This is well overdue, for wedding season has been upon us for a month or two. However, it will not be over for some months, and meanwhile weddings keep on happening to other people. They happen to other people with such great frequency that it is easy to assume that they will never happen to us, which is not particularly logical. Not only did I get married within two years of losing all hope, so have umpteen formerly despairing Searching Single readers. So did Trad Bride, earlier this month, at the age of 40. And indeed I told her the only reason she wasn't married was that she never lived in the same place long enough and LO.
However, weddings can be tricky when we are still zigzagging between hope and despair, so here is my handy-dandy guide to surviving them.
1. The wedding is not all about you. It is all about the bride and groom. If you don't want to go, you don't have to go--unless one of them is a close relation or one of your best friends. Then you have to go--if you can afford to go, of course. (Don't beggar yourself because your favourite cousin has decided to have a dream wedding in Tahiti.) Everyone else will rejoice at getting a nice present and crossing your name off the caterer's list. One less mouth to feed.
2. If you want to go, go. Dress to the nines. Look your absolute best. I am still quite pleased thinking about how good I looked at that first wedding I went to after my divorce. I still have the shimmering copper dress. I should ever fit that dress again. Sigh, sigh. Still, I looked fantastic.
3. However, do not be amazed if, halfway through the reception, you suddenly feel an enormous sadness erupting in your chest. I call this phenomenon Single Person's Wedding Angst, and well I remember the first time I got it. It was, in fact, at the first wedding I was ever invited to, and I think I was 20, and even had a boyfriend at the time, and I couldn't imagine why I felt so sad. But I did. Of course, it could have been the gentle whining of the tape player. It gave us nothing but Pachebel's Canon in D and other chestnuts, and when one guest tried to substitute something livelier, the groom stalked over and put Pachebel's Canon in D back on. I was at a table of Protestant cousins still shell-shocked by the priest's homily--requested by bride and groom--against artificial birth control. One of them quite seriously called the oft-repeated tune "Pack on, Belle." Hell is other wedding guests.
3. If you cannot immediately cheer yourself up, go home. Thank the bride's mother or the groom's mother, or both, for the invitation, and get out of Dodge. Her wedding day is one of the most psychologically sensitive times for a woman, and if the bride thinks you were miserable at her wedding, she may brood on it for years. Smile, smile, smile, joke, joke, joke, dance, dance, dance--TAXI!
4. If you aren't driving--and unless this was a dry event, you shouldn't be--take a cab, not the bus. Few wedding things are as depressing as going home from a wedding in all your finery in a bus. The taxi cab should make you feel a bit special, like a film star in a limo, and be cheering in itself.
5. Have a nice treat waiting for you at home. I recommend splurging on some snacky thing, like ice-cream, and a DVD you have long wanted to see. Put on clean pyjamas and a thick pair of clean socks. Settle down with the cat, or if no cat, large pillow.
6. If you are the bride, stop thinking about your Single friends and if they are miserable or not. This is especially important if you have spent the last two or three years blogging endlessly about Single life. As the bride, your job is to be happy and say nice things about your groom at every opportunity, and thank your parents for everything and just generally personify the Church as the Bride of Christ.
Don't worry -- wedding season in the northern hemisphere might be winding down, but here in the southern hemisphere, it starts to get real around September and winds up during March or so.ReplyDelete
I am on the cusp of a wedding. Two of my dear friends are getting married to each other.
The next wedding after that will be in April, and I am the Maid of Honour/Chief Bridesmaid.
I generally don't suffer from Singles' Wedding Angst. I suffer from Music Lovers' Wedding Angst, which you have alluded to in your post. Symptoms include the temptation to roll one's eyes when one hears pretty much any cliché wedding music.
I definitely concur with the one about dressing to the nines. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. In order to combat Singles' Wedding Angst, I have been known to put a special beauty battle plan in place weeks before the wedding. I also don't stop myself from buying new shoes or whatever. This is preventative medicine.
