while drunk? Those are the friends who will be really touched to be invited to your wedding, and they will make it and also, give memorable — if somewhat incoherent — toasts. I can't tell you how many faraway weddings I have been to where someone was like "You are a good friend for showing up here," and I am like, "Who doesn't show up to a wedding?" Because seriously, I am longing to apply some priorities to my life, and if I can do something that feels really special and momentous and also get drunk I am going to go. But more importantly, you shouldn't need to do all this in a location that is completely convenient. I mean, here I am in one of the three freaking Courtyard Suites in the vicinity of the Seattle airport, but it's not like I'm sorry I came. But what I am saying is, if you live in New York, don't feel compelled to get married there; everyone knows it probably costs a hundred grand to rent out the VFW.
4. The only thing worse than that "as long as I am dying alone maybe it should be sooner rather than later" feeling at a wedding is the "um, would it be possible for my boyfriend to more demonstratively convey his discomfort at the distant notion that this might ever threaten to happen to us?" feeling. Around the time I attended this wedding for which I still, um, owe a gift, I started along that line of reasoning, "Wow, weddings are where it is socially acceptable to sob openly about the fact that you are still single, that is fucked up." But I realized something recently: it is probably better to be dateless at a wedding for that reason, because if you are single, that could really change at any moment, whereas if you are with a significant other and it is not going to work out, the next two to five years could potentially be occupied extricating yourself from the relationship and coping with the messy emotional aftermath.
5. Summer > Winter Duh. I suppose this makes it harder to schedule the thing, but no one complains about having to schedule their office Christmas party in December. Or maybe they do, but they are lame.
6. Jewish > Other traditions. There are many beautiful wedding traditions, like henna tattoos (skip these if you get the shakes) and the great Indian "let the kids hide the bride's shoe and blackmail the bride into paying them money to get it back" tradition and the Catholic "drinking to excess and whatever else we do" thing and many others I'm sure, but the best traditional wedding regimen is probably the Jews' dancing around in a circle and breaking glass thing. So if you have any excuse to incorporate Jewish traditions other than the Orthodox Jews' "separating the men from women" thing, do so; your guests will appreciate.
7. It just occurred to me that this wedding I attended on Saturday did not have a wedding cake. I really love frosting, it's like the only really sweet thing I ever desire, so I should have noticed the absence of a wedding cake, but I didn't, until this morning. When I thought, "Wow, it is really cool that Ryan and Anna held their wedding at a youth hostel and everyone stayed in teepees and bunk beds and covered wagons and that he bought a sterling silver ring in Florence and she wore it for the first year of their engagement and that they had a whole bouquet fashioned from Peeps and that they gave out free keepsake beer koozies and that we had the leftover barbecue and Beast and candied yams last night. (Oh my god, and I never knew frozen pizza could be that awesome.) Though I really wish someone had baked more of those cupcakes." No one notices what is "missing" from a wedding if nothing is actually missing!
The Big Day Gets Smaller [Washington Post]