In my favorites bar, there are still twenty-nine links to wedding dresses that I bookmarked in 2011 when I was definitely going to marry my New Jersey boyfriend of two and a half years.
I bought a new computer in 2013, so I have no idea how all my previous Fresh Direct orders and these fucking wedding dresses ended up following me from machine to machine, but every time I open a new tab, there they are.
Maggie Sottero: the Denise. The Hayley. The Tatiana. A few Alfred Angelos. And one of those Disney Princess dresses.
I was never that six-year-old little girl who dreamt of wearing a veil. When Monica gives Ross that whole speech in London about how Emily has probably been planning this wedding since she was a little girl, I couldn’t relate. It honestly wasn’t until I was the maid of honor in my cousin’s wedding at age twenty-three that I became obsessed with it all.
I had a lot of opinions then. I thought she should get these flowers and this cake and those favors and that venue. I didn’t realize it at the time, but after her wedding, I would be planning my own wedding nonstop from the age of twenty-three onward, with more or less every man I dated, each wedding changing according to the vibe of our relationship and how cool we were.
At my wedding with New Jersey, we would definitely have a pool table at the reception because, that was our thing. At my wedding with Rich White Guy #2, I would wear a bowtie with my dress because that was his thing. At my wedding with Stallion, well, actually, I never planned that one because I figured we’d probably get drunk and elope in Vegas by accident. At my wedding with Johnny, we would have the most fantastic vows and I would be wearing a lei and a flowered headpiece while we said “I Do” on a beach in Hawai’i.
There’s an excitement to all of it. Picking out the flowers in your head, deciding what traditions you would NEVER do because, hello tacky, and deciding who would be in your bridal party – a group of people that shifts about every six months as adulthood continues.
Even those who say they think weddings are obnoxious and unnecessary can’t help but be excited when they are a guest at a really cool fucking wedding with the chalkboards and the lavendar cocktails and the cupcakes. And if they pretend otherwise while picking up their third drink at the open bar, they’re full of shit.
I’ve bartended weddings. I’ve watched half the cake be thrown away. Flowers trashed at the end of the night. Open bottles of wine spilled down the drain (if the bartenders haven’t stashed them in their backpacks first). I’ve seen how much goes to waste and I’ve seen really ugly dresses and I’ve seen really, really bad dancing.
But I’ve also seen people have a shit load of fun.
Drunken fun, non-drunken fun, little-kids-dancing-together fun, really-good-toasts-from-the-father-of-the-bride fun, groom dances, like, I’ve seen people have a lot of fun.
And, although while planning, I think this part can get forgotten, I’ve seen people get married to honor their love, and make things legal, and celebrate a lifetime together. I’ve paid witness to that when I’m a guest at the wedding. I’m not negating that part of it by implying it’s all simply a party (that, by the way, everyone has to RSVP to and it may be the only one in your entire life that you can actually plan accordingly for.)
Point being, at the end of the day, even though I joke about it all, (a lot), I’m really sick and tired of people shitting all over someone’s special day.
You might not think that the extra favors were necessary, and you might not see why there was a string quartet AND a band, but seriously, are you paying for the wedding?
The bride and groom might have the ugliest taste. Like they might have let each bridesmaid choose their own dress in flourescent yellow from four different department stores. Yes, the food might be a tragedy. Pickles and olives on a metal tray do not an hors d’oeurves tray make. But, do you love the people in the white/champagne/ivory dress and the (insert color here) tuxedo?
Then shut your piehole and be happy for them.
I’m the first one to admit that the engagement posts on Facebook get reeeeeeeally old, but I have to tell you, when the pictures of the wedding finally get posted? I get so excited. Even if it’s just an acquaintance, how can you not be thrilled to look at a bunch of really smiley people in really fancy clothes with cake all over their faces?
As more and more of my friends get engaged, I think there’s a panic that naturally sets into my body reminding me that I’m not engaged yet, I don’t have any prospects, and I will never find someone who will let me decorate the bathroom in leopard print. And I know that I’m not the only one. And I know that the panic can sometimes turn into a bitterness, a disgust at the weddings being planned around me.
But I’ve made a choice. A difficult one when the bridesmaid’s dress bill comes but, still, a choice.
It’s a choice to be happy for my friends. It’s a choice you make, to skip the comparison of your life and theirs, and instead celebrate that they’re moving in a direction that makes them feel really secure, and happy, and hopeful.
Whatever switch that ring picture on Instagram flips inside your body when you see it for the first time, is one you have to deal with on your own, whether it be venting to a therapist or going out drinking with a bunch of single girlfriends to remember you’re still a free bird.
But don’t shit on your friends’ happy days. Behind their backs, or to their faces, you’re being a terrible friend when you do. Make a choice to be happy for the people you love.
After all, would you rather see them be miserable? Because that’s the alternate choice.
And I feel like, well, I hope that, you’re not that shitty of a person, to ever want that for a friend.
Buck up. At least there’s always the promise of an open bar, or a terrible band.
Either way, you’re invited to a party.
Is it really, that bad?