Yup. I am all for the beauty battle plan. Good for you!ReplyDelete
Oh goodness Julia! Music Lover's Wedding Angst is SUCH a thing! During my Protestant childhood, my dad, a professional musician, was always the church organist and choir director, which meant he did all the weddings and funerals. At least he managed to save some people from their awful taste by having some standards of his own for the ceremony itself. He categorically refused to play "Here Comes the Bride" (which every schoolchild has sung as something like: here comes the bride/big fat and wide/tripped on a banana peel/and went for a ride)" and told me how on more than one occasion he had to turn down a bride's request to have "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar sung during the service. I'm not even kidding.ReplyDelete
Kill. Me. Now.Delete
I love the bit about saving people from their bad taste!
Ach! So inappropriate for a wedding!Delete
Oh man, I love weddings [and serve as the wedding coordinator for good friends oftentimes] but the Music Lover's Angst is the worst. The worst wedding I ever helped with was secular-Catholic (ie, nominal Catholic, with no actual Catholicity behind it, versus most other Catholic weddings I coordinate, where the bride and groom usually go to daily Mass and pray the rosary together...) and during the sign of peace, the song playing was Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, which, aside from being a secular song inappropriate for Mass, is about ADULTERY if you listen to the lyrics. The poor priest gave me a look of despair, knowing I was the only one in the wedding party suffering the same angst about this horrific abuse of the liturgy, and then solemnly began "Agnus Dei..."ReplyDelete
Maggie, was the priest not aware of the choices the couple had made? I am the minister of music at my church, and beside the fact that I would never let such a selection through, the priest has to approve everything before I can do it.Delete
I don't know if you're Canadian. If you are, you will probably have heard that Justin Trudeau, son of the late Prime Minister and possibly our next Prime Minister himself, had Cohen's Hallelujah sung at his wedding. It is wildly inappropriate for that purpose, not only because it is (probably) about an adulterous love affair, it is about the failure of that kind of love, as lines like "Love is not a victory march/It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah", and "Maybe there's a God above but all I ever learned from love/Is how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya", which is a brilliant line in itself wrt what happens to people who go through the "love" mill too often, but scarcely suitable for a wedding.Delete
Sigh. What do they teach them at these schools?
Stellamaris, I have no idea how it got through. We have a pretty rigorous approval process for music/liturgy at our parish; obviously not at this parish. Aside from the Cohen disaster, the Sanctus was the St. Louis Jesuits version (ugh) and was the OLD (ie, before 2010!!!!) translation.Delete
I perform at weddings and funerals. I see it as my small service to the collective sanity of mankind that I choose music that actually, you know, doesn't suck and is appropriate and stuff.Delete
The whole music-at-weddings thing really tests my charity. I sit there thinking "How come people with such shocking taste get to get married and I don't? I have a Masters degree in MUSIC." Like this one wedding (Catholic) I went to where the bride walked down the aisle to some piee of K-Pop rubbish.
My worst is the groom who wanted "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" as music at the ceremony. Fortunately the groomsmen ganged up on him and convinced him it was inappropriate.Delete
A tip I would add is BRING A DATE EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT SEEING ANYONE so that you will have a dance partner. It is too depressing to sit through all the great music because no other male guest can become unglued from his plus one long enough to ask other women to dance, even once.ReplyDelete
The next time I am asked to a wedding (admittedly, I am not invited to them very often - not many of my close friends and relatives seem to get married), I will ask a male from my swing community to accompany me in exchange for a good time and a free meal.
Is that common in America? In Australia no one really brings plus-ones. People's spouses, de factos, fiances and long-term boyfriends are usually invited, but as a single woman, there's no way I'd be offered a plus-one.Delete
It really depends on the wedding. It's common but not standard. People with a serious significant other got a plus one for ours, but that's it- there wasn't space!Delete
That's a good idea. I had forgotten all about plus ones. I can't believe people can actually afford to invite plus ones to their weddings, but it's a big world out there.ReplyDelete
Oh, Seraphic, that last one made me smile. I'm seating my single friends with a mixture of interesting and familiar people. There will be unlimited tea and limited alcohol, the band's playing Irish and folk tunes, and the church has a dedicated "reading room" full of ragged hagiographies for people to escape to, should they need to. So maybe I can stop worrying about them all now.ReplyDelete
Yes, Brigid. Stop worrying. It sounds like you have thought about your Single guests enough, and now your job is to "Enjoy your day" as a college librarian once repeated at me over and over again so forcefully, I started to wonder if she hated me. Whatever the spirit behind her words, her words were quite correct! :-DReplyDelete