True Companion

June 23rd, 2010

I … LIKE, WHOA. I don’t even know what to say here, except that you all shocked, terrified and amused the shit out of me with your wild tales of staggering, mind-bending rudeness. I mean, WHOA.


I’ve read every single one of them at least three times and … WHOA. But also, so unbelievably amusing. I mean, what else do you DO when people are that incredible? You laugh at them. There is no other choice.

I also felt a little guilty that there became these dueling stories of kid weddings vs. no-kid weddings, and people feeling defensive about their kid-free weddings, and others being all, “I BRING MY KID EVERYWHERE,” and … whoops. Sorry, folks.

If I may offer a blanket soother on that issue, as well as some totally unsolicited opinions, because this comes up all the time! All the time! First of all, allow me to give my opinion on weddings in general, and I apologize in advance if anyone finds this offensive, it just is what it is:

I definitely think it’s your day, as the bride and groom. I do. I think you have the right to have the wedding of your dreams and do what you want to do, no matter what that entails. You’re the ones getting married, and your memories of this day will be more important than anyone else’s.

HOWEVAH. There are limits. You’re also hosting a party. Yes, it’s your day, but you are also HOSTS. The only way to truly make it all about you is to go off by yourselves somewhere ALL ALONE and do precisely what you want to do, because the only other people who are there are the ones you are paying to be there, and if that means you get to strip down to a blue bikini and scream, “I’M ON A BOAT, MOTHERFUCKER!” while your groom pretends to be Andy Samberg and/or T-Pain, that’s fine.

But again: HOSTS. Contrary to popular bride belief, your guests are not thinking that this, the day of your wedding, is going to be the greatest party of their lives. It’s kind of … well, a little annoying for some (NOT ALL!). Weddings, whether we like it or not, are not everyone’s thing. Long ceremonies can be painful, though necessary, and during busy wedding season, your wedding might be the fiftieth rendition of Hava Nagila that your guests have endured. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you, or aren’t excited to see you get married. It just means … well, probably, and sadly, most people’s idea of a night out involves choosing who they sit with and eating food that THEY order specifically and … well, look! I know! I know! I’m just playing the cynical card here, friends.

The point is, everyone at that wedding is making some level of sacrifice, however small, to be there to see you get married. And … well, a little consideration is kind of nice, on both sides. Yes, you are totally allowed and even welcome to have a kid-free wedding, especially if it’s in the evening at a formal venue, and you’re planning tequila shots with the cocktail hour and a bawdy band lined up ’til the break of dawn. OF COURSE. But then, you are also not really allowed to lose your shit on the couple with kids from out of town (or even in-town) who apologetically says that they tried to get a sitter, but it wasn’t possible, and they’re very sorry they can’t make it. And being flexible — say, for a couple who REALLY can’t get a sitter because their baby is six weeks old, because, well, SIX WEEKS OLD — and making exceptions is kind of nice, too.

It doesn’t mean everyone and their mother is going to suddenly be like, WHY IS MY FOUR YEAR OLD NOT HERE? Most people with kids have brains. I hope. If they don’t, they were probably going to figure out a way to be rude assholes anyway, the kids just happened to be the issue du jour.

Likewise, if a wedding says no kids, for the love of Jesus, then couples with kids should agree that if they cannot get, or are uncomfortable with getting, a sitter, then one or both of them is going to stay home. No, no it is not okay to be like, WELL UP YOURS, I AM BRINGING MY PRESHUS BABY ANYWAY. No. No, that is not okay. Those are the rules. Would you bring your baby to a bar? No. Because babies are not allowed in bars, and you somehow deal with it.

(The example of the baby not allowed ON SITE at a RESORT WEDDING, however? Is crazytown.)

However, if, like the example mentioned above, they have a flipping NEWBORN and the couple getting married is a little clueless about how these things work (i.e., infants that tiny sleep like the dead, even with firecrackers over their heads and no, no a sitter is not possible), then MAYBE doing a VERY SNEAKY and NON-STRESSFUL explanation of the sitch at hand to someone close to the wedding MIGHT be a good idea. It all depends on the bride and groom, really, and how stressful they find the wedding planning, and how much your situation MIGHT impact them.

I am very laid-back, and didn’t mind most questions around my wedding. Some people are not like this. This is okay. Common sense and general personality assessment is sort of required here.

Here’s something else I firmly believe, and cannot be dissuaded from: Your wedding is not all about you. At all. I get physically ill when I hear brides (and grooms) talk about how this day is ALL THEIRS and they’re doing to do whatever they want, everyone else be damned! You think this day isn’t a huge HUGE deal to your parents? Your grandparents, if they’re still alive? Your siblings? Your nearest and dearest? It’s a HUGE deal. HUGE. HUGE. HUGE. It’s a big day for them. They raised you; they watched you grow up; they love you so much it hurts. They worry about you. They want you to be happy.

You are here, in part, because of many of them. And while yes, we’ve all heard the horror stories of in-laws and mothers taking control and making the day all about THEM, when it’s about YOU, I … well, I think those exist, sure (WAGON AND KIDS, AISLE). But I also think too often, brides and grooms get caught up in the ME ME ME part of the day and forget that there are other people for whom this day is, to a lesser extent, important.

