For the past year I’ve watched several acquaintances become engaged, but no close friends. On social media I scroll past bridal parties, wedding photos, and honeymoon humble-brags, but of people whose vows I would never expect to be invited to. I began to question how I had chosen my friends so well that none of them has given into the Power of the One True Ring. Kudos to me, right?
But I've also been disappointed to not be invited to any open bars and/or weekend getaways to Nashville (where every soon-to-be spouse seems to congregate with their besties). How am I supposed to feel like my life is a 30-minute weekly sitcom if I’m not invited to any of my peers’ weddings? Wedding reception episodes always happen by season two a la “New Girl,” “Broad City,” “As Told Over Brunch,” etc.
The closest I came to a wedding invitation was my childhood friend’s engagement. The friend asked for my address soon after, and I kept my calendar open only to realize as the months ticked down that my invitation was not coming. This did not offend me. The last time we hung out was high school and the last time we spoke was eighteen months prior to being asked for my address. But then I got invited to their wedding shower and asked to bring a gift with me. I saw right through this ploy to get more gifts without paying for me at the reception. I pondered whether our years spent doing Destination Imagination was worth my Sunday afternoon and a toaster when we would probably never interact again except for me liking their imminent baby photos on Facebook in three years.
I still haven’t decided on my RSVP.
And then my cousin, “Seth,” got engaged. This meant HALLELUJAH, a wedding invite was on its way undisputedly! I would be able to get crunk and have my parents taxi me home, no Uber required. I also told Sara to keep the first weekend of September open because *wedding time*.
Monthly, I asked my parents if the invitation had arrived. Around June, the save-the-date appeared. But just to my parents. Obviously I’m invited (we’re first cousins after all), but like, am I going to be my parents’ date? Do I not get a plus one?
My cousin is my age. He (or his fiancée, let’s be honest) wouldn’t possibly invite me to a wedding of our peers and not allow me to bring a date. I mean, yes, I’m purportedly single (the oldest single left on my dad’s side of the family, but who’s keeping track?), but that’s a slap in the singlehood. I could elope between June and September. I could meet the love of my life. And/or what if I’m just mum and this is my time to reveal to the extended family (and my own parents) “here is my soulmate”?
It was just a save-the-date, though. I would wait until the invitation came before I direct messaged the bride.
Then this past weekend my best friend asked me to be in her wedding party. She gave me a mason jar with Fighting Cock bourbon airplane bottles (“my mom picked it out”) and a blow-pop ring: “Will you be my brides-man?”
Actually, I think I screamed, “YES, YES, YES!”
Me: “So how big is the wedding going to be?”
Best friend: “We’re around 170. Actually, I’m thinking about not letting people have plus ones if they don’t have a significant other. Like you.”
There probably wasn’t a pause. It was more fluid, less cutthroat. I still froze.
Flashback to a conversation months before. My college roommate was invited to a wedding, but even though she had a boyfriend, her boyfriend was not invited. Thankfully, she knew enough other people at the wedding so it wouldn’t be an awkward affair, but “why didn’t I get a plus one?” she wondered aloud at brunch.
My group of friends (all singles, mind you, with no marriage prospects before 30, at least this side of 26) think it is proper etiquette to extend a plus-one to wedding guests unless – unless what? Okay, you maybe get a pass if it’s a dinky wedding and the guests all know each other, but if you have a guest that knows no one, then you have to let them bring someone. Who cares if they’re “single”? They need a friend. Or else they’ll be on their cell phone all night.
When I told my mom this and how I expected to have a plus one to my cousin’s wedding, she acted as if that assumption was ignorant (which it might be). “In the olden days,” (yes, the "olden days"), “that’s how people met someone,” my mom informed me. “You can’t meet someone if you bring a date.”
Me: “People also used to meet people at book clubs. When’s the last time that happened?”
I wanted to add, “We’re millennials. We meet on Tinder. Maybe we’re at the same wedding, but we’re still on Tinder.”
Back to my best friend and me driving to lunch post-brides-man proposal:
Internally: THIS IS SOME F*CKED UP SH*T. Some singlehood discrimination! I am a damned brides-man, and I don’t get to bring a date???
Me: “I guess, yeah, that does save money. And I do know people at the wedding…”
Best friend: “But your parents are invited.”
Me: “You should not invite my parents, and let me have a plus one. They won’t be offended. That will save you one seat right there.”
Best friend: “Parents give better gifts.”
Me: “I’ll make sure my mom contributes to your gift.”
Later that night I told my mom that my friend “sincerely regrets she can’t invite you, but the venue’s really small. I told her you all wouldn’t mind.”
Mom: “That’s nice of her for thinking of us.”
Me: “You can help me buy her gift, though.”
My mom readily agreed to this. “Of course I’ll get her a gift. I’ve known her since she was a kid.”
Me: “That's what I thought. By the way, have we got an invitation to Seth’s wedding yet?”
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