If the good people of Hollywood ever wanted to make a mundane rom-com about a professional wedding guest, I could definitely supply them with some thoughtful notes and colourful montage suggestions.
By the end of my 20s I had sat on slightly uncomfortable chairs and watched women in white dresses drift down aisles close to 30 times. It was safe to say I had the art of attending public declarations of love followed by chewy chicken dinners and renditions of the Nutbush down pat.
My indoctrination into the intense world of weddings began at a young age when my many older cousins began tying the knot. But even as a child on the very outskirts of these matrimonial activities, a few hard and fast rules began to emerge with increasing strength and prevalence.
The first one is that sugared almonds wrapped in tulle are still the very best bonbonnieres you can bequeath to your guests. That’s just a fact. Seriously, I know they may seem a little retro in this day and age, a time when people hand out real life butterflies trapped in hand-carved boxes to their guests, but they are primed for a comeback.
A few years ago, I event went to a wedding where after the vows were done and dusted, the couple sent us all home with an immense marble paperweight complete with their smiling faces plastered over every inch of it. And, I have to tell you, that’s just not as nice to bite into the next morning…
The second rule is that a woman’s standing in her family and circle of friends is immediately elevated to a much higher level in the lead up to and after her wedding. To put it in terms we’ll all understand, they pretty much go from being a Khloe to a Kim with one quick flash of a diamond ring.
This shift in success can be incredibility slight and completely unintended, and can even take pace in in families that have evolved past the tradition of marrying daughters off for land rights and waving those pesky dowries. Even as a kid, I began to see weddings as more of a winner’s parade than a ceremony of love and solemn vows.
Then, as I grew up and started attending weddings of people my own age, I began to see that it wasn’t only the guests who were stressed about moving through the motions of this social ritual… it was the brides as well.
I have been to weddings with beyond beautiful moments, watching one of my radiant cousins kiss my grandmother’s cheek moments after saying “I do”, dancing in a throng of my high school friends in a sweaty mess of tangled arms and long-held memories.
But apart from these tiny moments, weddings still felt like public parades sponsored by stress and social pressure.
It made me wonder, why was everyone still insisting on holding events where they were duty-bound to invite family members who would really grind their gears while simultaneously parting with the majority of their life savings?
And my mind didn’t stray that far away from this train of thought when my own sister Kate began planning her wedding. The news was exciting and lovely of course, and the wedding weekend and pr-eluding events of celebration planned with meticulous care and consideration.