Monday, August 9, 2010

On why we attend weddings

Jezebel is at it again with the wedding posts, and today's is about menu choices for vegans and vegetarians. The question: is it selfish for a vegan or vegetarian couple to serve only foods that fit their dietary requirements at their wedding?

My response: Really?

I shouldn't bother reading the comments on posts like these anymore, since they just seem to invite fury, but I can tell you that the comments here are filled with people who are willing to complain and even decline invitations should they find the details of the reception not to their liking. This isn't the first place I've seen this strain. It comes up in discussions about "plus one" invites, debates over open bars,* and any number of other wedding "etiquette" questions.

Of course, it's your prerogative to decline an invitation to any wedding you don't wish to attend. But, I think all of this guest uproar about the specific decisions a couple makes really misses the reason we have and attend weddings. People are quick to accuse women of being bridezillas or planning weddings that are selfish and attention-hungry. It is similarly selfish, though, to decline to share in the celebration of a marriage because you've been asked to forgo meat for one meal or because every drink you consume won't be free. I have never attended a wedding for the free booze or the free chicken or for the "plus one."

In two weeks, D. and I will witness one of our wonderful friends get married. Of course this wedding entails a certain amount of cost to us - getting there, the hotel, the gift - but we're spending that money freely because we want to be there to share in that moment and to celebrate. If the cost of a wedding is too high for you, of course it is your right as an invitee to decline the invitation with your regrets. Of course couples should try to accommodate the needs of their guests, in the same way we always try to make our guests happy and comfortable when they come to our home. But, I don't attend weddings to be pampered and attended to every step of the way. I don't go for the party. And I think that this move to focus on the marriage rather than the wedding should hold true for guests as much as it does for the couple.

* In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I'm touchy on both of these: We are not having an open bar, and "plus ones" will not be extended to those without significant others.


  1. Oh, I replied several times to some of the more self-righteous commenters on that thread before giving up because I knew it was futile. Blerg.

    And also, I am so happy to see such a brilliant quote from one of my favorite novels as your "About Me." Yay.

  2. @A Los Angeles Love, I think it really is a useless proposition, but I still find it so annoying. It was one of our goals in having a fairly small wedding - we really wanted to celebrate with the people who wanted to celebrate, not the people who were going to complain about the specific details.

    Also, love the Rushdie love! That quote always makes me feel powerful.


Blogs have opened up a world of community and conversation between people thousands of miles apart. I love that. I do not love judgmental or nasty comments. They do not engender conversation and community.