Not Your Wedding

Planning your wedding is likely one of the most stressful events in your life. So it irks me when people complain about the couple's choices and call them selfish.

The couple has likely made concessions on any number of issues. Maybe they had to bump up their guest list to accommodate their parents friends. Or they cut the list to fit their budget. Or the bride couldn't get the dress she wanted. Or they were guilted into hiring someone's nephew as the photographer.

After accommodating so many demands and constraints, some choices are purely up to the couple. And so what if some of their choices are selfish? Its their wedding! Why is that so hard to understand?

Whether it's 50 guests or 500, no couple should be expected to consider and accommodate for the needs of each person they've invited.

Weddings are one of the few things today that still retain ideas of proper etiquette and obligation. Most weddings today are outdoors. Receptions are held in barns and bars. Ministers get ordained online. The line for which traditions are still expected and which can be tossed aside is blurred to near invisibility.

But weddings bring together multiple generations of family with very different ideas about what's acceptable. Meaning that there is no end to the amount of criticism that can be directed at the couple. Here's a short list of some of the things I've heard criticized about weddings I've attended:

An adult's invitation is mailed to their parents house in another state.
Someone wasn't invited to the shower.
The guest already gave an engagement present and is now invited to the shower.
Items on the registry are too expensive.
The wedding is in a location that better suits the groom's family.
It's a destination wedding, and the guest can't afford it.
The wedding is on a Friday, necessitating the guest takes a day off from work.
The wedding is on a Saturday, meaning the whole weekend is wasted on it.
The wedding is on a Sunday, meaning guests will have to drive directly home afterward.
The wedding is adults only, meaning the guest has to find a babysitter.
The reception has a cash bar.
The food is all vegetarian.
The ceremony is on the top of a mountain and the guest is afraid of heights.

During their bitch-fest, the guest invariably asks, "What do they expect me to do?"

The answer (in my humble opinion) is one that no one seems to want to accept: The couple doesn't really care what you do. They expect you to behave like an adult, figure it out, and leave them alone to deal everything else. They have too much else to worry about. And if the wedding is truly so inconvenient to you, I'm sorry to say it, but they might not really want to come. A lot of people I know have invited guests they don't expect to attend, but think they should when when alternative is snubbing them.

If you can attend the wedding, do so. But if you really can't, then don't! Sure, someone will probably criticize you for it. The couple will probably be a little disappointed. But so what? Just as the couple gets to decide on a destination wedding or a no-kids policy, you get to make your own decisions as well. Own it!

And really, how much time does any guest really spend with the couple at their wedding? Maybe you'll disappoint someone, but you won't be missed.

Don't attend if it's just out of obligation. You don't need to prove that you're a better person than your hosts because you were willing to inconvenience yourself. It's more likely that you're not going to have a good time, and no one wants a sourpuss ruining their party.

If you really think a couple is being selfish by not accommodating your needs, I's say it's time to look in the mirror.