While I love weddings in theory (gimme that CAKE!) my relationship with them has been… complicated, particularly by the death of my grandparents, but also by general cultural narratives surrounding weddings. This past summer was full of weddings, and while I’ve had friends get married before, I’d never been able to attend their services.
In May, a friend from 3rd grade got married in a beautiful but very traditional ceremony. My friend is perhaps the nicest person in the history of the universe and although I was not a member of the wedding party it was still an incredibly stressful event, mostly because of other mutual friends who brought an attitude of entitlement and who I began to realize I had little, if anything, in common with. I think it can be summed up when the dancing started after dinner and one of said friends dragged me to the dance floor while yelling “it’s just like high school!” Yeah, that’s not something I try to evoke ever.
In June my very best friend got married and I made the cake. Her wedding was an informal affair with no one forcing me to dance. Despite having to make the cake (and doing a subpar job on it, even for my skill level), it was a wonderful and delicious time. And you know, I knew I was going to get to spend approximately no time with her on her wedding day, but I wished I’d been able to spend more (whatever though, we got to go over the next day and play with her dog).
In August we attended the reception for a cousin who had officially married back in March. It was under a tent, next to their cornfield and across the street from the barn where they keep their dairy cows. It was a huge, boozy party and it was so much fun to catch up with family (that I haven’t seen in years!). The whole event was crazy casual, to the point it almost made very best friend’s wedding look like a black tie affair.
And then, this past weekend, one of my friends from PRESCHOOL got engaged to her super long time boyfriend and I’ll finally get to be maid of honor! It’s a great incentive to get my finances and work outs in order, but above everything I’m so excited to help a dear and OLD friend plan her wedding and have such a special part in it.
I’ve been super grateful for all the friends who have ended up going before me who I will be able to tap for information when my time finally comes, IF we decide to go the wedding route. We were trying to plan things around my grandparents health, and they seemed to be doing better before they did much worse. I went from planning my dream wedding, to wondering if that nursing community (that actually does have beautiful grounds) would let us host a small family-only ceremony, back to planning my dream wedding, to where I am now: unsure if I even care about having one. The idea of actually having a wedding for myself makes me want to crawl into a blanket fort with a cup of chamomile and never emerge. Something I wanted so bad now feels impossible. And while I was never into the idea of “perfection” and am generally a half-assed kind of person, this is one giant obstacle I’m not sure I can overcome. My wedding day, if I have one, doesn’t have a chance of being perfect-for-me, there will be a glaring void. There are also a ton of people I just don’t want to invite who keep trying to weasel their way into my life, or who feel like obligations to at least one person.
Right now, the only way that feels like it would have even a little bit of validity is a quasi-elopement: Fly to our favorite winery in Oregon, invite only immediate family and the friends who would be bridal party, do something large for everyone at a later date. Nothing feels like the right plan anymore though.
So I’m excited now in many ways: a genuine happiness for a couple I’ve known and loved a very long time, and excitement at having a place of honor, another chance to cherry-pick things I like and dislike from other people’s weddings. I’m also hoping it will un-complicate my feelings about weddings, that being surrounded by one that feels more like a wedding than a family reunion will help me sort through this grief. It’s possible that, even a year later when this wedding is scheduled, I’ll still be a weepy, horrible mess about what I cannot have.
Whatever, there will be a bachlorette party. Bring it on.