Over the weekend, Matt and I celebrated the first of seven weddings we’re attending between now and November. We are on the wedding circuit, and I anticipate the world tour will continue for at least another year as the people closest to us keep coupling off for as long as they both shall live.
Wedding talk has proven a controversial topic on this blog: My post about gift-giving etiquette inspired one of the most heated debates this MWF has ever seen. The act of choosing bridesmaids and dealing with bridezillas/angry attendants always gets people riled up. Nuptials are just a loaded topic, likely because so much weight is given to this one day and there’s some serious expense involved (for both the hosts and the guests).
This year I’m planning to attend every wedding I was invited to, except for one. And that’s because I have another wedding—across the country—on the same day. I adore all the brides/grooms in question, and wouldn’t consider not going.
But recently a pal and I were discussing the etiquette of wedding attendance—namely, when is it ok to just say no?—and I thought I’d bring the question to the people.
Obviously, weddings can be costly. Our weddings are all over the country so the expenses include flights, hotel rooms, and rented cars on top of the usual wedding gift, shower gift, bachelorette party and more. But all these people made such sacrifices for me when it was my big day, and, more importantly, these are my friends. I want to celebrate them.
Here’s my take. There are likely three reasons for not attending a wedding: You have a scheduling conflict (be it work or another wedding), you can’t/don’t want to spend the money for travel, or you have kids that make taking a weekend away impossible. The friend who asked me if it was ok to miss a wedding told me he was surprised to have been invited to this affair, it was out of town and would be a pricey venture, and he wouldn’t know many other people in attendance. I said he should do what he wanted, but that a “not gonna make it” RSVP wouldn’t be the end of the world.
To be clear: I love a wedding. I tear up at the ceremony, dance until my heels must come off, and chase down platters of spring rolls and crabcakes. Anything fried, really. (The trick is locating the servers’ path from the kitchen and strategically planting yourself so that no bacon-wrapped-scallop can get past you.) But I know some of you aren’t so keen on participating in the hooplah. And my take is that wedding attendance falls under the category of things you do for your friends, if you can.
If your absence is going to take away from the bride’s big day, then try to be there. You should want to celebrate this occasion in your friend’s life, but even if you don’t, she wants to celebrate with you.
Then again, if you hardly know the bride and suspect you were invited out of courtesy rather than any actual desire for your company, saying no might be the nicest thing you can do. I mean, your attendance isn’t cheap for the hosts, either.
What’s your wedding attendance rule? Do you try to attend all? Only go to those in town? Do you agree that being a friend means being there on the big day?