Weddings…Whether or not you throw one or ever get married, there’s a chance you will be invited to a few of these throughout your life time. In my case, my husband and I have been invited to over 30 weddings over the past 12 years. Think about that for a second. That’s 2.5 weddings a year, on average, and in only 4 of them have we been a part of the wedding party. I still have no idea how we landed these many invitations. Imagine going to 75% of these, many out of state and beyond. That’s a lot of airline miles…and $$$.
The cost alone and the experiences post attendance were the basis for the My Beef with Weddings post. Surely after these many events you’d understand why I was so cynical and sarcastic about the whole affair. However, what I had failed to internalize was the fact that I was invited in the first place. What were we doing that warranted this particular courtesy? Is it a compliment or an obligation to be asked to attend? I’m sure many people would jump at the chance of being so popular, and short of being a wedding photographer, not a lot of people have enough friends to get this many invitations. Then again I did not understand why people wanted me to be a part of their day much less how to successfully be a part of their new lives. The only reason we are attending wedding #30 is because I introduced the bride and groom to each other. How cool is that!! Some women dream of having a story like this but then again I wasn’t expecting any of this to happen. On top of that, with only one matron of honor appearance and having been a bride but never a bridesmaid, I wasn’t particularly inclined to think I meant a lot to all of these people that asked me to witness their vows. Talk about self esteem issues!!
Many would argue that the invites were thank yous for welcoming them into the PNW and our family away from home. A noble gesture, sure, but worth an invitation? Here I was just making sure our company’s retention of employees staid high. The rest was me trying to avoid being and feeling alone so far away from my family of origin. My non-altruistic kindness paid dividends as a lot of these people are still a part of my life, and so are their kids! Granted they took on different roles as time progressed and the intimacy levels changed but they are all still friendly. They all still care even if I felt I was left behind because we weren’t on the same Little Gym and daycare circles. They didn’t stop caring even when I thought they sounded a bit jealous or petty when commenting about our ability to travel or when they were taken aback by our reproductive woes. If so, the wedding and life event invitations would have stopped coming. Took me a while to figure that one out. Not everyone had the courage to help us weather the storms, not to tell us about the support they could provide. Judging by the many heart to heart I have had recently, hopefully we all know better now.
Being invited to a wedding has a bit if prestige attached to it so it is no wonder that we went overboard attending all these events. We did it out of loyalty -and for the open bar- but it would have been nice if the invitations had come with an explanation of why they really valued our presence on that day. It would have been easier to miss them while they created these new lives that excluded us by default and not intentionally. If we knew what we brought to the table we would have continued to bring it instead of shying away, hurt and heartbroken.
Honestly, I still don’t know how we made the guest list so many times! I guess we know a lot of people. Hehe. I don’t think of any of my friends as particularly close and many of the invitations and treatment reveal that the feeling was mutual. There’s no hierarchical friendship circles or levels in my world and no friend is more special or dear to me than another. They are all important to me and I open my heart and thoughts to all of them equally. Truth be told I get uncomfortable when someone uses the word close to describe a relationship. I can’t discriminate that way since I need all the people I can get. Maybe this open way of approaching people was worthy of reciprocating via wedding guest spots? If so, it says a lot more about me than I originally surmised.
That’s the lesson that 30 weddings (and counting) taught me: sometimes you are more dear to people than you realize.
I should see these invitations as a sign that I am blessed and loved, not as an announcement that I will lose my friends to future plans that don’t include us playing with their children. It is an invitation to witness their progress beyond the wedding day through social media and the occasional gathering. These are the events that now allow us to get together and hang out as friends. I have to admit a part of me feels sad that I couldn’t have all these people at our wedding. I can’t think of no better way to honor their service and friendship than with an open bar and a party.
Maybe that’s why I am so butthurt about the situation and about weddings: I can’t extend them the same courtesy and I am distraught their dreams fall apart like ours did. I was to sad and angry about this and my perceived unhappily ever after that I missed reading between the lines. Weddings are not an end to our friendship but merely a continuation into uncharted waters. Now that we have learned to navigate them together our ties should become stronger. 🙂 After all, we need each other now more than ever. 40 is going to hurt like hell with all the Quinceañeros. LOL. Hugs!