Chances are good that 8-12 weeks ago you received at least one wedding invitation. ‘Tis the season. You wrestled the envelope with beautiful calligraphy from your kids’ sticky hands and read the invite with delight – a reason to wear your new dress! Then you filled out the response card right away, full of disappointment. How many attending? Zero. Why? Because the bride and/or groom obviously didn’t think of their guests. Adults only? Destination? Black Tie? I’m sure any one of these would dissuade many of of us for one or more reason.
In my opinion…here’s the deal. Weddings are NOT about a bride and groom. Yes, they’re the stars of the show, but you don’t NEED a wedding to be married. All that is required for a marriage are two people, a justice of the peace and a witness. THAT. IS. IT.
Weddings happen because the two people getting married want other people to celebrate their new marriage with them. A wedding is about the people invited sharing in the bride and groom’s achievement. A wedding is about THE GUESTS – without them there is nothing but an empty hall full of expensive flowers and a big cake.
Newlyweds-to-be ask a lot of the people they invite to their weddings. In most cases, guests are expected to give up almost an entire day. At the very least, they’re expected to purchase a semi-expensive gift (multiple gifts for those who also attended a bridal shower). Then there is the possibility of traveling to different locations throughout the day, and the distance between ceremony and reception may be more than you bargained for. You’re a lucky guest to have both in one place. Long distant guests are expected to buy plane, bus or train tickets, rent cars, and get hotel rooms in order to attend. Some guests need to get childcare, and not everyone has a list of reliable AND affordable sitters sitting around. Weddings are not a cheap event for anyone.
Guests are also asked to sit through extended ceremonies in religions they don’t necessarily follow, sometimes in languages they don’t understand. They will wait deliriously long times for their tables to be chosen for food service, sit through both ramblings and well prepared speeches from the wedding party, and dance to bad music.
But you know what? People, in general, will happily go out of their way to meet the
demands, er needs, of a bride and groom … because the bride and/or the groom mean something to them. Is it really too much to ask to respect (or even consider) the needs of wedding guests in return for their devotion? Why are they so often inconvenienced and disrespected when they, the guests, are so important?
Let me end by saying that anyone can simply not go to any wedding and not make a fuss about why. Yes, I know. But if we never discuss things how will anything ever be considered?