As the last of my friends (seriously, I think I have two single friends left) to consider heading down the aisle, I’ve been a bridesmaid many times, attended a dozen bachelorette parties, baby showers, etc. Now that my significant other and I are starting to talk about getting engaged my friends have “jokingly” urged me to elope, citing wedding and baby party burnout. They make jokes about promising to send lavish gifts if I promise not to have “yet another” massive wedding. They regale me with how they all supposedly wish they’d saved the time and money and just run away.
I partly believe them, and I also realize that because I’m pretty low-key and laid-back (and took my sweet time deciding to get married at all) they probably don’t think I want all the pomp and circumstance of a wedding. The thing is… I kind of do. Not a huge over-the-top and budget-breaking spectacle, but yes, I’d like them to put on their adult-friend pants and show up for me the way I have for them countless times, at a large party in my hometown, with an open bar and everyone in formal wear. I hear them that they’ve had more than enough bouquet tosses and expensive weekend trips to last them a lifetime, but I’m a little resentful that I feel like I have to pay the price because I didn’t get married earlier, when apparently it wasn’t so passé.
I’ve tried to express these thoughts, but the most sincere response I get is that I “need to realize” that in our mid-thirties everyone is sort of “over” weddings and their related shindigs, and that mortgages and college savings accounts now take priority. I know a wedding isn’t an imposition, but having heard this sentiment from multiple friends from various friend groups, I’m starting to get the impression that news of my wedding is going to be met with a weary sigh and a forced smile.
I know my friends love me, but I know they’re hoping that as the designated “chill” friend, they’ll get to escape finding a babysitter for a weekend so they can shake it to ’80s hits in a hotel ballroom. (Okay, that’s not exactly the vision I have for my wedding, but it’s not going to be a completely alternative and super original event.) My partner wants to throw the traditional party too but is having doubts that anyone will muster the enthusiasm to attend, which just makes it all seem… deflating. I’m frustrated, and we’re not even formally engaged just yet.
—Last to Marry
A:DEAR last to marry,
I’ll come! I’ll even wear whatever sequin jumpsuit Maddie wants to pick out for me. I mean, seriously.
But let’s start with the positive take on things. People tend to have an easier time being excited when there is really something to be excited about! You’re not engaged yet—I really do think (hope?) the levels of excitement will increase once things actually happen.
Being last really hurts sometimes. In part, because often it wasn’t really something you set out to do. Choosing to wait until later in life to marry is a great decision. Having circumstances force you into it is not so awesome. In part, it hurts because there’s a sense that you should be sympathetic to the Very Adult And Important concerns of those who went before you.
And look, up to a point, I am sympathetic. It’s just an unpleasant reality of life that you might have spent your twenties flying to a dozen different out-of-town bachelorette parties, but now, when you’re getting married five years later, most of those friends are going to have babies, and they’re just not going to do the same for you. Even if they’d really, really like to, getting drunk in Vegas at 3 a.m. might just not be realistic for them anymore. People may choose to prioritize their finances differently as they get older, which means that while you scrimped and saved to attend their weddings, they may not be willing to do the same for you. And at the end of the day, there is nothing you can do about that.
But. But. COME ON FRIENDS. Okay, so you can’t show up in exactly the same way. Fine. Maybe three days of girl time in NOLA isn’t going to work, because you have twin newborns. Sure, fine. But figure out some way to do it! Maybe you can be the friend who sends flowers for the engagement, and creates a secret pre-engagement Pinterest board just for fun ideas, and sends a copy of the world’s best wedding book, A Practical Wedding, and offers to help in meaningful ways like, “I think you probably need me to help you stuff envelopes so you don’t get overwhelmed with paper cuts, so I’m planning to be over next Thursday and I’ll bring the takeout.” If someone really showed up for you, and you still consider yourself friends, you owe that friendship figuring out a way to show up for her.
To be frank, your friends are really being awful right now. And I think it’s worth it to have a real serious conversation about this with one or two close friends. They should at least hear that you do want a wedding, you are excited about it, and you really want them to be excited as well! They also need to hear that if they aren’t excited, and they just don’t really care, well that’s something they need to stop sharing with you, because it’s rude and hurtful. Sometimes people fall into the habit of complaining about everything to make conversation, and letting them know it’s actually not a funny joke for you but painful will hopefully be enough to stop.
And if they won’t? My offer to be there with
bells sequins on stands. And (because sometimes being petty helps), remember: your taste is generally way better in your thirties than your twenties, so I bet your wedding is going to be prettier than theirs!
HAVE A WEDDING QUESTION?
EMAIL ME: AMYMARCH [AT] APRACTICALWEDDING [DOT] COM.