A friend’s stylish manners blog, How To Do The Right Thing, recently addressed a question I’ve been struggling with: How to engage with someone whose nuptials you are skipping.
My questions are variations on the other side of this debate: How to approach people you skipped off your nuptials list, even though you really love them? Or: How to deal with people who you actually don’t like at all, and didn’t invite? And even the record-breakingly absurd: How not to feel bad about not inviting people you hadn’t even met yet to your wedding? Yes, in an epic stroke of anxiety creation, I have regretted not knowing people soon enough, or well enough, to send them an invite.
WTF? I ask myself. Shouldn’t there be a way to talk about the fact that I just got married without the knee-jerk justification that follows? “It was really really small, there were only, like, two and a half people there, we almost didn’t attend ourselves, so no hard feelings?” When did I start feeling so apologetic about the whole thing?
It’s partly because we really did have a small wedding, but that’s no excuse for crazy-making. As How To Do The Right Thing says, by not attending a wedding “you are not doing anything wrong or weird.” For not inviting someone, the same must hold true. Or, as Meg puts it in her book, “Your wedding guests are adults and should be treated as such.” This is such a sanity-restoring message that I’d like to reiterate it. Wedding guests? Grown-ups. Non-wedding guests? Grown-ups. Almost, would-be wedding guests? Also grown-ups! Barring, of course, actual infants, but that’s not the point. The point is that our decisions are made, our knots are tied. Why look back saying “If only we could’ve…” when we should be looking back saying, “That was awesome!” (Note: See photo of pie. Seriously. It was awesome.)
It’s also because, for me at least, putting on a wedding—even in miniature—really raised the bar in terms of celebratory event planning. I didn’t even think it was possible to know that many people’s home addresses, let alone mail out invitations and coordinate RSVPs. It’s easy to think that this year is the only year of my life I’ll go to the trouble of collecting close friends and feeding them all in one night. But that doesn’t need to be true. It’s just the only year when there will be such pressure and expectation involved.
In short, my conclusion this post is the same as it was for my last. (Turns out one can suffer withdrawal from even the most practical of weddings.) How to include everyone and everything in celebration of your new marital reality? More parties!
Photo credit: Joe Lingeman