Twenty Ground Rules for the Wedding I May Never Have

1. All the important parts will take place in one day.

2. It will not take place in any venue that slipcovers meeting chairs in white damask.

3. The dress code will be, “Whatever makes you feel fabulous.”

4. All single people are allowed to bring a guest, no questions asked. I know etiquette dictates that it’s perfectly acceptable to skip the random plus-ones, and that’s a good way to bring down your headcount, but man, has Letitia Baldridge ever attended a wedding as a single person? The entire day (or weekend, as the case may be) is a series of anvils to the head about how awesome it is to be in love, which you are not, and then on top of that, you have no one familiar to get dressed with, stand around between ceremony and reception with, eat dinner with, dance with, make fun of other people’s clothes/dancing/children with, or leave with. (Unless you’re lucky enough to go to one of those weddings I’ve heard a great deal about but never actually attended, the kind that are chock full of other singles who are devastatingly attractive, horny, and into people just like you!) And as a special bonus, if it’s an out-of-town wedding, the single people have no one to split hotel or rental car costs with, or spend their downtime with.

Look, I’m the type of person who actively enjoys meeting new people and is pretty comfortable doing so, but even I get flustered when I’m forced to introduce myself to strangers or talk to myself, especially when I’m wearing fancy clothes and have no one to tell me my bra strap’s hanging out or there’s toilet paper stuck to my shoe. And even if you do befriend some kindly strangers, you then have to decide between parting ways with them after a reasonable interval and starting the whole process over again, or worrying that said kindly strangers are going to spend the whole night chatting politely with you, but going, “What the fuck is up with the random asshole tagalong?” every time you go to the bathroom. Putting a friend in that position is not worth saving myself the cost of one extra plate of food. It’s just not.

5. Speaking of plates of food, dinner will most likely be buffet-style and over as soon as possible. I don’t give a crap if I look cheap; I want to get to the goddamn drinking and dancing.

6. Bridesmaids will not wear satin or any hairdo requiring more than 4 bobby pins.

7. There will be no fucking bouquet toss. As we’ve established, it’s bad enough being a single woman at a wedding in the first place–like you really need to be dragged out in front of the whole crowd and expected to act desperate for a bunch of strangers’ amusement?

8. There will be no garter, let alone a garter toss. My thighs are nobody’s business.

9. Everyone who’s not in recovery, pregnant, or driving will be encouraged to get shitty, shitty drunk. (The less I spend on food, the more I can spend on the open bar.) My wedding will be no place for tasteful behavior.

10. Ideally, no one will have to drive.

11. I can live with lovely live music during the ceremony, but during the reception, I want a DJ, and I don’t want to hear anything that came out after 1993.

12. There will be no dance that requires everyone to stare at me. (After a couple of hours, there will probably be dances that cause everyone to stare at me, but that’s different.)

13. No one under 18 gets in the door, period. Possibly no one under 30.

14. I don’t care how tacky it is to say up front that you don’t want gifts: I don’t want gifts. This bullshit where a bunch of thirtysomethings who have been living on their own for at least 10 years (and usually living with their intendeds for at least a couple) suddenly expect their loved ones to cough up the entire Williams-Sonoma catalog (or cash equivalent) has got to stop. Those who feel compelled to spend money to commemorate my wedding will be asked to make a donation to their favorite charity or blow it on cute shoes and send me pictures.

15. If neither the groom nor I would recognize this person on the street, s/he’s not invited.

16. If neither the groom nor I give a rat’s ass about a detail that someone else finds important, it’s not important.

17. If it doesn’t sound like fun, it’s not happening.

18. If it will make the ceremony longer, it’s not happening.

19. There will be no mention of what God thinks about all this.

20. If I become a control freak about any particular not mentioned above, my friends and the groom are authorized to shoot me.