As a parent, my daughter’s wedding day is going to be a VERY BIG DEAL TO ME. I know this. That’s my baby. To your parents — the good ones — you’re still their baby, and look at you! All grown up.

So, thank your parents. Include them when possible. Talk to them, and let them know that they’re important and that you love them, and appreciate them. Don’t make them feel shitty. Don’t be bratty. Don’t throw a hissy fit when your mom makes a mild suggestion–she’s probably on edge, too, because again, HER BABY IS GROWING UP AND GETTING MARRIED. COME ON.

Be a grown-up: You’re getting married!

I still worry I didn’t thank my parents enough for helping me get through my wedding and being there. On my honeymoon, I was WRACKED WITH GUILT, because all the people I loved were together, and I was on a beach in the Caribbean drinking a mai tai. So hey, Mom, Dad, Mom, Bob? If you’re reading this, thank you again. So much. For everything.

Common sense! Common courtesy! ACK! WEDDINGS!

Happy Thursday!

*Marc Cohn. The wedding song!

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Entry Filed under: All Riled Up,Beeber McSteebs

56 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Steph  |  June 25th, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Excellent points, especially about the wedding not being only about the bride and groom–I like to think I realized that for my parents, but I am sure I didn’t realize it ENOUGH and act appropriately grateful and gentle with their feelings.

    That said, I was so much more laid back in planning and on the actual day than I think anyone ever anticipated I would be. My MIL (whom I LOVE, truly, I have the best MIL and FIL possible) got her dress for the wedding and it was…long, with a few beads/sparkles, and WHITE. As in, the same color as my dress. It really irked me b/c I thought that was kind of tacky and she was, at the time (better now), competing subtly with me for my husband’s attention CONSTANTLY. And the kicker is that my husband’s family had, for YEARS, made fun of one of his cousins’ girlfriend for wearing white to another family member’s wedding (before I was in the picture, but I heard the story for years). But I silently stewed about it for a day before I was like, “you know, whatever, who cares, it’s not like she’s going to be walking down the aisle and I’m still PRETTY SURE no one will confuse us”. Just basically had to get over myself.

    And as for the kids thing, I have to admit, kids at weddings bother me. At least the ones who are old enough to make noise/cause a commotion, but too young to follow directions reliably. That’s why I provided a nursery for young children during my ceremony. I totally don’t care about kids at receptions (though I see the point if it’s a fancy to-do, mine was mid-afternoon, outdoor reception, buffet-style food, very casual). But at the actual ceremony, I think that a) if a child is crying/yelling/throwing/banging/whatever, that is distracting for the other guests who are (presumably) trying to pay attention AND for the couple who are trying to say vows and focus on each other AND for the parent of that child who is (presumably) trying to shush their child. And if the parent has to take the child out of the ceremony, then what’s the point–that parent doesn’t get to enjoy the wedding anyway. I had been to too many weddings where I couldn’t hear anything b/c a young child was crying or yelling and so for my own wedding I wanted to avoid that, and the nursery seemed like the best alternative–that way parents didn’t have to worry about FINDING a babysitter (especially out of towners) and they could relax and enjoy the ceremony and then let loose with the kiddos at the reception. I love kids but that was more practical for me.

    And I so love my little boy and am glad we have/had him, but I already realize how hard it’s going to be for him to get married. I feel like I’m a better daughter-in-law for having a son–I can imagine myself in her position and, for example, when my husband was deployed last fall, when he would call me (oh those precious phone calls!) every now and then I would tell him to cut it short with me and call his mom/parents. (Then, inevitably she would call me 30 minutes later and be all “GUESS WHO JUST CALLED ME!!!” and it would a) make me smile and b) take all I had not to say “I told him to!”)

    Longest comment ever. Sorry. Anyway, good points Jonna!

  • 2. lindsay  |  June 27th, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    weddings are insane and ridiculous. sadly you don’t realize this until you’re married. I’m very pro marriage and got married twice – once in a court house with two witnesses, then a big shebang a yr later (same groom). Both times the vows meant the world to me, the first time I really noticed the absence of about twenty ppl, the second time was wonderful and big, but I can say I probably would have been happy with just those twenty guests and didn’t need the additional 85 you know?

  • 3. Suki  |  June 28th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Reading all the wedding comments, all I can think is Dude, I got so lucky with my wedding. Or more accurately, lucky with my family and in-laws. My mom and dad are both ministers and had performed literally hundreds (if not thousands) of weddings, so they understood that besides us being married at the end of the night, the rest was just inconsequential details. I had a mother-in-law who told me that she would help in any way I wanted, but would keep her opinions to herself. I feel like when you’re surrounded by people like that, it’s a lot easier to keep a sane perspective and realize that the small accomodations you have to make are just that- SMALL accomodations. Besides getting to marry my best friend (I know, gag), nothing about my wedding day makes me happier than hearing what a great time other people had.

  • 4. Sarina Langlois  |  October 9th, 2012 at 2:50 am

    It all depends on the bride and groom, really, and how stressful they find the wedding planning, and how much your situation MIGHT impact them.

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