Friday, June 30, 2017

Your Wedding, From My (A Guest's) Perspective

I'm going to write it as delicately as I can, because I know it's a sensitive topic. I'm writing this post to explain to you -- brides and grooms of 2017 -- what it's like to be a guest at your wedding. I'm going to preface this by saying, I care for you deeply; if I didn't, I wouldn't even be considering spending time or money on your wedding. But, I'm feeling a bit taken for granted, and I've quite honestly had enough.

You're getting married. We should look happy like this.
The proverbial straw that broke this wedding guest's back occurred yesterday, in a wedding details-
related incident. I'm not going to rehash this event here; it's between me and the bride and the groom, and ultimately, I still love them and don't wish to hurt their feelings. But, the drama that occurred between them (the soon-to-be married couple), and me (the wedding guest), is not unique to them, to me, or to their wedding. So, this post feels overdue.

This year, 2017, is for me, the year of the weddings. I'm to attend no fewer than 7 matrimonial events. This number includes only the invitations that will be, or have been, addressed to me, and my plus one. This number does not include the weddings that JC has been invited to, and in which I will be the plus one. That brings the number of weddings we will be attending into the double digits. We care about you, and are happy to celebrate you. I am not complaining about being invited to your wedding; it's an honor.

But, it's expensive. I know it's expensive to plan and host a wedding -- but it's also expensive to be your guest. And we have an estimated 10 weddings we're attending this year. So, when I break that down in the most basic of ways, it looks like this:

Nights in a Hotel (10): $100 per night x 10 nights = $1,000
Wedding gifts: $100 per gift x 10 gifts = $1,000
Appropriate wedding dresses (3 to rotate): $100 per dress x 3 dresses = $300
Vacation Days I have to take (5): 7 hours per day x 5 days = 35 hours (or, one full week of work)

Bare-bones Total: $2,300 and a full week of vacation time. 

And, this is a low-ball estimate. Some of the hotels will cost well over $100. Some hotels I will need to stay in for more than one night. Some of these weddings require airfare -- which is between $300 and $500. All of these weddings require gas money, and spending money. Some of these weddings require that I spend a few hundred to be a guest at a bachelorette party. 

I guess this is all yours now. Just take it.
These things bring the total cost higher -- closer to $5,000-6,000. $6,000 this year to be a wedding guest. And, this is just me. This doesn't include JC's costs.

It's money I'm fine with spending -- again, because I care deeply for you -- but it would be nice if you took this into consideration. I'm not a Kennedy. $6,000 is the down-payment on the new car that I need. 

Oh, and to be excruciatingly clear, putting me on a group email that says "I know we're all attending a lot of weddings this year and I'd like to keep the costs for my bachelorette low, so I was thinking we'd do something small, like take a 10-day European cruise" does not count as being understanding. No offense, but I don't really want to travel for your bachelorette. I want to go to Europe with my boyfriend, where we can sit, and drink, and take in beautiful, ancient ruins. You don't get to cheapen Europe for me by forcing me to wear some ugly-ass tank top that says "bridesmaid" and a necklace adorned with plastic penises. Sorry.

Detailing for me how much I should expect to spend at your bachelorette party does not count as being understanding. Let me make this as simple as possible for you: you don't get to expect me to spend money on you. Any amount. Ever. Some of the emails I've received are astounding, and frankly, it's like this -- the onus of being grateful does not fall on me. Sure, I'm grateful that you want me to be at your bachelorette party, but more than that -- you should be grateful that I love you enough to celebrate you. You do NOT get to take my attendance as an expectation. I'm not required to attend anything, or spend anything, and you should not act like I am.

Like I said, I'm to be a guest at many weddings. Re-read that last word: guest. I am the guest. Not your slave. Not someone you pad your list with to ensure you get more gifts. I'm your guest. Which makes you, bride and groom, the hosts. 