12 thoughts on “Twenty Ground Rules for the Wedding I May Never Have

  1. *applause*

    Those are mostly the rules we followed for our wedding. A few differences that can be chalked up to personal taste, but it’s your wedding you should follow your rules!

    I should write up a “how fabulous was our wedding” post just to point out you don’t need to do the Stupid Middle Class Wedding Shit in order to have a happy marriage.

  2. Seriously. How do you keep people from buying you shit for your wedding? Letitia says, “you will hurt people’s feelings…” HUH? What about hurting my storage bill? I have four generations of effin’ china because no one in my family had kids! I am up to my ass in housewares.

    Is there some kind of regifting scenario for weddings? Or a special good-deeds closet for people who need more ceramic bowls? Like when I was little and my grandparents would buy way too much shit for Christmas, and my parents would hide three-quarters of it and pull stuff out of the closet in February when I made my bed. Good job, kiddo!

    Have a salad spinner.

  3. I admit I have absolutely no use for the overpriced “Wilton Armetale” serveware that my 2nd cousin gave us.

    But the limited edition print created by an artist-friend (signed specifically for us with our names and everything) is really something special.

    I think all gifts (in general) should be given with intention, rather than old school tradition.

  4. kate, you are a blinding brilliant light from the heaven. your wedding ground rules could help me stop dreading weddings. i always feel like the annoying glommer. i need to get comfortable with the idea of bringing a same sex friend since i don’t have any guy friends anymore, and going solo really blows.

  5. Col, I hear you. I’m not one to cry at weddings, but this is the first one in a long time I didn’t cry PRIOR to. I met two single women who didn’t know anyone at this affair–one of whom was a bridesmaid stuck in an ill-fitting dress that was threatening nip-slip all Saturday night, the other of whom was way underdressed and whispered to me, “I didn’t have anyone to ask about my outfit; my cat doesn’t really have an opinion”–and I probably ended up seeming condescending to them because all I could think was, “MY GOD, I WANT TO EXPRESS EMPATHY. YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND,” but I’m afraid it came off as pity. And both of them totally did the, “Thank you for talking to me, but I’m going to walk away awkwardly before I feel like I’m stalking you” dance several times… Bleh. It hurt to watch. And there were so many times when I ended up with no one to talk to but Al, over the course of THREE long events–I can’t even imagine going to this one solo.

    Spill and Aepha, I tried to respond to both of you, but blogger apparently ate those comments. The short answer to both, I guess, is that gifts given with intention are awesome–but A) weddings these days often set it up so that people who don’t even know you well enough to HAVE intention still feel expected to cough up, and B) It just seems ridiculous for us to take money and stuff to help us “start a life” we’re already living together.

  6. whether or not you were understood, you are generating good karma with your genuine single person empathy.

    also, to weigh in on the present thing … part of the reason people buy fancy, superfluous gifts is that they are too lazy to think of anything meaningful.

    they don’t want to expend the emotional or intellectual energy, so instead they open the checkbook.

    or yeah, they just don’t know you enough, even if they were willing to try.

  7. On the gift thing:

    Three ideas I’ve seen done are
    1) Recipes. Bring a family recipe and a non-perishable ingredient to make it.
    2) Adopt-a-Habitat-for-Humanity project: all houseware gifts will be donated to a new H-f-H project (you gotta tell folks up front about that).
    3) Things to plant in your garden (assuming you have a garden).

  8. And by things to plant in your garden, I mean people brought cuttings and plants from their own gardens.

    Also, I’ve been to a wedding where everybody brought a quilt square and they were all sewn together afterwards to make a king-sized quilt for the couple’s bed.

  9. I love this. You know what I want? This comes under the category of “if it’s not fun, I’m not doing it.” I want an outside wedding, but no cake. No, instead of a big huge wedding cake, every table gets a box of cake mix and an Easy Bake Oven!! It’ll be so white trash that half my relatives will be appalled – and my white trash relatives (who as a rule, are WAY more fun) won’t think twice! HA!

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