I've known we'd have a wedding to attend this September ever since the happy couple got engaged last autumn. Apparently, my friends and I are late bloomers. At the ripe old age of 26 and a half, this is the first wedding of a friend I'll attend and only the second wedding of a close acquaintance that's even occurred.
Now, we all know I have no issues with wedding hoopla and as the bride's personal attendant and a reader in the ceremony, I'm happy, honored, thrilled to be a part of her big day. Besides, it's awesome excuse to nab a new pair of ridiculous heels.
I was sitting on L.L. Bean's website trying to figure out something for Andy to wear to the wedding that he wouldn't feel like a douche bag in but that would be reasonably acceptable to wear to a semi-formal wedding. My brother, also my newly appointed men's wedding wear guru, stated Andy'd have to at least wear a button up shirt and dress pants if he didn't want to feel completely under dressed.
I'd just spent over $50 on a new strapless bra, which for the record, cost more than the shoes above and I was feeling a little cranky about formal wear expenses. But I had no choice. The last time I was in a Victoria's Secret was back in May on Chicago's Magnificent Mile just hours before I bought the strapless dress I'm wearing to the wedding. And with the nearest actual, non-virtual lingerie store is a three-hour drive away and I had to bit the bullet and order the now necessary strapless bra online. (Oh mail-order bras do inspire fear in my little heart.) Granted I could have just returned to Victoria's Secret while I was still in Chicago, but frankly those stores intimidate me and I try to only go inside such places every few years.
Cranky with the whole bra situation and having shelled out the close to $200 necessary to complete my outfit, I had to turn my attention to Andy's apparal. I am not exaggerating when I say Andy has one sweater which might be remotely appropriate to wear to a wedding. This boy's go-to clothing pieces are Polarfleece pullovers and Wild-Ass jeans. Andy's aunt (also our neighbor and a stalwart volunteer at work) literally cackles every time the subject of what in the heehaw Andy's going to wear to this event is approached.
As I poked through the men's chico selection, I felt my irritation growing. Why should my self-proclaimed "jack pine savage" of a boyfriend have to don unnatural and uncomfortable clothing in order to celebrate someone else's life choice?
It's nothing against this particular wedding, but against the entire concept of weddings.
By the time I receive a thank you note for the event, I will have bought two brand new outfits, paid for a portion of a cabin rental and numerous other travel expenses. I have shuffled my non-traditional work week to accommodate the event. I have handcrafted a wedding present. I have felt guilty sending my regrets when the bachelorette party and bridal shower invitations started rolling in. That's a lot of monetary and time obligations and I didn't even have to buy a bridesmaid dress.
Naturally, I want to celebrate the bride and groom and I want to be there to bless their future together. But we have created a wedding culture that necessitates consumption and conformity. Back when Laura Ingalls Wilder got married, you just headed down to the pastor's house and came back to your house to have one of Ma's homemade meals with your family.
It all recalls this:
We've created one unorganic, inescapable web of social niceties surrounding our friends' life choices. And sometimes, as someone less than a week away from her three year anniversary with no plans of wedding bells in the near future, it's a rather bitter pill to swallow.