See all those people in the background? Those are your guests.
They matter.
If you've ever attended any sort of social event, then you know that it is the responsibility of the hosts, to ensure that the guests are having a good time. Not vice-versa. I have a very strict moral code by which I expect others to treat me, and by which I abide to myself. I don't care if it's your wedding day or not. You still need to treat me, and all your other guests, well. You don't get to reprimand me, ignore me, or make any sort of demands of me. You may think that because you're getting married you're suddenly the late Princess Diana brought back to life (she was a gem, by the way, and I guarantee she treated her guests with utmost respect), but you're not. If you're not treating me well, I'll respond in kind. 

Your wedding, is nothing without your guests. Without your guests, you might as well just head over to the town hall and have some clerk sign your marriage certificate. You can pull a couple witnesses from the people down the hall who are there to fight traffic tickets. That's where you're at without your guests. You should be bending backwards to ensure that your guests are accommodated, and enjoying themselves. When you think you've bent so far backwards that your back might break -- you should bend a little further. When you're the host, it's not your job to enjoy yourself. If you find yourself having a good time, great -- but that's actually not your aim. It's your job to flit about, talk to everyone, and make sure everyone is having the best time ever. If that's not what you're doing, you're doing it wrong -- and you're a shitty host.

If you're reading this and getting steamed, thinking "This is NOT what I'm doing" -- feel free to message me privately, and I'll give you at least one personalized instance in which you've hurt someone's feelings, or been out of line in your bride/groom behavior.

When I leave your wedding, I won't remember how much money you spent on decorations, or even what they looked like. I won't remember what your food choices were, I won't remember what your signature drink was, and I won't remember what the color scheme was. 

It's gorgeous. I can see why you would want this. I won't
personally remember it though.
I will remember if you looked happy to be there (because honestly, I've been to weddings where the
bride and groom seem miserable and it always makes me think "Why am I here?"), and what lengths you took to accommodate your guests. I don't care what frills you have at your wedding if I'm having a crappy time. 

I'm telling you this because I love you, and it is your special day, and I'm guessing that when you look back on it in 20 years, you're going to want to be thinking "Wow, what an amazing day that was," and not "Why don't I have friends anymore?" 

Take it for what it is. I apologize if you feel slapped in the face by this post -- but frankly, that's how I've been feeling as a wedding guest all year. I think it's best that we understand what the other is feeling, and move forward from there.




4 comments:

  1. Oh boy - I really hope that European cruise was a joke! Regardless - well said - this post should be sent to bridal sites and Bride magazine, who publish all sorts so wedding "etiquette" articles - many of which I read and think, nope, bad advice. I get it, though, weddings are expensive and limits have to be placed. I feel for couples who are already at bare bones celebrations - but then, these aren't usually the "problem" weddings. The ones that bug me are the ones that are a bit over-the-top with thousands of dollars of flower arrangements, couture bridal gowns, fancy dessert stations ... and then they're worried about limiting the guest list.

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    1. Exactly! Bridal magazines are FILLED with bad advice. Brides should take those and pitch them right in the trash -- I guarantee they're half the reason for the drama. I also agree about spending money on all the fancy crap but not on the actual people attending. I guess I'm just confused about priorities. But that's fine. Couples can guard their weddings with limits and I'll guard my time with the same. If the priority isn't to make the wedding enjoyable for the guests, it's not MY priority to attend.

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  2. It's interesting. I'm out of the wedding cycle - finally. There are some genuine good times I remember, but mostly I've found weddings to be a chore, exactly for this reason. I said no to many things due to finances and inability to miss school in my grad school years. I sent a regret and a nice present. Some people really take offense to that. Sigh. Good luck! I man that. Pretty soon it will be insane baby shower demands! 🤣🤣

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    1. Yes! It's just so expensive and time-consuming! Which, is fine, that's just how weddings are -- I get it, and I've been to a few great ones this year. But I'm also at the point where sometimes I'll need to send a regret and a nice gift determined by MY time and needs, and if offense is taken -- then so be it. As someone who wants to get married in a court house, I feel very little obligation to attend anything I don't want to.

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