Until a few months ago, I was scheduled to have a horrible party from hell (I mean, "wedding") this coming Friday. Then my fiance/husband finally gave in to my incessant pleas not to make me go through this agonizing experience, and we got married two months ago at our local sheriff's-office-slash-jail.
I had always been pretty neutral about weddings. I just didn't think about them much. I went to my first wedding when I was seven, and I had no idea what was going on. This was my uncle's wedding; he and his wife were both forty-something, and they had a short ceremony, then food and cake. I was mildly grossed out when some of the women started crying, but other than that, I figured weddings weren't so bad, and I got cake.
Then, a year ago this Thursday, we got engaged. We were going to have a ceremony with immediate family, then a reception for about 60 people. I did not want bridesmaids or a color scheme. I didn't even know what a rehearsal dinner was until we'd already been engaged several months. My mom was going to French braid my hair because I hate salons. For food, we were going to buy snack trays from Sam's Club. Aaaannnd wedding planning DONE.
So imagine my surprise when, after explaining my super-low-key plan to people, they would still ask questions like, "So do you think you'll have catering?"
I was never the one to initiate wedding conversations. I knew what I wanted to do and didn't really want to talk about it with anyone else. Ari was never pestered with wedding questions the way I was. I guess everyone assumed that because I'm a girl, I must be bursting to talk about my wedding. They were wrong.
At first, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt when they barraged me with wedding questions.
When are you doing it? Aren't you afraid it's going to rain if you do it outside? How does it work with you not being Jewish? Where will people park? You need to think about these things. What are you doing with your hair? But going to a salon is half the fun! What kind of lights will you have? Oh, that won't work. Why don't you just do it before dark so the pictures will be better? What are the centerpieces going to be? What kind of favors are you giving out? Who all's invited? Don't forget to invite my best friend. Can you just e-mail me your guest list?
Maybe this was their way of expressing support, but my goodwill ran dry when people started giving unsolicited advice. I'm a huge control freak, and getting unsolicited advice sends me into a spiral of rage.
WELL-MEANING PERSON: Ari says you're having pies at the reception instead of cake. How is that going to work?
ME: Oh, I figure we'll just have about eight pies or something like that.
WELL-MEANING PERSON: That's not going to be nearly enough pie.
I stewed passive-aggressively for months, until eventually I realized the next person who asked me a wedding question was going to get punched in the face. I think Ari agreed to cancel the wedding 40% because he felt genuine sympathy for me and 60% because he sensed my impending violent meltdown.
It also didn't help that since getting engaged, I went to a couple more weddings, one of which looked like it cost more than my dad makes in a year. I'd always wondered why some people are so cynical about weddings. Now I understand. This is what I learned from these recent wedding experiences.
Here's when to expect a wedding to be kind of fun.
• You're a distant friend, co-worker, or acquaintance of the bride/groom.
• You're the date of a distant friend, co-worker, or acquaintance of the bride/groom.
• You're a small child and no one expects anything of you.
Here's when to expect a wedding to suck.
• You're distantly related to the bride/groom. While everyone else is sleeping in and hanging out at the hotel, you'll probably be stuck dragging chairs and tables around the reception hall at 8:00 AM until they're in the perfect formation. You'll also probably have to get to the ceremony an hour early to be bossed around by a photographer for a group photo that takes five minutes to shoot.
• You're related to the bride/groom, or you work with them or know them from college, but you're not really that close. You'll be the one disinterestedly staring off into space near the guest book, or performing some other menial task no one else wanted to do.
• You're closely related to the bride/groom. In this case, you're going to have to do something really involved, like stand up in front of everyone and talk, or (God help you) be in the wedding party.
• You're a very close friend of the bride/groom. You'll probably get stuck as the Best Man or Maid of Honor, in which case you're going to have to do something really excruciating--like help pick out the "color theme" or throw a huge shower for all these people you barely know.
• You're in the wedding party. This is pretty much the most inner circle of hell. I've never had to do this, but it looks awful. You have to be everywhere super early and pose in Every. Single. Photo. You have to wear something the bride picked out for you, and believe me, that bitch did not have comfort in mind. And while everyone else is sitting comfortably during the ceremony, you're standing pointlessly up front, trying not to scratch your sweaty, nylon-clad boob.
• You're a small child and someone thought it would be a good idea to make you do something "cute," like carry the rings or throw the flower petals. You will probably spend the whole day trying to squirm out of your dress clothes, with a vague feeling that something important is happening but you're not quite sure what it is.
I should point out that all of the above circumstances are somehow 10 times worse if you know or are related to the bride rather than the groom. I can't explain why. I don't make the rules.
And that's why I never want to go to another wedding ever again. Except I'd probably go to Emily's. She knows I wouldn't hesitate to kill her if she tried to make me throw a bridal shower or wear a thematic dress.