Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here Come the Weddings

There was a time when my wife and I were invited to weddings quite frequently. In September, we were finally given a break. We didn’t have any wedding plans for at least a month. I was happy.

And then in October we got word of some winter ceremonies.

I used to enjoy weddings. I was, and still am, honored to attend. But, oh how I’ve grown tired of the wedding routine.

People say, “Your wedding is a once in a lifetime occasion.” Yes, maybe that’s true, but I’ve attended more weddings than I’ve washed my car. I’ve been to so many weddings that my memories of the events are like the ingredients in a Jamba Juice drink: all mixed up.

They all have the same rituals, the same flowers, the same 4- to 8-year-old ring bearer borrowed from a friend, the same speeches downloaded from www.weddingspeechestoremember.com, the same music—now conveniently found in an iTunes Wedding Reception Essentials playlist, and the same drunk people doing the same drunk dances on the dance floor.

Despite my ill feelings of grief for having to go to another group of weddings, I always find myself happily marking “Yes, I’ll be attending” on the wedding invitation. Either that or my significant other will think I’m rude, and maybe rightfully so.

With the big dates coming upon us quickly, my wife and I decided to go shopping for wedding gifts. My wife bought a new dress (because she has to get one every time we go to a wedding), and I sent my “wedding suit” to the dry cleaners (it still had cake frosting on it from the last wedding).

“Are you gonna wear your regular dress shoes?” my wife asked.

“Those are my only dress shoes,” I said. “Why?”

“I was just wondering.”

I pulled out my shoes and realized they needed to be polished.

“Are you sure you don’t wanna call the Salvation Army?” my wife asked.

“For what?”

“It starts with a ‘Th’ and ends with ‘ose shoes are old and beat up,’” she said.

After I polished my shoes, they looked as good as new. My wife wholeheartedly agreed.

She picked out some new dress shoes for me anyway.

“They’re kinda expensive,” I said when I saw the price tag.

“You’re worth it,” she said. How sweet. We bought the shoes.

Between the shoes, the new dress, dry cleaning and the wedding gifts, my wife and I spent a lot more money than I anticipated . . . and more than we had in our checking account.

And no matter how guilty I felt for wanting to check the box on the invitation that reads, “Sorry, we can’t attend” and, for the first time, be able to leave the box next to “steak dinner” unmarked, I knew I’d have to watch another bride walk down the aisle, follow another train around the dance floor, pretend to enjoy dancing to “Play That Funky Music” and “We Are Family” for the thousandth time, lose another bet for choosing the incorrect outcome when it comes time for the bride and groom to feed each other cake -- either cleanly or in the face, and listen to another speech about how the newlyweds are the perfect couple, and how they’re marriage was destiny.

But I can’t complain. In fact, I feel honored because, of all the people who could’ve been invited to these special occasions, I was included.

Last weekend, I asked my wife if she saw any of the wedding invitations yet. She said we hadn’t received one, which seemed weird because two of the weddings are this month. When we called friends of the folks planning to marry, we learned that each person had already received an invitation over a month ago. That meant my wife and I weren’t invited.

I can’t believe it. In fact, I’m hurt because, of all the people who were invited to these special occasions, we weren’t included. My wife and I now know whom to exclude from our “renewal of our vows” ceremony. And that’s a once in a lifetime occasion.

-December 2008

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