During the entirety of my 20s and 30s I was asked when I was going to settle down and get married. Putting aside this is never an ok question to pose to another individual, I would always respond: When it’s legal for everyone I will consider it. Then marriage equality happened and I had that “oh fuck” moment where I said, Just kidding everyone.
This last weekend, I served as an assistant to an event planner for a wedding. This is not my usual job—my weekends, especially going into a week of vacation, are laden with checking out as many of my musician friends’ local gigs as possible and drinking, after I’ve gone to the gym and done some writing. But a friend needed an assistant and I said I would do it; mainly because I adore my friend and I wanted to help support her growing business. Plus I thought it might be interesting to step outside my comfort zone for a day.
This is as good a place as any to mention that I hate weddings. Yet I wholeheartedly support my friends who want to get married. Recently, a friend did just that—she got married. I learned about it, along with many others, on Facebook. I was thrilled for her and her new husband. Weeks later, a few friends gathered to have some lunch and cocktails and celebrate the life decision they’d made. It was an enjoyable way to celebrate their marriage with them. I asked her about how it felt to experience this major life event in the way they did—as they have had multiple gatherings and celebrations since they got married:
All the celebrations were initiated by others. If people gave us a bunch of likes on Facebook and nothing else we would’ve called it a day and kept going happily. I think that’s also what’s so touching. Some sent personalized cards, some called, some wanted to get together, and some liked it on Facebook… I like giving people the opportunity to interact with this news in the way they wanted, if at all. That’s what made this process so much more fun!
I got a text from my friend I hadn’t talked to in a long time the day I got married and she said “you got married without bullshit. Bitch, you are my hero!” I think it sums up my whole experience.
As I stood in the elevator running between the bridal suite and the groomsmen’s room before the wedding, my friend and I both sighed heavily. We agreed; weddings were not our thing. “I’m pretty sure it was my mom,” I said, “that once expressed to me she was concerned I might someday get married and not tell anyone.” I paused for a second, “If for some reason I ever did get married, it’s probably not an unlikely scenario.” The door opened and we went off to pin flowers on men drinking Bud Light in a room that had no space to fit two more people.
Over 13 hours later, my friend and I stood with our whiskey and cokes agreeing that overall, the event went off with near perfection. The cynic in me wondering if the exhaustion of everyone involved—including the newlyweds—was worth it. I’m sure they think so. As for me, I will never understand the desire, and that’s ok. I don’t have to… not even as I currently message with a friend who is getting married this fall about what to wear, the change of location, and other general wedding related details.
In our culture, we grow up with some kind of expectation on what a wedding should be… and I see many people, especially this weekend, pour thousands of dollars and hours upon hours into that expectation. There is mass coordination of epic proportions, managing many different personalities and handful of people who could send everything into a spiral with one misplaced centerpiece. It’s a concept I will never fully understand. But in the end, it’s a personal decision everyone who decides to get married makes; and I want to do everything I can to support my friends in their life choices. And, when it comes to my decision to eschew the concept of marriage, the best I can hope for is the same support with the knowledge that they, too, will not ever fully understand.