I remember the first wedding that E and I attended as an engaged couple. It’s kind of hard to forget all that rib poking and people saying “you’re next!!” over and over all night. The wedding was of two of E’s childhood friends (high school sweethearts aww!) I remember us standing by the bar and asking the new bride and groom for their advice. They laughed and said,
“This wedding stopped being about us a long time ago. It wasn’t ‘what do we want to eat at our wedding,’ it was ‘what will most people want to eat at our wedding.’ It wasn’t ‘who do we want to share in our special day,’ it was ‘who do we have to invite to keep our moms from giving us the silent treatment.’ Once you accept that, learn to just ride with it, and remember that when the madness is over, you get to go far far away just the two of you, wedding planning will get much more relaxing for you.”
We got in the car and just stared at each other. We can’t let that happen. We won’t let that happen.
At that point, E and I decided that what we wanted was a small, intimate ceremony on the beach on Martha’s Vineyard (small island off the coast of Massachusetts for those who don’t know.) Growing up, my neighbors owned a house there and we spent a couple weeks every summer. My family still goes every year, and Erik has come with us every summer since we started dating. It’s a special place to us and seemed like the logical place to get married. We planned a series of location visits during our vacation, but our parents were starting to grumble.
“It’s going to be really tough to get people here.”
“People are going to be forced to stay over night if you have an evening wedding because ferries stop at 10pm.”
“Venders are going to be more expensive on the island.”
“You won’t be able to invite many people.” (<– That was kind of the point)
Eventually, we were pushed back onto the mainland. Looking back, this is where it should have stopped. This is where I should have put my foot down and said “NO. This is what we want, this is where we want to be married. These are the things that are important to us.” Instead, we started looking at the Cape, and then Rhode Island, and then ended up 20 minutes from home on the CT coast, in an event facility instead of a beach house. (Although I did still manage to keep my toes in the sand for the ceremony… small victories!!)
From there, it was a slippery slope. The invite list somehow went from 75 people total to 75 invites (most of which are doubles). I sent out my Save the Dates in December. My mom said I should send them early because it’s a holiday weekend and people might want to get a room for the whole weekend and make a little beach vacation out of it (like she is!) After they went out I heard from two or three people that they couldn’t make it, but for the most part, all was quiet. Months and months and months went by. This past Friday afternoon, I put the invites in the mail. Saturday afternoon, people who live in the same town as us started to receive their invites. That is where the problem started.
I’m not sure if this is proper etiquette or not, but I made the decision to write the names of both partners if a couple was engaged or married, and to just put the invitee if they are not engaged or married. Not that a bf/gf is not invited, but some of these people change significant others so often it makes me dizzy. I know I should have written “and guest” but to be honest, I didn’t want people to go out and find a date just to find a date, we aren’t millionaires. So, of course, we got a couple texts on Saturday that said “can so and so come?” to which we responded “of course, just put the name on the reply so we know what to write on the seating card.”
Most of the texts were just “OMG I got your invite!! I’m so excited!!” We went to bed Saturday pretty darn excited ourselves.
Sunday was Mother’s Day. We invited E’s mother over for lunch (she lives in the same town as us) and grilled out on the deck because it was just beautiful out. We had a nice day (minus me getting a little sick) and she headed home around 5:00 p.m. Around 5:10 the phone rang. We have a little box that comes up on the TV to tell you who is calling and when I saw it was E’s mom, I assumed she forgot something, but that was NOT why she was calling.
Let me see how to explain the situation:
One of the groomsmen (C) is a childhood friend of E’s. Their moms are friends. E’s mom requested that we invite C’s mom back when we wrote the list up. So we obliged. When E’s mom got home from our house on Sunday, she apparently had a LONG voicemail from C’s mom. She was angry because she got her invite but there was no invite for her other son, who is older than us, who we are not friends with, and who still lives at home with her. E was on the phone, but from where I was laying on the couch with my head in his lap I heard E’s mom say, “You HAVE to invite him.”
Something inside of me snapped. I didn’t know it was going to happen. You are probably sitting there reading this saying, ‘come on, it’s one person, let it go.’ But to me, this was not one person, it was ALL the things we had wanted that we let go. It was all the images I had of a beach house with tall beach grass and a wooden path down to the sand lined with mason jar luminaries. It was everyone saying “you HAVE to do this. you NEED to do that. you WILL invite this person. you WON’T have that.” I started to cry then and I’m crying now writing this. I remembered standing in that wedding hearing a bride and groom tell me to let it go and think of the honeymoon. I wanted to scream.
“THIS ISN’T FAIR” I yelled. I shot up and stared at E. “It’s not!”
He covered the phone with is hand.
“NO. This is ridiculous. No one is going to bully us anymore. This is our wedding. We aren’t friends with him! I sent out the invites. It’s over. It’s done. I’m not trying to be rude, but everyone else is being rude. No one respects our opinions. No one asks us anything. They tell us. Who is paying for this wedding? WE ARE. Can we even afford all these people that have been added? How are we gonna afford it if every invite we sent out turns into three guests? We won’t even fit in the venue!”
I was so angry and hurt and I just wanted to quit. I wanted to lose all the non-refundable deposits. I wanted to call in sick today, drive to the courthouse with E, and get married. Just the two of us, like (GREY’S SPOILER ALERT) Derek and Meredith on this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
I stormed upstairs and curled up in bed and left E to handle the phone call. I’m sure it went something like this:
“uhh I dunno… umm… well… she’s pretty upset… I guess… I dunno… ummm… I can’t say… uhh do whatever.”
I’m pretty sure that I’m going to get a reply card back with three names on it. And I just don’t even know what to do anymore. Am I being crazy? Am I being ridiculous? It’s one person. I know that. But it’s also more than that. It’s the shower that I begged not to have, that E’s mom is throwing anyways (she bought shower invites and put a piece of paper over the word “Shower” because I didn’t want a shower. So now it’s just lunch with gifts. Which is totally different, right?) It’s the tablecloths I had special ordered that FedEx lost. It’s the little things I want, that I can’t afford to have, because all of these extra people cost money. And every 8 people is another tablecloth, and another centerpiece, and more favors.
So there it is. I’m not sure there’s anything I really can do, except take a deep breathe, let the brother come, go to the shower that I didn’t want, and smile through it all. Because if I don’t do that, if I scream, if I tell the brother he can’t come, and I cancel the “shower,” and I get the things that I want, well then I’m a crazy, bitchy, bridezilla. So what do I do? No seriously… I can’t even think about it anymore. Tell me what to do.