“When was the last time we’ve been to a family wedding, on my side?”
“I don’t know. Was it…ours?”
“Yep. That was 21 years ago.”
I had this actual conversation with my husband last spring. I was holding an invitation in my hand. One which came from people we both knew: The bride, the MOB, the FOB and even the BOB (brother of the bride). They weren’t family, but they were dear friends.
Maybe this was a sign my own family wedding drought would finally be over.
Even though we’ve been to a recent trickle of cousin-y ceremonies on my husband’s side, I’m noticing how my own family is living up to current statistics: Couples are waiting later to marry. Some are skipping the whole scene all together. Crickets.
It might be a while until I’m standing in a china department, catching an actual relative’s warm registry sheets from a store’s overworked printer. There’s not even a distant rumor of any proposal. Not one date to save, despite having nieces, nephews and cousins all at the right age or life stage to plunge. The Egyptian cotton towels destined for people in my gene pool will have to remain on the shelf a while longer.
So, I make myself content with I-don’t-really-know-the-bride-or-groom weddings. The ones when the spouse’s coworker’s stepchild ties the knot. Or an uncle-in-law’s half-sister flies into town for her own nuptials. I’ll go to these events, and frankly, they’re AWESOME.
Why? There’s nothing to worry about. At these acquaintance ceremonies, my husband and I feel very much like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in the movie Wedding Crashers. We simply order a gift online (with free shipping), sit back and enjoy the show. No requirements to pose in any pictures. No toasts to write. No outfits to coordinate to any theme. Not one tear to shed remembering how it was just yesterday when the bride was a cherubic sandcastle builder in a pink ruffled swimsuit.
We show up last-minute for the juicy stuff. The back pew or last row is fine. We’re first to see the preschool flower girl’s rogue swagger and the bride walk down the aisle. At the Mr. & Mrs. Whozawhatsitz receptions, we sit at the coveted back table, near the restrooms and/or exits. Yet we can still hear the music, taste the tenderloin and smell the roses. If red wine spills on our laps, who cares? We will not be in any pictures. Parsley, meet bicuspid. Stay a while.
My favorite D-list activity is the guiltless fashion critique I do in my head. Some things never change—the bridesmaids’ dresses aren’t as “wut?” these days, yet still vaguely hold the traditional promise of never being worn again. Some things do change—I remember when wedding gowns had sleeves. Sleeves! They’re curiously gone now, even in winter months. (And with that commentary, you have just witnessed a columnist cross the “solid middle age” threshold.)
But even as perpetually invited wedding crashers, my husband and I are starting to feel a vague pressure. I think we might be taking notes for our own children, subconsciously. Sure, they’re in the early years of college. But time flies. Droughts end. The dream lives: A conga line, linking all my DNA.